In 1870, three old school friends – Tom Pelham, Arthur Kinnaird and Quintin Hogg – were so moved by the poverty around them, they felt they had to do something about it. They founded an organisation called Homes for Working Boys.
1920s there were six Homes for working boys in London
At the same time, another group of philanthropists – the Reverend Prebendary Gage-Brown and parishioner Constance Allen – formed the Fellowship of St Christopher to house the homeless and jobless men living rough in London.
1940s we started working with young offenders
In the 1940s the Fellowship identified another group who needed help towards a better future, and began to accept young offenders.
The Second World War presented new difficulties for St Christopher's and the Homes for Working Boys. Some of their properties were taken over as accommodation for soldiers, and others were destroyed in the Blitz. In spite of this, both organisations managed to provide housing for young men who needed it. Large numbers of these residents went on to fight for their country. Many were decorated for their bravery and one young man received the highest honour, the Victoria Cross.
William Beveridge praises our services
After the war, William Beveridge, one of the architects of the welfare state, cited both the Fellowship of St Christopher and the Homes for Working Boys as models of the role that voluntary societies could play. He praised their independence, initiative and flexibility, and saw them as central to the full development of the welfare state.
1967 the two organisations merge
In 1967 the two organisations merged to form today's St Christopher's Fellowship. Its first priority was to provide staffed homes and hostels for children and young people in local authority care.
1970s St Christopher’s began working with care leavers
In the 1970s St Christopher's launched its first leaving care projects, providing independent flats with 24-hour support, and in 1976 it was registered as a housing association, extending its support to more young homeless people.
1980s St Christopher’s opened its first supported housing project
In 1980 St Christopher's opened its first supported housing project.Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, St Christopher's continued to expand and develop its supported housing for vulnerable young people. New houses were bought and partnerships established with larger housing associations and local authorities.
The 1990s saw several firsts for St Christopher's:
- The opening of a specialist support project for young black men in South East London
- In 1994, the establishment of a ground-breaking leaving care project in partnership with a local authority