Every year, those who were formerly in our care get together for a reunion. It’s a chance to share lunch, laughter and memories

Action for Children used to be called The National Children's Home (NCH). It ran dozens of children's homes all over England, Wales and Scotland, and even some overseas.

Each year, the people who were cared for in those branches come together to talk about their childhoods, reminisce and remember. The youngest are in their fifties – the eldest are closer to 100 years old. We call it our Old Boys and Girls Reunion.

The love, care and guidance I received during my time within the NCH has stood me in good stead. Recently, through a friend who has researched my family background, I have been able to make contact with and meet cousins in the USA and New Zealand.

Reunion guest
3 guests chatting at Action for Children's Annual Reunion

How to take part

If you’re a former NCH resident, we’d love to see you at the next reunion.

It’s a chance to connect with friends and take a trip down memory lane. You’ll also be able to find out how Action for Children continues to support children who need help.

Are you interested in coming to our next reunion?

Get in touch

Old Boys and Girls share memories and laughter

The 2023 Annual Reunion was held at the Wesley Hotel in London.

Around 45 Old Boys and Girls and former National Children’s Home (NCH) staff attended the annual reunion to share lunch, laughter and memories with others who grew up in our homes in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, or were there caring for the children.

The youngest of our Old Boys and Girls are now in their fifties – with the eldest closer to 100 years old.

Two friends at AFC reunion event 2023

Helen Lavelle, who helped organise the event, said: “The Annual Reunion is such an important date in the Action for Children calendar. It allows old friends to catch up with one another, take a trip down memory lane, and sometimes make new friends."

“The day is also a chance for those who grew up in our former children’s homes to find out what’s been going on at Action for Children over the past year.”

Two friends at AFC reunion event 1 2023

During a short speech to attendees, there was applause when our CEO Paul talked about the growth in the number of residential homes we are opening. Paul also spoke of the importance of events like the reunion so Action for Children can better design services that reflect the needs of young people in care.

He finished by saying how moved he was by speaking with the Old Boys and Girls, and that the event had been a highlight of his time working at that charity.

One of our Young Ambassadors, Emry, then spoke about the first few months of the new Young Ambassadors scheme and how the group are able to influence Action for Children’s work, including with staff recruitment.

CEO Paul Carberry at reunion event 2023

Remembering a visit from The Beatles

Alan grew up at our large NCH home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

Alan explained how he had led a successful life, and now has a large family of his own, following a happy childhood at Harpenden. Alan was cared for by NCH from babyhood, having been orphaned when he was just four months old.

Alan experienced some difficult years when he was older, including periods of homelessness in his late teens, and was pleased to hear about the work we now do to support care leavers.

He remembered a visit from The Beatles to the home when he was a child, as well as regular visits from comedian Eric Morecombe who lived locally.