Our history

Over 150 years ago, The Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson took the time to listen to homeless children living under the arches of Waterloo station.

He listened. And we’ve been listening and taking action ever since. 

From one family home in Waterloo, the charity quickly grew to become the National Children’s Home (NCH).


Meet Fred and George.

The first children taken in from the streets, rather than having to face the workhouse in 1869.

Stephenson couldn’t stand by and do nothing. Everything he did was 'in the service of the children'.

You can read more about some of the first children in our care and search our archive gallery to see if you recognise any of your ancestors.


Our impressive history of firsts.

Watch a short film on our long history of innovation:


Some things don't change.

Today, as Action for Children, we hold tight to our founder’s pioneering spirit. We drive forward new ways to make life better for vulnerable children. We work relentlessly to fix problems early and give them the chance to grow up happy, healthy and with hope for their future.