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Spurgeons is a large national children's charity in the United Kingdom, working with vulnerable families, children and young people. It is based in Rushden, with several offices in the UK, and is a registered charity.[1]

Spurgeons currently delivers more than 81 projects reaching over 37,000 children and 78,000 parents or carers every year. It aims to find long-lasting solutions to the challenges they face – including poverty, abuse problems, offending, and other social issues.

The Christian charity works in partnership with local authorities, churches, charitable foundations and other supporters to bring about lasting change.[2]


Spurgeons was founded in 1867 by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was England’s best known Baptist preacher. At 20 years old he became the pastor of London’s famed New Park Street Church.

Spurgeons charity was founded in 1867 when Anne Hillyard donated £20,000 to Charles Spurgeon, to be used to open an orphanage for fatherless boys.

Spurgeons was founded as a compassionate and distinctively Christian response to the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children in London. Motivated by their faith, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his associates sought to provide shelter, education and a loving environment for the city's most vulnerable children.

The original orphanage, in Stockwell, opened in 1869 for fatherless boys until ten years later when girls were welcomed to the orphanage. At this point there were 500 children living there.

In 1892 Charles Spurgeon died, however his work continued to improve the lives of the children in the orphanage.

In 1939, when the Second World War was announced, the children living in the Stockwell orphanage had to be evacuated. The majority of the children were moved to St David’s in Reigate, Surrey.

After the war the children briefly stayed at St David’s as they were unable to return to Stockwell Orphanage due to the bomb damage.

In 1951 the home in Birchington, Kent was opened and became the new children’s home for Spurgeons. By 1953 all of the children had been relocated to the new home.

The children’s home remained opened until 1979 when the children were sent to smaller homes or foster families.

From 1991 Spurgeons carried out international work in Romania, Kenya, Nigeria and Moldova. This international work was passed onto other organisations in 2011.[3]

Children's Centres[edit]

Spurgeons runs over 50 Children’s Centres across the UK. Children’s centres are a key resource in local communities.

The centres give Spurgeons the opportunity to work with children and families in the context of a local community and ensure they support all families regardless of background or situation.

Working with children in the early years of their life is the most effective way to ensure that those experiencing deprivation can still look forward to choices and opportunities. Focusing on communities with high-levels of poverty, Spurgeons work with families at the pre-natal stage, through birth and up to the age of five. [4]

Their services include:

  • Young parents groups
  • Supporting parent and child relationships, family therapy and nurturing
  • Baby clinics
  • Stay and play sessions
  • Father support groups

Young Carers[edit]

Family circumstances mean that from an early age some children and young people provide regular or ongoing care and support to another family member as a result of them having a physical or mental illness, a disability, or are struggling with substance misuse. Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.

Spurgeons know that these children and young people need help to overcome the challenges they face. They work in partnership with other agencies to support young carers and young adult carers (18-25), individually and within their families in a range of ways.[5]

Their services include:

  • Information, advice and practical help for the family
  • Educational, training and homework support
  • One-to-one tailored support
  • Transition support
  • Mentoring support

Families and Criminal Justice[edit]

Many children, overwhelmed by their problems, act-up or act out in a bid for attention or a cry for help. Children seen as 'trouble-makers' may become isolated or be excluded from mainstream schooling. When this happens the risk of them becoming involved in criminal activity grows. They face the challenges of drugs, bullying, abuse, poverty and family breakdown alone - sometimes because their own parents are in prison.

The impact a parent's imprisonment has on their children is not fully known. But Spurgeons believes that it's crucial to help children to address the root-causes of their problems, support children and their families while they have a family member in prison and ensure they break the cycle of imprisonment within families.

In partnership with the police, schools, social workers and Youth Offending teams, Spurgeons supports families at times of crisis and provide one-to-one mentoring and befriending for children.

Spurgeons run child focused visitors centres in a number of prisons. These include:

The visitors centres ensure children have the most safe and comfortable experience when they visit a parent in prison.

Spurgeons also offers targeted programmes for young offenders or those at risk of offending – including mentoring for young people in custody, through the gate, and family based intervention to prevent offending and reoffending.[6]

Invisible Walls[edit]

Spurgeons also provide a project called ‘Invisible Walls’. Spurgeons’ Invisible Walls family support service is based at HMP/YOI Winchester, a local Category B/C prison. The service works in partnership with the prison and a range of agencies to support fathers in custody and their families in a range of ways.

1. Support for visiting…

A key part of the service is the Visitors’ Centre, which acts as a hub for family support, and offers comprehensive access to information about local services within families’ communities. The 7-day-a-week service is supported by a large volunteer workforce who are trained and understand the needs that children and families visiting prison may experience.

2. Support for fathers inside…

Within the prison, Invisible Walls offers a range of parenting support to fathers, including parenting programmes and Family Days, to assist them develop and maintain healthy relationships with their families wherever possible, both during custody and on release into the community. Invisible Walls acts as a bridging service to help meet the resettlement needs of fathers and their families on release as part of a multi-agency response.

3. Work with agencies outside…

Invisible Walls works in partnership with Local Authorities’ family support services and social care, to deliver tailored packages of pre- and post-release support for the whole family. The service is a key provider of Hidden Sentence training to partner agencies and organisations across Hampshire and the surrounding area, helping them to understand the impact of having a family member in prison. Invisible Walls also has well-established links with local universities and community organisations through which the service recruits and trains a large cohort of volunteers to help support prisoners’ families.[7]

Family Support[edit]

Spurgeons is an experienced provider of services for families with multiple needs. They deliver a range of programmes to achieve positive change for families and clear outcomes for commissioners.

Spurgeons provide cost effective high quality planned programmes in order to meet the needs of troubled families. They provide planned programmes to meet the complex needs of troubled families including key issues such as substance misuse, mental health and offending. Their programmes provide holistic support, co-ordinating multi-agency work around the family unit.

They recognise that one of the most effective ways to reach vulnerable young people is by working with them in their own community. By establishing dialogue with children and young people most at risk of deprivation, Spurgeons can better understand them and better help their community to find solutions to the challenges they face.

The aim is to facilitate them in doing this through training, support and skills-enhancement.

These activities are designed to help people to deal with issues like inter-generational breakdown and anti-social behaviour and can help to build stronger families and healthier and more cohesive communities.

Spurgeons provides activities such as parenting support, youth and children’s activities, community events and homework clubs.

They also offer child contact services. Contact centres are meeting places where children from separated families can enjoy contact with one (or both) parents and/or other family members in a comfortable and safe environment. Visits are tailored around the needs of each child. It is estimated that 2,000 children in the UK use Child Contact Centres each week.

Independent visitors services is another service Spurgeons provides through family support. Children and young people being looked after by the local authority can benefit from the friendship and advice offered by a Spurgeons volunteer. All volunteers are fully trained to mentor and befriend a looked after child or young person.[8]


  1. ^ Charity Commission. Spurgeons, registered charity no. 1081182. 
  2. ^ http://www.spurgeons.org/how-we-help/
  3. ^ "About us - Spurgeons". www.spurgeons.org. Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  4. ^ "Children's Centres - Spurgeons". www.spurgeons.org. Archived from the original on 2014-01-25. Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  5. ^ "Young Carers - Spurgeons". www.spurgeons.org. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "Families & criminal justice - Spurgeons". www.spurgeons.org. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "HMP Winchester - Spurgeons". www.spurgeons.org. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Family support - Spurgeons". www.spurgeons.org. Archived from the original on 2010-11-05. Retrieved 2015-10-13. 

External links[edit]