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The history of Barnardo's

Barnardo’s vision today is that the lives of all children and young people should be free from poverty, abuse and discrimination. Barnardo’s believe in the abused, the vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected. We pledge to support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child.

Black and white image of two women and three children

This vision is the same as the one Thomas Barnardo had when he came to London in 1866 and found children sleeping in the streets and being forced to beg for food.  It was in 1867 that he set up the Ragged School and starting 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 helps more than 100,000 children, young people and their families every year. Like Thomas Barnardo, we believe that every child deserves the best start in life and the chance to fulfil their potential.

Find our more about our history and the work of Thomas Barnardo and the charity (PDF)

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