The Venchie was formerly known as Niddrie Adventure Playground and was created in 1961 by Edinburgh University Settlement, making it possibly the first adventure playground in Scotland.
Save the Children managed and funded (with some grant aid from the local authority) from 1967 until 1998. For 40 years, the ‘Venchie’ (as it is known locally) has been widely used by generations of young people living and growing up in the local area.
It has grown and developed over time: new playground structures, a new building, new activities, new youth work programmes. The project has always tried to reflect the best practice in its work with children and young people, and to provide the highest quality of service to families and to the local community.
Save the Children withdrew from managing and funding the project at the end of August 1998. This was in line with its new model of working referred to as the Global Programme Strategy. In preparation for the handover a steering group was formed of local people, representatives from community based organisations, businesses, and most importantly parents who live locally and whose children come to the Venchie.
The task of this steering group was to work with staff and SCF to develop a new organisation capable of managing the project after SCF’s withdrawal. Local people in Craigmillar are determined that this excellent and worthwhile project should be continued into the future. From the initial steering group the Venchie Management Association was created to take over the project from Save the Children and to run it as a successful community facility.