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Project information

Changing young lives in the Scottish outdoors

We run personal development programmes for young people facing complex and difficult problems. Instead of classroom based learning, we use outdoor activities to engage our target group. The Etive Awards are SQA accredited and achievable for those with little or no previous qualifications.

The Etive Awards are structured to provide up to a SCQF Level 6 during a period of 12 months. Young people can then apply to stay for an additional 12 months, for the Mentor stage, which would see them working towards a SCQF Level 7

Charity information: Venture Scotland

Venture Scotland logo
  • Need


    We work with approximately 160 young people per year across our two bases in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The young people we work with have many complex issues - many are care experienced, some are homeless, have learning difficulties and mental health issues are commonplace. The number of disadvantaged young people in need is higher than we can accommodate. We are limited by our own resources, but given the chance we can extend our capacity and outreach to change the lives of even more young people.


    The Etive Awards allow young people to grow their self-esteem by challenging themselves with new experiences. It is an inclusive experience for all young people without barriers to participation. The programme is delivered outdoors, showing young people that their capabilities are not limited to a classroom. Each stage of the Awards are SQA accredited meaning young people will achieve an SCQF level for any or all stages completed. Plus, they will learn a wealth of transferable skills for work.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    We will help 48 young people to achieve at least a SCQF level 3 and up to level 7 Award


    » Using engaging physical activities we will teach new skills including team work, communication and planning.
    » The outdoor activities provide sufficient motivation and direction to progress though the programme and achieve higher qualifications.
    » As well as group work we will carry out structured one to one work with participants to focus on key areas where they need support.

    What success will look like

    48 young people will have achieved an award

    Aim 2

    Significantly improve mental health and well being


    » By taking young people outdoors and giving them new tasks and experiences they will develop skills for resilience, belonging and self confidence.
    » Being in an environment free from abuse, drugs, alcohol and other negative behaviours.
    » For 12 months they develop key relationships with staff and volunteers who help them make positive lasting changes to their lives based on trust.
    » We will work with individuals to help them improve ability to develop positive relationships, live healthily, and increase responsibility/reliability.

    What success will look like

    We have a user friendly monitoring database which young people will update their own record with progress in their own problem areas.

  • Impact


    As well as gaining a recognised Etive Awards qualification young people will experience improved health and well-being and will have significantly reduced a key problem area (eg. drugs, offending, mental health). Young people will graduate and move into a positive destination, either employment, further education or training. We can demonstrate these changes through our monitoring and evaluation database used by young people to monitor their progress through the course and beyond.


    We have been working hard with SQA to develop the Etive Awards and ensure the programme is accredited. Not recruiting enough young people onto the programme could potentially influence the success of this project. Our programme managers have been working hard at developing relationships with referral agencies to ensure we have a good flow of new young people to take on activity days and sample what we have to offer them.


    All donors are thanked at point of support. We produce an annual review and invite them to sign up for our quarterly newsletter which gives further information on our programme. At the end of each year, we hold an awards night for the Etive Awards participants. Donors will be invited to attend.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £16,000 Activity days and Residentals 48 young people will attend activity days and residentials as part of our Etive Award programme.
      £2,000 Volunteers Food, expenses, training and support for volunteers to support young people
      £2,000 Minibus costs Fuel for activity days and trips to residentials at our bothies in the highlands and borders
  • Background


    We engage with young people from some of the most deprived areas across the central belt of Scotland, with bases in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Our relationships with local agencies means we can reach the people that need our help the most. We offer a great mix of near and far activities which take young people away from their troubles, into communities and beyond. Our residentials are held at our Highland Bothy in Glen Etive, a stunning sight and an ideal location to focus on personal development.


    We focus on young people aged 16-30 from the most deprived areas who lack the confidence and motivation to further their career or education. Many of these young people are not surrounded by positive role models who provide encouragement and support. The presence of one of our youth workers will make a huge difference to their sense of self-worth. Our programme develops the skills and traits needed for work, but it is young people's wellbeing and aspirations that we make the biggest impact on.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have 30 years of experience working with care leavers, ex-offenders, homeless and those affected by mental health problems. Our programme is delivered by our qualified and highly experienced staff, with tremendous support from dedicated volunteers. We hold strong links with local park rangers, the Borders Bothy Association and more, making the work we do possible.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    Our amazing volunteers attend residential trips with young people helping to deliver tailored exercises which challenge and inspire young people

    Outdoor Youth Workers

    All our OYWs are committed to helping young people turn their own lives around by giving them a positive role model and teaching them essential skills


Covers the cost of supporting a young person facing a crisis

The team at Venture Scotland helped me a lot. Spending time outdoors gave me some time to myself to think about my goals what I wanted for my life. Before coming to Venture Scotland I had a criminal history, took drugs and had been in prison. Now I'm focussed on my job and my future.