Treun Scotland

In wild nature we work with vulnerable young people who are experiencing mental health challenges and complex needs. We support them in improving mental wellbeing, emotional coping strategies, building resilience, relationships and employability.

How We Do It

Since 2014, Wilderness Foundation has developed the ‘Treun’ (Gaelic for ‘Brave’) programme to provide a taste of Scotland’s magnificent ecological heritage with young people from both disadvantage urban and rural isolated areas across the country.

We have worked with 40 schools and across 9 estates to provide weeklong expeditions that focus on resilience, wellbeing and employability. Evidence shows the impact of nature immersion, conservation volunteering and social skill development as key elements in improving not only mental health but also employability.

We reduce social isolation through the introduction and opportunity to work alongside selected estate staff, our volunteer mentors, our therapists and experienced outdoor guides. Meeting young people from other parts of the country expands their horizons and helps make new friendship groups.

We are committed to providing bespoke high quality programmes that provide young people with the hand up to a new future.

We are a proud partner of Scottish Land & Estates.

The Programme

Treun is a week-long therapeutic, experiential learning programme in rural Scotland. On arrival at our chosen estate, we use a range of facilitated activities to encourage a connection to nature alongside the development of the group dynamic and team cohesion. Young people are also introduced to outdoor skills such as outdoor cooking, putting up tents and learning to care for themselves. We also begin a gentle process of helping young people to express themselves and their hopes and expectations from the programme.

The programme is open to young people aged 13-16 from one of our 40 partner schools across Scotland. We run 4-6 cohorts each year, with groups of up to 8 young people per cohort.

The programme features a three-day wilderness trail in some of Scotland’s wildest countryside and most beautiful awe inspiring areas, led by our professional wilderness guides and outdoor therapists.

Towards the end of the week the group are encouraged to give back to nature and the estate by being involved in a day of conservation volunteering which can include nest box building, path clearing and litter picking for example. We also encourage people to share their journey with estate staff; this is key to demonstrating new found confidence, communication skills and supports employability readiness.

We are grateful to a range of funders who enable this to be a sponsored programme which makes it inclusive to all.


Improved mental health and employability:

  • Develop and improve personal and social skills for life including confidence, overall wellbeing, self-esteem, self-care and self-reflection
  • Improve resilience and mental wellbeing
  • Improve physical and emotional health
  • Develop emotional coping strategies that can be used for life

Increased nature connection and tools for helping the environment:

  • Increase their connection to nature, Scottish Outdoor Access Code/Leave No Trace Principles
  • Increase their knowledge of Scotland’s wildlife and natural heritage
  • Increase their understanding of Scotland’s land and estates and rural heritage
  • Encourage and learn about volunteering
  • Learn camp craft and how to access nature and the outdoors

Increased employability and leadership pathways:

  • Improve aspiration and confidence to seek work or further studies
  • Learn and apply new communication skills
  • Improve and learn new employability skills
  • For those who show interest and aptitude there will be a leadership development pathway
  • Development of an alumni group for ongoing mutual support and personal growth


In the course of the week-long programme, participants achieve the SQA Level 4 Award in Mental Health & Wellbeing. In addition, participants will also earn their John Muir Award Discovery Level and Leave No Trace Awareness certification. These recognitions enhance not only participants’ mental health & wellbeing but also their environmental awareness and employability.

Following graduation, we continue to engage Treun participants with mentoring and ongoing therapeutic support when required.

The Need

A survey by the Mental Health Foundation (2019), of 609 Scottish young people aged 16–25 showed that:


of young adults feel they are unable to speak about their emotions with others


of young people say they often feel they lack companionship


of young people say they feel they don’t have a trusted adult to go to for advice and support if they’re experiencing a problem

These problems disproportionately affect youth from lower income households and areas of deprivation (Scottish Children’s Services Coalition 2019) along with evidence that mental health issues and unemployability are linked.

Our Impact

Our programme aims to help improve mental health and positively influence young adults to avoid becoming Not In Education, Employment or Training (NEET). Treun supports positive changes in their lives, improving personal sustainability, wellbeing and independence. There is a large body of research, including our own, that provides evidence of the positive links between nature based experiences, self esteem, mental wellbeing and employability.

Programme Dates 2021

Our latest TREUN programme has places available for young people in Scotland, aged 13-16 years.

Cohort 1: 20th-24th Sept
Cohort 2: 1st-5th Nov

Cohorts 3/4 have now been moved into early 2022 with details yet to be released.
Contact us for more information.


How you can help