When the pandemic hit, over two years ago, Venture Scotland made a bold decision. We decided not to furlough staff, but to adapt instead to the changing world around us and continue to support our Young People through any means we could, whether that was online, through 1-to-1s or in a group settings. This allowed our organisation to remain open throughout the pandemic.
As part of our strategy to get through those challenging times, we concentrated on the wellbeing of our staff. We wanted them to have the resources to keep engaging with Young People, ensuring they were safe, could work from home comfortably, still felt connected to VS and, most of all, could protect themselves from Covid when in the office and when working with groups. In the whole, this has proved very successful as we have had very little illness or staff absences over the last two years
However, as restrictions have eased, we have noticed that many of our team have been struggling increasingly with various colds, flu and now Covid. This has resulted in our staff struggling to keep up with work pressures, particularly covering colleague absences, and has created a real risk of burnout.
We are committed to making Venture Scotland an inspiring, caring and rewarding place to work – this was definitely reflected in our latest staff satisfaction survey. We are committed to looking after the physical, emotional and mental health of our team and, at the moment, we feel we are all running very low on capacity.
To this end, we have collectively made the difficult decision to temporarily postpone all activities and residentials, including our two upcoming Awards Nights, for at least two weeks, to allow staff to take time off, recover properly, get well and reset. This has been discussed with each of our groups of Young People to ensure they understand why we are doing this and to minimise the effect on them.
We appreciate this will be disappointing, particularly that the Awards Nights have had to be delayed. But stopping and taking stock with our Young People has already allowed creative juices to start flowing about how we can deliver our Awards Night with less stress for both Young People and staff.
Thank you for bearing with us as we recover and reset.
David Brackenridge, Venture Scotland CEO