We provide practical opportunities for people to volunteer with us to help them gain confidence, build diverse supportive relationships, develop skills, learn and build better relationships with the wider community (really important to preventing relapse) and start to rebuild their lives.


1st Step Development Ventures has been operating since 2016 and started as a constituted community group wanting a safe space for people in recovery from addictions to meet. The group had directly experienced a huge gap in opportunities for people in recovery to socialise, learn and volunteer in a safe and trusted space. Positive peer role models and opportunities to mix and contribute to the wellbeing of the wider community have always been central to our objectives. 

In October 2018 we became a charity (SCIO). Our main charitable purpose is to provide safe, supportive environments for people affected by addictions and poor mental health. Importantly, to create opportunities for people to gain confidence, build diverse supportive relationships, develop skills, learn and build better relationships with the wider community. 

We work with diverse partners including the NHS, West Lothian and Falkirk Councils, WLDAS, CSREC, West Lothian Food Bank, social work teams, criminal justice teams, Change Grow Live (CGL) and the Cyrenians. 

Our Projects

We offer:

  • A weekly recovery meeting in Linlithgow 
  • A weekly community café in Linlithgow 
  • A community garden in Linlithgow
  • 1st Step bike training and refurbishment based at the Linlithgow Recycling Centre and the Howgate Shopping Centre, Falkirk
  • Two community food pantries in Linlithgow and the Howgate Shopping Centre in Falkirk

The 1st Step café is the heart of 1st Step providing a safe and supported space for many people and is open to anyone looking for friendship, support or kindness. It is often the “first step” people take to recovery before “growing” into our social enterprise opportunities.

The cafe garden provides food for the café and encourages people to learn to grow and enjoy the benefits of being outside.

Over the last 5 years we have developed 1st Step Bikes offering bike refurbishment training courses (for people affected by addiction/poor mental health), bikes repairs, services and monthly bike sales The training courses target people at the right point in their recovery to start to learn new skills, develop routines, make wider social connections (important to preventing relapse) and start to rebuild their lives. Social connections, purpose, tackling boredom and stigma and importantly hope are the key ingredients needed to build recovery capital and recover sustainably.

We often take part in the UK Cycling scheme, which contributes £50 towards work done on your bike. Get in touch to see if you can make an appointment.

To learn more, click on the buttons below
Recovery Meeting
Community Cafe
Community Garden
1st Step Bikes
Linlithgow Pantry
Falkirk Pantry

Our Awards

In 2018 we were awarded “Cycling UK Community Group of the Year” and then in October 2022 we were awarded by Cycling Scotland“ Community Champion Of The Year For Everyday Cycling! 

Cycling UK Community Champion of the Year For Everyday Cycling 2022

Meet the Team

[Please note this section is currently under construction]

Graeme Williamson (Treasurer)
Andrew Mackie
Malcolm Hughes
Kirsty Dove
Laura McNab
Team Leads
Maria Throp (Development Manager)
Sherelle Murphy (Falkirk Food Pantry Manager)
Rob Nicholson (Bikes Coordinator)
Sally Douglas (Linlithgow Food Pantry Coordinator)
Angela McGill (Falkirk Food Pantry Coordinator)