Evaluation of the next steps female offender outdoor education programme

Fiona Mitchell, Ralf Westphal, Pete Higgins

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


In 2011, funding from Comic Relief’s ‘Sport for Change’ programme enabled Venture Trust (VT) to launch its ‘Next Steps’ programme. The ‘Next Steps’ programme is designed to support women of all ages who have a history of offending, or who have been involved in the criminal justice system, to reduce their risk of re-offending and move towards a positive destination in employment, education, training or volunteering.

VT contracted the University of Edinburgh to evaluate the effectiveness of the ‘Next Steps’ programme. The following summarises the research approach taken and the main outcomes. Full details of these and a thorough literature review are presented in the main report.

Focus groups and individual interviews were carried out with women who have been involved in the criminal justice system who participated in the ‘Next Steps’ programme (throughout this report these women will be referred to as programme participants). The women were referred by partner agencies ‘218’ in Glasgow and ‘Connections’ in Aberdeen. Additionally, qualitative data was collected from referral staff from the respective agencies. The study was carried out over a two-month period. The aim of the evaluation was to:

1. Understand the impact the “Next Steps’ programme on the lives of the women taking part.
2. Understand how, why and to what extent, Venture Trust’s wilderness activities, expeditions and environments have been effective mediums in enabling women to achieve positive life changes
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
Commissioning bodyVenture trsut
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2012


  • criminal justice system
  • physical activity
  • physical education
  • sport for change
  • re-offending risk
  • Scotland
  • venture trust
  • outdoor education

Cite this