Back in 1869, Methodist minister Reverend Dr Thomas Bowman Stephenson found two boys sheltering under the arches of Waterloo Station.

He was shocked by what he saw and decided to dedicate his life to helping vulnerable children.

The two boys were Fred and George. They were the first children helped by Rev Dr. Thomas Bowman Stephenson but he was soon helping more and more.

Meet Fred and George the first two boys to be taken in by Stephenson

Fred and George, the first two boys to be taken in by Rev Dr. Stephenson

Our history

Revd Dr Stephenson was a Methodist minister from the North East of England. He was passionate about social justice. So when he moved to London, he challenged the Methodist Church to take action to help children living on the streets.

His work led to the creation of the National Children’s Home (NCH) - the original name of Action for Children.

A lot has changed since 1896. But our ambition – to give children safe and happy childhoods – shines just as bright.

We’ve built more and more services to help vulnerable children across the UK. And in 2008, we became Action for Children.

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With our activities and resources, you could help improve the lives of vulnerable children

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Whit Monday group old boys and girls reunion 1903

A group of Old Boys and Girls from Whit Mondays Children's Home in 1903

How we've grown

We’ve been making a difference for the children and families who need us most for over 150 years.

Just last year, we supported 765,905 children, young people, and families across the UK. We did this through 426 services in local communities, schools, and online.

We’ve been a vital lifeline for generations. And together with amazing supporters like you, we can be there for generations to come.

What we do

From Scotland to Cornwall, we help children, young people and families in need across the UK

Our work

What more needs to be done

Right now, 4.2 million children live in poverty in the UK. That’s nine children in a classroom of 30. Nine children who don’t have the essentials they need for a safe and happy childhood. But with your help, we could reach these children.

With your help, we could reach more children like Miracle

Read Miracle's story

Take a glimpse at some of our earliest children's homes

Leave a gift in your will

There are many ways you can help the children, young people, and families we support. Remembering Action for Children in your will is one of them.

Your lasting legacy could write brighter futures for vulnerable children, today and tomorrow.

Leave a gift in your will

Your legacy could transform a child's life

Do something incredible
Close up shot of a woman hugging a young girl. The young girls arms are wrapped tightly around the woman's back

Why Elizabeth left a gift in her will

"I have been a supporter of Action for Children for over 50 years. I first started as a girl selling sunny smiles. As a Children’s nurse, I’ve seen the effects of of child abuse, poverty and disability on children and their families and realise the importance of Action for Children’s work. I am happy to leave a legacy in my will to continue helping those who need it the most."

Not sure where to start?

Our free gifts in wills enquiry pack is full of useful information, including our will planner, which gives you a place to store all your thoughts and to note down all your wishes and directions for your estate.

Order our free gifts in wills enquiry pack

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Already pledged a gift in your will?

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Honouring our heritage in prayer

Throughout June, we're asking you to join us in remembering the kindness of Revd Dr Stephenson and his work. You can do so by following our weekly prayer guides.

Bible reflection week 1
Bible reflection week 2
Bible reflection week 3
Bible reflection week 4

Get in touch!

Any questions? Please contact the Gifts in Wills team using: [email protected]

Leave your legacy

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