A new strategy for a new decade

Young person

At Brathay we are embracing the 2020’s with excitement and vigour. We have a newly launched 5-year strategy that builds on our past successes to increase our impact in the communities we serve.

It is a strategy based on our fundamental principle that no individual can thrive alone. Our mission is to develop people to grow their ability to do extraordinary things. With this in mind, we are continually adding to our breadth of knowledge, expertise and resources, to deliver relevant and engaging programmes to young people – especially those facing difficult times in their lives, be it adversity, inequality, lack of direction, neglect or exploitation.

Our 2020-25 strategy enhances our mission by introducing new ways of working to maximise impact.

Collective thinking; collaborative working

Our vision for 2025 is to become more widely immersed in the areas where our young people live. It is a vision backed up by the findings of our own academic research. Evidence shows that we have greatest impact when we work locally over prolonged periods, blended with an opportunity to get away on a powerful residential experience, at one of our centres in the Lake District.

Our new strategy builds on these findings. It is our aim to actively seek out relevant partners in communities and work with them in a more collaborative, holistic way. We are already achieving this in Bradford and Barrow where we have built up working relationships with other charities, health providers, councils, schools, colleges, training providers, LEPs, funders, and of course, employers. Through these partnerships we are better able to identify and contribute to meeting a community’s needs, and this in turn informs us on how best to secure funding to design and deliver relevant, meaningful programmes.

Seeking partners, developing support systems

Our new strategy prioritises working in community partnerships that surround young people and provide opportunities for them to thrive in life.

When we say ‘community’ we are thinking of this in the broadest sense; not just a town or specific locality, but also the community – or system – created through the shared investment of time and resources achieved by working in partnership with others.

We already use this approach within our own organisation. Brathay delivers funded programmes for young people and families and delivers paid-for corporate training and professional development. Colleagues operating within the two areas have different specialisms, but ultimately, they go hand in hand. In Barrow, we are working with a secondary school and local employers on preparing young people for the world of work. We’re also delivering professional development programme for the local council – while, young people in Furness can access our resilience and development programmes delivered through, and on, the premises of local schools and in community hubs.

We believe communities are stronger when they are joined up towards the same goal. Our new strategy aligns all Brathay’s work towards our mission more clearly. For example, our professional development team work with corporate organisations on leadership, management and apprenticeship programmes.

By working with us these organisations are implicitly also investing in their communities as our corporate work supports our charitable work. This is more explicit for some, as they sponsor a school-based mental health and resilience programme, or mentor an aspiring leader, or directly partner in a project to better prepare young people for the world of work.

This is important to corporate organisations as these communities are made up of their current employees and their families, as well as their future employee talent pipeline. Therefore, by working with us they are joining up with a whole community focused on ensuring young people can develop into the future employees we want and need.

This inter-connected way of working widens the support system available to our young people living in areas facing economic and social challenge. We want to be doing more of this to enable them, and the areas they live in, to thrive.

Creating the foundations

Our 2020-25 strategy is rooted in the areas of our work that embody our vision and purpose:

Feel good, function well: Everything we do and say – internally and externally – comes from a shared culture of support to promote well-being.

Use what we learn: We continually develop our practice responding to change and new knowledge.

Be connected: We are committed to embracing the digital world within Brathay and beyond.

Think creatively: We allow our creativity to enhance our working practices and relationships with partners.

Be streamlined: We use Process Optimisation to boost performance and efficiency.

Work collectively: We are evolving as ‘One Brathay’ providing a seamless and integrated offer to individuals and organisations.

Young person

Making it happen

The community ‘models’ in Bradford and Barrow are the ideal starting point for going forward. By 2025, we would like to have consolidated these further and be operating in both regions as ‘One Brathay’ to extend our inter-connected, holistic offering. We will also have made inroads into finding and working with a third ‘community’ elsewhere in the UK.

We will achieve this by identifying relevant stakeholders, both locally and nationally. We will proactively engage with them to identify how best we can work together, sharing best practice and recording progress for future use. Successful community models can then be replicated elsewhere.

Brathay is no stranger to measuring impact. Our research will be extended to include our partners. We will agree with them the criteria for measuring our combined efforts and will record and publish our findings.

Behind the scenes, Process Optimisation will allow us to become more robust and cost-effective while we will make a shift towards marketing targeted services to drive new income. Where necessary, the organisation will be re-structured to become ‘One Brathay’ – for example, our business development and operational teams joining forces to create a residential package for large groups that takes full advantage of our stunning location and facilities.

A commitment to our people

At Brathay we aspire to getting the best for, and from, everyone – not just our working partners, young people and clients, but our staff also. We commit to improving staff training and development and to providing real opportunities to contribute towards change via active working groups.

Ensuring financial sustainability

Of course, our future success depends on financial sustainability and we will achieve this by striving to make every aspect of our organisation excellent. Our People and Organisation Development offering, Children and Young People's Services, Challenge Events and Venue Services will act both independently and collectively to maximise our growth and impact.