Every year, the children that Action for Children (formerly The National Children's Home) cared for get together to talk about their childhoods.

In early July each year, over one hundred Old Boys and Girls from our former branches meet in Watford, our head office, for our annual reunion.

Action for Children used to be called The National Children's Home, and it ran dozens of children's homes all over England, Wales and Scotland, and even some overseas in Commonwealth countries. Each year, the people who were cared for in those branches come together to talk about their childhoods, catch-up, reminisce and remember. The youngest are in their fifties - the eldest are closer to 100 years old.


Annual Reunion 2019

The theme this year was a special one - Action for Children's 150th birthday. Over 130 guests got together at Methodist Central Hall and enjoyed an exhibition of our history as well as films about our archive search for the descendants of the first children in our care in 1869. A 150-birthday cake was cut by two of our Old Boys and enjoyed by everyone.

Sadly some regular guests were missing. Ray Trueman and Sister Maureen McKelvy had both passed away earlier in the year.

Our Chair of Trustees and host Sarika Patel welcomed a special guest - Sonia Sacadura and her mother. Sonia is the great great granddaughter of Francis Horner, who was worried about the plight of children in Victorian Britain and supported the Rev Stephenson in setting up our first home in 1869.

Next up was Julie Bentley, our Chief Executive who updated the gathering on our new Choose Childhood campaign and our archive search for the descendants of our first boys and girls.

"The love, care and guidance I received during my time within the NCH has stood me in good stead and recently (within the last 6 years), through a friend who has researched my family background, I have been able to make contact with and meet cousins in the USA and New Zealand."

A Guest

Although our work today has diversified from children's homes, we still have over 650 projects and services running throughout the UK, reaching 300,000 children and young people.

These services range from support for families and young people in need, disability care and short breaks centres to support for young carers, children's play centres and much, much more.

At the heart of our work is our founding belief that everything we do is 'in the service of the children'.

You can find out more about our history here

Our impact this year

Data from all our services across the UK shows that:

  • 96% reduced risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
  • 87% of children improved their emotional wellbeing.
  • 97% of young people remained in education, employment or training after 16 years of age.
  • 97% of children with complex health needs sustained maximum independence.
  • 93% of carers believe we have made their job as a foster carer easier.
  • 96% of our volunteers said they would recommend volunteering with Action for Children.
  • 82% of parents and carers using our early years services say that their children were well prepared for school.

Help us do more.

Your support will help us make life better for the UK's most vulnerable children and young people.