Thomas Coram Foundation for Children
Coram's mission is to develop, deliver and promote best practice in the support of children and young people.
Coram's headquarters are at Brunswick Square in London, but they work with children and young people across the UK and beyond. Coram offers the following services:
Coram is a registered a voluntary adoption agency, helping create families for life. The Creative Therapy service uses art and music therapy to transform the lives of vulnerable children. These therapies are based on Coram's rich musical and artistic heritage - the composer Handel and the artist Hogarth were two of Coram's earliest supporters.
They also operate a Supported Housing service to help give young homeless people secure accommodation and ongoing support to restore their hope and protect them from the dangers their precarious situation may have exposed them to, such as sexual exploitation and violence.
Coram Life Education provides health and drug education for children in school. By educating children about diet, exercise and how to manage risks as they grow up, Coram help them make healthier choices and take responsibility for their own lives
Coram Children's Legal Centre promotes and protect children’s rights in the UK and overseas through law, policy and practice. CCLC provides free legal information, advice and representation to children, young people, their families, carers and professionals, as well as international consultancy on child law and children’s rights.
Coram Voice provides advocacy for children and young people who rely on the state to beat the heart of decisions made about their lives by standing up for their rights and influencing the system responsible for their care.
The Chief Executive of Coram since 2007 is Dr Carol Homden CBE. Its Chair of Board of Trustees is Paul Curran, and its President is Sir Michael Bear.
The Foundling Hospital was begun by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram, who was appalled to see abandoned babies and children starving and dying in the streets of London. In 1742–1745 a building was erected north of Lamb's Conduit Street in Bloomsbury. Boys were housed in the West Wing of the new home. The East Wing was built in 1752 to house girls.
Popular artists of the 18th century became patrons and governors of the Foundling Hospital and donated some of their work to the foundation. The art collection contains works by William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds, including a full-length portrait of Thomas Coram himself, along with musical scores by Handel including a fair copy of Messiah bequeathed in his will.
The Foundling Hospital became fashionable as a cause, a gallery and a concert hall. Governors of the hospital decided in 1926 to realise the value of the London site (it was sold for £2 million) and to build a new hospital on the Ashlyns site at Berkhamsted. The children were sent to temporary premises in Redhill until 1935 when the Georgian-style buildings in Berkhamsted were ready for occupation.
Hertfordshire County Council took responsibility for the school part of the hospital when it became Ashlyns School in 1951. Boarders at The Thomas Coram Foundation for Children were 'phased out' by 1955, when the Foundation sold the buildings to the County Council.
The historic collections of the Foundling Hospital were moved in the 1920s to Brunswick Square, London, where a museum was established. In 1998 the building and collections were formally constituted as a separate charity, the Foundling Museum.