From small acorns mighty oaks grow
Branching Out is a registered charity (charity number 1047403) and a Limited Company (company no. 3068661) in England & Wales.
Branching Out was formed by an initial working committee whose primary concern was to identify a project that could provide work experience training for vulnerable adults as an alternative to the standard provision at that time. By 1994 that project started to take shape and after much searching we found our Head Office at Grange Lane in Littleport where we started to provide work experience to our first group of clients with learning disabilities. Many of those clients still attend Branching Out for support to this day through their own choice.
The work experience we were able to provide initially was based around recycling, woodwork and improving our facilities. Over the years this has developed and we currently offer a programme of varied activities for adults with learning disabilities and the community.
Branching Out recognized that people living in rural communities face barriers in their everyday lives due to lack of transport. We have always provided transport to and from Branching Out and for access to our various activities.
In 1997 we were lucky enough to obtain some land adjacent to our Head Office and started to offer gardening work experience. This has developed into a garden based on a recycling theme where tractor tyres are used as raised beds. Our clients all have their own raised bed where they choose what they would like to plant. One of our clients even planned and grew his own vegetables for his Sunday dinner.
In 2001 thanks to grants from various sources we were able to build an extension onto our Head Office. This was much needed extra space to provide us with larger facilities, a training room, and an office.
In 2003 we opened our first charity shop in Littleport. This was driven by the need to provide work experience that was more appealing to our female clients, to encourage the re-use of household items, and to enable the charity to have a regular source of income to help fund and widen our work. This is a very popular activity enjoyed by both our female and male clients.
In 2007 we built a new building at our Head Office to provide a kitchen and dining area, a utility room, and more toilets. We also opened our charity shop in Chatteris.
In 2010 after listening to our clients we started the Going Out Group as an evening social activity run by volunteers. We also started our Knit n Natter group where the community is invited in to Branching Out on a weekly basis to make new items out of wool donated into our shops, these items are then sold in the shops, and we started a Branching Out Community Allotment Scheme offering allotments for rent.