Branches is a Community Interest Company(CIC) incorporated in March 2016. A CIC is a type of Social Enterprise. This means it is run for the benefit of the community in which we operate. It is a business with a social purpose, not a charity. Any profits must be put back into the company to allow it to develop and further benefit the community it serves.
Being a CIC (not a charity) means that Branches can add to or change the ways it generates funds without having to register each new potential income stream as a new trading company. A CIC also limits its members' liability for any outstanding debts should the company fold to £1 each, hence the £1 fee to become a member which BYPSS will keep separate from other company assets so that members liability is already covered when they join.
Branches is basically its members.
Members can suggest and vote on what the CIC should be doing to meet it's aims. Anyone who agrees with these aims can be a member, with proper permission if under 18.
The Directors of the CIC are responsible for the day to day running of the business and decision-making. The Directors of Branches are experienced qualified Youth and Community Workers, (though not so experienced that they can't remember what it was like to be young!).
The management team at Branches is made up of the Directors, and the Business Manager. The management team was instrumental in the opening of the Branches Cafe, finding the money, organising the design and refit of the premises, making links with other organisations in order to make sure that Branches delivered what it promised, and recruited and trained people to help run the Cafe.
The Cafe was open between July 2018 and December 2019 and served the community with young people at its heart. The management team developed accounts with the Building companies and provided food for some of their meetings and hosted a team breakfast for them every other Friday, alongside serving many local customers, with good freshly made food.
This income helped support the running of after-school sessions for young people with over 200 accessing this during the 18 months we were open. Thirty or so of these became Young Leaders and learnt valuable employment skills such as Teamwork, Initiative, as well as the specific catering and hospitality skills that the adult staff and volunteers shared with them. Highlights include involving the Young Leaders in running ticketed events such as quiz and movie nights for young people, and a Burn's Supper and Mad Hatter's Tea Party that were public events for which our Chef supervised the Young Leaders in the preparation and service of a traditional Burn's Supper menu and some fantastic and advanced baking.
Many of our Young Leaders completed Volunteering and Skills sections towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards, with two of them setting up and running a Shake and Smoothie Bar from the Louie Memorial Pavillion on Friday afternoon for fellow pupils as they started their weekend.
As winter drew in Branches secured a small Lottery Grant which enabled us to support our Young Leaders to host some free afternoon tea parties for some of our older local residents, we would really like to thank the local Over Sixties Lunch Club for their support in promoting this. We ran four of these 'Intergenerational Tea Parties' one had card and board games to break the ice, another was Halloween themed, we had an 'across the ages quiz' and finished with a Christmas Tea Party with carol singing. The Young Leaders worked fantastically hard on preparing the sandwiches, savouries and cakes for these events, and the feedback from young and old was that they had all really enjoyed these opportunites.
We closed the Cafe on the 13th December with celebratory parties for the Young Leaders, their families and our staff and members. Wow what a ride it was and we have all learnt so much from this experience.
What Next? It is time to reflect on this experience and think with our members about how Branches continues to help young people express their needs in the community and shout for a space that is dedicated for their use where they they can socialise develop skills and grow. Branches will be holding a meeting for it's members on 16th January to start this process.
Branches is rooted in the community of Botley.
We believe that a community needs a place where people can come together to chat, eat, drink and laugh.
Above all, we believe that young people need a safe space of their own to play, learn and grow.
To know more about us go to our story thus far...