Fairbridge (charity)

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Fairbridge is a UK charity that supports young people aged 13–25, that has existed since 1987. Each year it supports around 3,700 disengaged young people who are either not in education, employment or training – or at risk of becoming so – at one of its fifteen centres on the country.

In January 2011 it was announced that Fairbridge will become part of The Prince's Trust.


Fairbridge is the result of the merging of two organisations, the Drake Fellowship and the Fairbridge Society.

The Fairbridge Society was established in 1909 by Kingsley Fairbridge. Moved by the levels of deprivation he saw in inner city areas of England, he established a charity to offer opportunities and education abroad to young people from broken homes. Currently (2017) The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA ), in full public hearings, is investigating the sexual abuse of children who were removed from British institutions and families between 1947 and the 70s, and taken to Australia and Canada by various charities and churches, including the Fairbridge Society.[1]

Operation Drake was launched in 1978 at the suggestion of HRH The Prince of Wales. It was a two-year, round-the-world venture in which 400 young people from 27 nations worked with scientists and servicemen on projects in 16 countries. John Mogg (British Army officer)(also known as Sir Herbert John Mogg) was a Chairman of the Operation Drake Fellowship.[2]

In 1980, George Thurstan, one of the organisers of Operation Drake, formed the Drake Fellowship to help under-privileged young people from centres based in the heart of the inner cities.

In 1987, the Drake Fellowship merged with the Fairbridge Society to become Fairbridge Drake, and in 1992 the name was changed to Fairbridge.

Fairbridge's patron was Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, its President was Damon Buffini and Vice-Presidents were Lady Dodds-Parker and Sir William McAlpine.[3]

In April 2011, Fairbridge will merge with The Prince's Trust. The united organisation, will be called The Prince’s Trust. [4]


Fairbridge is a national charity which helps young people develop the confidence, motivation and skills they need to turn their lives around. It is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).[5]


Based in the UK’s inner city areas, Fairbridge helps over 3,700 young people a year from its 16 centres. The charity operates from team centres in Bristol, Southampton, Hackney in East London and Kennington in South London, Chatham, Kent (based out of Offices within the Historic Chatham Dockyard), Birmingham, Liverpool, Salford in Greater Manchester and Bury in North Manchester, Middlesbrough, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Cardiff, Swansea, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.


Spirit of Fairbridge

Fairbridge works with young people who have experienced school exclusion, homelessness, anti-social behavior, crime, substance misuse and mental health issues. By a combination of one-to-one support and challenging activities, young people make positive changes in their lives to enter education, training or employment.

Activities include outdoor pursuits, cooking, IT, drama, art, music, sexual health, work-based and independent living courses. The charity owns a 92’ sailing ship Spirit of Fairbridge which fosters self belief through personal challenges.[6]


  1. ^ Laville, Sandra (2017-03-09). "UK child deportations of 50s: 'most catastrophic child abuse' in memory". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  2. ^ "General Sir John Moggurl". The Daily Telegraph. London. 31 Oct 2001. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Fairbridge: Directors' report 31 March 2009" (PDF). Charity Commission.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Fairbridge". princestrust.org. January 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  5. ^ Full list of NCVYS members Archived May 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Spirit of Fairbridge". Archived from the original on 2013-05-05.

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