Branch Up

Volunteer at fun and educational Saturday activity days for local children aged 7-11.

Informaton icon Volunteer at fun and educational Saturday activity days for local children aged 7-11.

Location icon Highfield Campus and locations around Southampton and Hampshire

Clock icon Various Saturdays throughout the academic year

What is Branch Up?

Branch Up provides extra-curricular Saturday activity days for disadvantaged children aged 7-11 in Southampton. The children are referred to the programme through local primary schools and Southampton City council for various reasons, but all Branch Up participants will face disadvantage in some way. The reasons for a child's referral will not be disclosed to you unless absolutely necessary for safeguarding reasons.

Why do children need Branch Up?

Having a disadvantaged background has a significant impact on a child's educational attainment and on their social and emotional well-being and development. Additionally, children from low-income backgrounds will have experienced far fewer extra-curricular activities than children from more wealthy backgrounds.

Branch Up aims to give these children equal opportunity to experience these activities, expose them to positive role models, and help them to raise their aspirations for future life.

Placement experience

As a volunteer you will be placed 1:1 with a child for the duration of the activity day. You will chat to them, support them throughout the day, and help them to engage with the other children and volunteers. Ultimately, your role is to help them have fun! Examples of activity days have including bowling, rock climbing, visiting Manor Farm, visiting Woodmill Activity Centre, Hands-On Humanities Day in Central Southampton, society-led sessions and much more.

The student committee and a member of staff will be present throughout the day to support you with any issues around managing your child, behaviour, and any other issues. You will have a briefing a couple of days prior to each activity day, and will debrief following the end of the day to report any issues and feedback.

Volunteering commitment

We expect all volunteers to do a minimum of 4 activity days across the year. This is a requirement of the programme and allows the beneficiaries to have a level of continuity.

Skills and employability

Communication, teamwork, leadership, adaptability, time management, safeguarding, behaviour management, pastoral support, mentoring, liaising with parents and customer service are all skills you will gain by taking part in Branch Up. This volunteering opportunity is excellent for anyone who wants experience working in schools and with young people, or is exploring a career in education/youth work.

Training and support

All of our programmes are supported by students and staff. As part of Branch Up, you will have sub-committee members, the Branch Up Coordinator (Tom Roberts), and the staff team (Southampton Hub Programmes Manager) to speak to.

The Coordinator and staff team will be leading on your selection workshop, initial training and additional training provision (behaviour management, routes into education etc) throughout Branch Up, as well as any issues with the children the project supports. The staff team will be in touch with you during your placement to get mid-year and end of year feedback, which is required from all volunteers.


Reasonable adjustments

Branch Up is committed to being an inclusive programme, and encourages all students to get involved. We can make reasonable adjustments to application processes, selection workshops, training sessions, your volunteering placement, and other activities on a case-by-case basis. We also provide ongoing support for the students we work with, so if you have particular accessibility needs, including if you want to disclose a disability or special educational needs, please do get in touch with Sophie at sophie.ford@southamptonhub.org and let us know how we can make the activity more accessible.

Volunteering with Branch Up won't cost you

This project takes place on Highfield Campus and around Hampshire, so all activity day transport and activity costs will be organised for you. We only need you to bring your own lunch, ideally a healthy lunch to set a good example for the children.

We do ask volunteers to pay a £15 deposit to cover their DBS check as mentioned above. You will get this back at the end of the year providing you attend at least 5 activity days. If you are worried about paying this fee, speak to a member of staff and we can support with this.

Why not volunteer with a friend?

Volunteering for Southampton Hub is social and you'll have the chance to meet many like-minded people, but why not ask a friend to sign up with you too?


Questions?

Email sophie.ford@southamptonhub.org who will be able to answer any questions and direct you to the Branch Up committee for any further help and support.

You can also check out our other youth projects over on our What's On page.

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