As Action for Children marks 150 years of helping vulnerable children, the charity has launched a nationwide search for the descendants of some of the UK’s first children in care, including those from Chipping Norton.
The charity has released historic images from its archives of vulnerable children in Victorian Britain and is asking members of the public if they can identify family members.
The children featured were looked after in some of the country’s first ever care homes, including Chipping Norton’s Penhurst home on New Street.
Penhurst opened in 1903 as a home and residential school for children with disabilities and those in need of convalescence.
In 1953 the home became Penhurst School, which provided specialised care for children with advanced disabilities up until its closure in 2013.
The legacy of Penhurst’s life-changing work continues, and in its 150th year, Action for Children wants to remember the lives of some of the first children it cared for and help descendants find out more about their family members as well as explore the issues that affected vulnerable children when it was founded and still do today.
Carol Iddon, Action for Children’s managing director of services, said: “This search is a reminder of how far we’ve come when it comes to helping the most vulnerable in society, but also how far we still have to go to make sure children today have a safe and stable future.
“Our 150th year is a time to remember the first children we cared for and to hear their stories.
She added: “But it should also serve as wake-up call to the work government and charities need to do now to invest in our children today and give them the childhoods they deserve.
“Every day at Action for Children we still see families under threat of losing their home, living with problems like domestic violence or struggling to put food on the table. All the while, children’s services are continuously being stripped back due to lack of government funding.”
To view a gallery of over 30 images visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/archive.
If you recognise anyone from these images, or you know of an ancestor who was either in Penhurst home or a home run by the National Children’s Home, email email@example.com.