Branch Up Southampton
A project by: Simran Dhanjal
What are we doing?
We are looking to raise £1,000 in aid of running fun and educational activity days for disadvantaged children in the local Southampton community.
Who are we?
Branch Up is a student led project at the University of Southampton, run under a network of students at Southampton Hub. For the past academic year (15/16), our wonderful student led committee have run four fun-filled activity days for children aged between 7 and 11, with one more to go before the end of the year!
Sim, Sabina, Steve, Izy, and Catherine have been dedicated in providing fun and educational days out for up to 27 children referred to us from schools and social workers in the local area.
Branch Up started in Oxford eight years ago, but in the 2014/15 academic year it was set up at the University of Southampton by Caitlin Ripley, Simran Dhanjal, and Sabina Zavoianu as a project overseen by Southampton Hub.
Branch Up’s main aims are to raise the ambition and aspirations of local children who may come from a disadvantaged background, as well as giving them a fun and interactive day out away from any personal issues. It has been found that children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to suffer from emotional and behavioral problems that can have a life-long, negative effect on their future health and wellbeing.
Research has shown that 80% of young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods live in close proximity to a highly selective university but only 1 in 25 will go on to attend such a university. 10 small areas of Southampton fall into 10% most deprived in England for income deprivation, this affecting children, and less than a third of students in schools or colleges in Southampton go on to university.
Branch Up offers these children the opportunity to experience activities that they may otherwise miss out on. In doing so, the children are paired with positive and motivated student volunteers in a near-to-peer partnerships, where the student volunteers act as a positive role model outside of the child’s family. This partnership, combined with the activities, provide a myriad of health and social benefits, as well as developing soft skills and other aspects of personal development, that are incredibly important throughout life, including school, further education, and employment.
The activity days throughout the year allow the children to experience environments outside of Southampton, as well as discover more about the city they live in. During activity days, they are allowed to be children – explore, be adventurous, play, laugh, run, but also learn, discover and build meaningful relationships with student volunteers, which all raise their confidence, self-esteem and further aspirations.
Over the two years it has run, Branch Up has increased its reach, now in contact with several schools and social workers, and has created links with other charities in the community, with the Branch Up name becoming more well known across Primary school’s, Family Support Officers, and Social Workers around Southampton.
In our first year, we began with only five children visiting Marwell Zoo in March 2015. From there we grew rapidly, to having 15 children at our next activity day in May, and by our last day of the year in June, we had 18 children.
So far this year (15/16), we have run four successful activity days, both on campus at the University of Southampton, and away, at Weymouth Sea Life Centre and Longdown Activity Farm. During this time, the amount of student volunteers signed up has tripled.
Though the academic year may be coming to an end, Branch Up isn’t slowing down, with one more activity day to go in June, before we start prepping for next year!
The money raised through crowdfunding last year helped us pay for tickets (£308), lunch (£95) and activity sheets and rewards (£26) for our trip to the Weymouth aquarium. The day was extremely successful and appreciated by all the children, who gave an average feedback of 5 (out of 5) and rated the day as “awesome”.
Where will the money go?
The money raised will be used to provide amazing activity days for all 27 children currently on our register throughout the next academic year.
A minimum of £400 will pay for one activity day on campus/in the Common (including transport to and from their homes, lunch, and activity materials for all children).
However, a £1000 will allow us to achieve so much more; several activity days, including the opportunity to discover a venue outside Southampton, transport, a warm lunch, entrance tickets, among other activity specific supplies, all which will allow the children to have an even greater day out
Our usual costs are:
£100 for lunch (for children)
£250 for entry tickets (e.g. zoo, aquarium, museum, farm)
£200 for transport (coach to Weymouth, New Forest etc.)
£150 for supplies, such as printing activity sheets, coloured pens, arts and crafts materials
We have some rewards to thank everyone who donates to our project. Check them out in the rewards tab! Every person who donates will get a shout out on Facebook page!
Branch Up in 3 photos
Find us here
Find out more about us at facebook.com/branchupsouthampton or southamptonhub.org/branchup.
Follow Southampton Hub on Twitter @SouthamptonHub and #BranchUpSoton for more updates.
Help us succeed!
You don’t need to give money to help us succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog. The more people know about us, the more kids we can help!