Stories from ex-participants

Allan's Story:

"I was homeless at 16 and getting into difficult situations. I really wanted to succeed in life but just couldn’t see how I could achieve my goals. Whilst at a homeless unit I met someone from Venture Scotland and decided to give it a go. Everything was new! Inspired to learn and adapt I found myself in new situations where I needed to communicate with others. I learned lots of new skills to help with my personal life and work. I achieved the John Muir qualification and Canoe certificate and got a job as Outdoor Instructor at the age of 19. It's been hard work but now, fifteen years on I'm store manager at a specialist retailer for outdoor clothing. I feel so privileged to still be involved with the charity - I could spend my life giving back to Venture Scotland but it still wouldn’t be enough”

Nicole’s story:

“My life all went a bit wrong in my teens and I ended up homeless by the time I was 21. I was in and out of hostels until I found out about Venture Scotland and joined up in 2000. The programme of learning in the outdoors rekindled my childhood love of the outdoors and inspired me to do more outdoor stuff.

I managed to get work in various outdoor centres and in 2004/5 trained as a fitness instructor and have never looked back! Being involved with Venture Scotland and working as an outdoor activities instructor, also helped me to understand the positive aspects of the fight-or-flight response and how supervised high-adrenaline activities can help the body and brain process the associated chemicals induced by stressful situations in a more constructive way. I believe this helps to alleviate some of the symptoms of my Bi-Polar Disorder, as that involves some of the same brain chemicals as the Fight-or-flight response.In my experience, anxiety, stress and depression are all linked to the fight-or-flight stress response so the need to keep reasonably active, eat regularly and keep hydrated with water helps prevent both physical and mental health deteriorating.

Now I'm a qualified personal trainer and I’ve even written and published a book on Amazon about fitness and nutrition for good mental health - you can even pick it up in Blackwells South Bridge, Edinburgh! It’s a guide meant for use as complimentary therapy to doctors’ advice and prescriptions, not as an alternative.My family have played a huge part in my recovery and success but without the support and development I was able to achieve through taking part in the programme at Venture Scotland none of this would have happened.”

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