The history of Barnardo’s
At Barnardo’s we believe in children – no matter who they are, what they have done or what they have been through. We will ensure their needs are met and their voices are heard.
This vision started with our pioneering founder, Thomas Barnardo, who stood up for the most vulnerable children in society. We continue to fight for the UK’s most vulnerable children to realise his dream of a world where no child is turned away.
When Thomas Barnardo came to London in 1866 he found children sleeping in the streets and being forced to beg for food. In 1867 he set up the Ragged School and started helping the abused, vulnerable, forgotten and neglected children of east london and his work still continues today.
By the time Thomas Barnardo died in 1905, the charity he founded ran 96 homes caring for more than 8,500 children. Following his death his work continued and now Barnardo’s is the children’s charity with the largest number of services on the ground in the UK: we run over 900 services in local communities. Our work includes reaching and helping children who have been sexually exploited, young people leaving the care system, children with a parent in prison and families struggling to cope. We find loving adoptive homes and foster placements for children in care.
Last year we transformed the lives of more than 200,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable children, young people and their families. We helped many more by campaigning to change policy and public opinion.
See more of our work: