Who are they?
Where are they?
What do they do?
Use bushcraft and associated activities to help disadvantaged adults with their confidence and self-esteem.
How big are they?
Occasional casual employees, but mainly volunteer-based.
What did they receive?
Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium, MapPoint and Office Professional Plus 2007; Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009.
Completely new charity equipped with up-to-date software and teaching aids.
Greenpath Ventures is a new organisation. It started with nothing but a germ of an idea two or three years ago, gained its charity status in 2008, and has just completed its first full year of operation with a level of success that surprised even its founder, John Wills.
“It’s not a particularly technical term – but we were almost caught with our pants down!” he laughs. “We were expecting that we would take around 250 people – we actually did twice that. But we decided that we couldn’t turn people down.”
Clearly, John had discovered a niche – one which stemmed from his own interests. “My background is in mental health – I used to work for an established charity,” he says. “But my hobbies were all outdoor-based. Hence the idea for Greenpath Ventures. We use bushcraft and other related activities such as the use of natural resources and learning about nature and heritage, to help disadvantaged adults, especially those with mental health issues.”
“At the time I was facilitating self-esteem courses, confidence courses and the like – and I was trying to find a vehicle that could bring a practical application of these,” he continues.
The charity now offers a range of outdoor activity projects in this vein, from ‘Ray Mears-style’ bushcraft and woodland-skills to physical activities such as walking and camping.
John is highly enthusiastic about the support that he has received from CTX and its partners as a start-up, and is keen to stress the difference that their donations have made.
“We had some money to get a computer, but needed software,” he says. “We were using a very old version of Office, and more and more documents that were coming in to us wouldn’t open. Now, £300 to buy the new version is a huge, huge amount for us – to get that and the latest up-to-date protection from Norton for a token admin fee is disproportionately helpful to a charity like ours.”
Greenpath Ventures also benefited from a Microsoft donation of Student and MapPoint. “We teach navigation and map work, and MapPoint will be ideal for this. We’re also being increasingly asked to go in to schools and we’ve applied to the Heritage Lottery for a grant on those lines. Encarta will give us access to pictures and information that’ll help us there.”
A key positive for John is the idea of having CTX as an ongoing resource. “We don’t know what we’ll need in a year’s time – but it’s fantastic that it’s there for us as we grow and develop.”
“We always appreciate traditional donations – but they are often one-offs, whereas having access to CTX is open-ended – it will allow us to keep up-to-date, which would be very expensive and a big part of our budget,” he says. “Even an outdoor-based organisation like ours needs up-to-date software to operate efficiently, and CTX has been invaluable to us as a new charity.”