Suffolk Babies was set up in 2016 to improve antenatal education in Suffolk and to make it more accessible to a wider range of people.
We are a Community Interest Company (CIC) which means we operate in a very similar way to a charity.
All our profits go into providing free antenatal workshops. We don’t get any funding to do this, we fund it all ourselves. The difference between us and a charity, is that when people make a donation to us, they get something in return.
What do people get in return for their donation?
We run a range of highly regarded baby, toddler, antenatal and fitness classes, and now, online courses. All our classes have been written by experts in their fields, and are in line with the latest thinking on child development. People come to our classes from miles around and stay with us for years, so we know we are providing courses and workshops that people want to attend. These classes are charged at the minimum possible price, and we offer free places to siblings and twins. We also provide free classes to people who we know are struggling or are referred to us by professionals.
The added bonus is that every class that a client pays for is making a donation towards the free antenatal workshops. So people that can afford to pay for classes are helping to fund classes for those who cannot.
Once we have covered our costs, every penny goes into providing the free classes, in exactly the same way as any other charity.
What are the differences between a CIC and a charity?
- The main difference is that we have to operate as a business – we are taxed as a limited company and many funding options are not available to us. As described above, the other difference is that when people donate to us, they do it in order to get something in return. We don’t survive on handouts, we survive because we provide popular classes. We have to generate an income from our enterprise activities.
- Our Directors are not normal shareholders; we can take a salary like any other employee, but we are not allowed to take dividends from our profits. All our profits are reinvested back into the community – in our case this is the provision of free antenatal education.