Discover the history of the UK’s
leading children’s charity

Thomas Barnardo’s story is just the beginning of our fascinating and diverse history. Explore our interactive timeline to find out how we have supported children through many challenges over the last 150 years.

150 years, hundreds of thousands of lives changed

Young man in a workshop

When Thomas Barnardo arrived in London in 1866, he was appalled to witness the suffering of street children – young people with no hope, and nowhere to turn for help.

He set out to give them a refuge, a place where they would be fed, cared for, and given an education – and so the first Barnardo’s children’s home was founded.

150 years later, the challenges that children face may have changed dramatically, but our promise to protect the UK’s children remains unbroken.

With your help, we’ll always be here for children who need us.

Make a gift to Barnardo’s

No child turned away

Barnardo's children

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 began with our pioneering founder, Thomas Barnardo, who stood up for the most neglected 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.