A Happy Place

When my family and I moved to Littleport 8 years ago, it didn’t take us long to find out about all the amazing events and places that Littleport has to offer. For such a geographically small place, it oozes with charm, friendliness and amenities.

When you go for a walk, people often strangers, will talk to you. This may just be about the weather or to tell you about a local point of interest.
During one such trip a local man, when I told him that we were newbies, asked if I had been to the Branching Out charity shop. I hadn’t and so he urged me to check it out. He said that it was such ‘A Happy Place’.
I found the shop easily in the High Street and I was soon eagerly scouring the clothing rails and shelves. What struck me the most, was how well organised the shop was and with very friendly staff. The shop display had incredible attention to detail, with the design and care taken.
Dress necklaces, were displayed, by being draped over many gold sprayed barbie dolls which were attached to a large ornate picture frame. Sounds very kitsch. But you know what, it worked!

More recently I was told about the Branching Out workshop on Grange Lane. Again, a local described this place as such a Happy Place. Intrigued I visited and I came away so very happy and you will too.
Branching Out is a disability charity which has a central workshop and two shops. The stores being in Littleport and Chatteris.

The organisation provides highly skilled and worthwhile day provision for people with learning disabilities and complex needs. The team workers, headed up by the Grange manager Susan Wiggins offers a safe and relaxed atmosphere. This helps with behavioural correction and personal development, building upon both social aspects and daily skills. With the emphasis on creativity. The staff are able to identify the issues and what a persons trigger may be. Then come up with a strategy plan, which works.
Adults attend mostly, for 2 to 3 days a week. Often for several years.  Across the organisation there are 17 members of staff.
The disabled people who attend are either local, but can be from further afield. Particularly as the care which Branching Out offer, is highly specialised and often not catered for in many towns.

So how is this service funded.
Well with difficulty. But through donations, staff perseverance, commitment, grants and finance knowledge, somehow it does.

This year Branching Out became a ‘Partner Charity’ for the White Stuff clothing store, in Ely.
Surinder, the manager at the White Stuff says, that it is a privilege and honour to sponsor the store for three years. This will mean regular fundraising by the store staff. In the form of sweets selling, from the many jars which are behind the till. As well as bigger fund raising events. In the summer, Surinder and the staff set themselves a challenge. Which they weren’t entirely sure they could complete. It was a week long challenge where the staff would run (mileage by group) the equivalent of Ely to Edinburgh. Some 350 miles. They were to run the task on a hospital grade treadmill. Which incidentally had been previously donated to Branching Out. For the disabled clients to remain fit and active. Donated by Co-Op Littleport.
The White Stuff staff didn’t disappoint. They smashed it!!
These funds this year, primarily went towards building work. To bring more light into the Grange workshop converted barn, by way of an amazing high window door entrance. The removal of what was once a dark brick wall, now floods the workshop with natural light. An amazing 409.5 miles was covered by the White Stuff. Staff and visitors to the store donated £412 during the fundraiser.

Other ways that the store has raised additional funds has been through raffles, cake sales, lucky dip, book sales and more recently Halloween bingo.
In order for this charity to continue its amazing work. It does need the support of both locals, businesses and visitors.
Your help can be through volunteering for the store or at Grange Lane. So many things need to be done. This may be assisting the disabled in looking after the Grange Lane garden or in the shop. Helping with the craft making or assembling at home. So cutting out craft items, which go in packs for the disabled clients to then assemble in the workshop.

The clients make so many amazing things, which are available to the public to buy.

Personalised wooden items:
Named Christmas Eve boxes
Birthday bunting
Christmas, Halloween,Easter etc decorative items
Plus oodlles more.

Stationary wedding items: Including Keep the date’ cards
Cake stands

Many items to hire for either wedding or baby showers:
Sweet cart
Wooden ladder for displaying things e.g wedding table plans etc.
Rustic post box

Decorated items for the LGBT community.

You can also purchase fruit & veg and plants from the allotment.
Fire wood available
Event room hire too.

Either turn up or call if you would like anything.

Please, if you can spare some volunteer hours, wish to donate items to go on sale in the shop, to donate some funds or are a local business who would like to sponsor this amazing charity please do. They are waiting for you at this special, Happy Place.
Susan and everybody at Branching Out thank everybody who donates and assists them.

Tel: 01353 863561

Maria x

Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day for everyone.
Come along to Branching Out fundraising event of the year. There is so much going on for all the family during the summer holidays.

Choose a local charity from White Stuff

The White Stuff is due to open within the next few weeks and eagled eyed Spotted in Ely followers will have seen work commencing in the old Yours Clothing Store on the Market Square.
They now need your help nominating a local charity to assist for the next few months.
National chain White Stuff are committed to offering at least 1% of their annual profits to nominated charities and will regularly hold charity events to raise extra funds.
For this seasons of charities they have selected either Garage Community Trust or Branching Out.
Garage Community Trust is committed to community development, delivering a service that is relevant to local people. All sections of the community are invited to join in activities such as drama groups, a youth band and parent and toddler groups. Through their work they nurture and support those who need it the most.
Branching Out is a small local charity supporting adults with learning disabilities who live in the local community with a variety of fun work experience and social activities. Their high quality team help people with encouragement to overcome and achieve in everyday life. Their work reaches wider community groups including social services referrals and mental health.
Have your vote at http://www.whitestuff.com/ely-charity-vote/

Emerald Frog Marketing appeals for businesses to donate for local charities

Emerald Frog - 5th Birthday
Emerald Frog – 5th Birthday

Littleport marketing and PR agency, Emerald Frog Marketing is celebrating five years in business  by organising an fundraising auction of promises to raise money for five local charities.
Prizes donated to Emerald Frog’s “5 Star Charity Auction” will be available via an online public auction later this year to raise money to be split between The Liam Fairhurst Foundation, Little Bundles, Froglife, The Wildlife Trust and Branching Out.
Jo Evans, Director at Emerald Frog Marketing said: “We’ve set ourselves a big challenge to mark five years in business by raising money  for five very hardworking local charities. We are  looking for fellow local businesses, large or small, who would like to donate a product, service or voucher to be auctioned to support these local charities in exchange for a bit of local publicity. Donations already include a flight for three over Cambridge, a Samsung tablet, an array of donated trade services, beauty treatments, meals for two and products from a Dragons’ Den winner.  It’s shaping up to be an exciting event.”
Businesses will receive free publicity via the “Auction Guide” sent to bidders,  a free branded “lot” on the auction website, a blog post for use on their own website and promotion across social media, PR  and advertising activities. The auction will be held online for 5 weeks from September 5th.
Established in 2010, by business partners Jo Evans and Cheriee Chater,  Emerald Frog Marketing has won several local and national awards and works with clients from a wide range of industry sectors, from start-ups and SMEs through to international businesses and charities.
If your business or organisation would like to donate a prize to help raise money for the 5 Star Charity Auction , then please get in contact with Jo Evans at Emerald Frog Marketing at jo.evans@emeraldfrog.co.uk for full information,  or visit www.emeraldfrog.co.uk/5-star-charity-auction

Sainsbury’s Ely raises £2,167 for Branching Out

Branching Out PresentationSainsbury’s Ely has raised £2,167 for Branching Out, as part of the Local Charity of the Year scheme and is now looking for a new charity to support.
The Littleport based charity supports people with learning disabilities and the group was chosen by customers and colleagues last June and has received support from the store for the past year.
Activities have included bag packing at Christmas and bucket collections to tie in with events such as Halloween and Sainsbury’s colleagues also volunteered for the charity during the year, helping to paint the chicken coup at the charities headquarters in Grange Lane.
Earlier this year Sainsbury’s colleagues helped staff in the Littleport charity shop, assisting with organising the stock room, tidying the back areas, and merchandising donated items.
The Ely store also donated unsold Red Nose Day merchandise which Branching Out will be selling in their charity shops and the charity received some gardening equipment donated using Sainsbury’s Community Budget.
Steve Venters, Store Manager of Sainsbury’s Ely, said: “We’ve had an excellent year supporting Branching Out, our customers and colleagues have got involved with a number of fundraising activities. We’d like to thank everyone at Branching Out for making it such a brilliant partnership.”
Customers can vote for the store’s new partner from 15th – 28th June in-store and online at www.sainsburyslocalcharity.co.uk. Sainsbury’s Ely has shortlisted the following two charities:

  • Ely Foodbank
  • Viva Arts and Community Group

Press Release by Sainsbury’s and Photo by Luke Edwards