Who are we?

Who are we?

Venture Scotland is a registered charity (SC013901), founded in 1987 by a group of young Raleigh International volunteers who understood the benefits of natural and outdoor spaces on an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. Over the past 35 years, we have become Scotland’s only provider of long-term, outdoor-based, personal development for young adults.

What does Venture Scotland do?

We believe we can empower young adults, who are facing challenges in areas of their life, to first understand and then improve their mental health and emotions and in doing so, change the course of their lives.

We do this by delivering a progressive outdoor-based personal development programme, collectively known as the Journey. Using Scotland’s natural environments, both remote and within our local communities, our programmes deliver regular group-based outdoor activities (e.g. rock climbing, canoeing, gorge walking etc.), life skills sessions, and bothy or camping residentials, backed up by 1-2-1 support sessions.

This allows our participants to experience routine, caring relationships, safe spaces with peers, meaningful activity, mindfulness, regular sleeping and eating patterns, time away from technology and the scientifically-proven restorative effect of the outdoors. 

Where do we work?

We have two centres in Scotland – one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. However, 90% of our work is done in rural environments all over Scotland – whether that is jumping into the North Sea near Elie in Fife, canoeing at Loch Ard, walking in the hills beside our bothy in Glen Etive or walking up a gorge at Balquidder!

Who do we work with?

We work with young adults aged 16-30 who are at a transitional point in their lives – whether they are looking to gain a connection with others, hope for the future or a better understanding of their identity. In essence, we work to empower young people to discover meaning and hope in their lives.

Mental Health

We work with young adults experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. Our support extends to those recovering from severe mental health episodes, encompassing conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, first-episode psychosis, panic attacks, self-harm tendencies, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While we’re not a mental health crisis intervention service, we do offer pre- and post-crisis support.

Poverty

We work with young adults facing various forms of poverty, spanning financial struggles, food insecurity, childcare difficulties, and challenges associated with being employed.

Identity

Our work also focuses on supporting young adults in their journey of self-discovery and understanding their place in the world. This includes support for many LGBTQ+ youth, refugees, and those seeking clarity about their identity.

Neurodiversity

We work with neurodiverse young adults and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who possess the cognitive ability to reflect on their experiences. Our work also extends to supporting young people with disabilities, though the ability to be able to walk 1 mile over rough ground is a minimum physical requirement.

We firmly uphold principles of inclusivity and non-discrimination, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religious beliefs, or past involvement in criminal activities.

We take a personalised approach to supporting each young adult referred to our programmes and before starting the programme, we diligently assess their needs to ensure that the programme is right for them at this point in their lives.