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Barnardo's is a British charity founded by the Irish Doctor Thomas John Barnardo in 1866, to care for vulnerable child young people. As of 2007, it spends over £195 million each year on 394 projects aimed at helping these same groups. Barnardo's is based in Barkingsidemarker in the London Borough of Redbridgemarker in East Londonmarker.

Origin of Barnardo's

The charity was established when its founder Thomas Barnardo opened a school in the East End of Londonmarker to care for and educate children of the area left orphaned and destitute by the recent cholera outbreak and a little street child, called Jim Jarvis, attended one of his classes and asked for help. Eventually the little boy led him to a hiding place of hundreds of boys on a rooftop. In 1870 he founded an orphanage at 18 Stepney Causeway with the same goals. By the time of his death in 1905, Barnardo's institutions cared for over 8,500 children in 96 locations. His work was carried on by his many supporters under the name Dr Barnardo's Homes.

A 1931 advertisement for Dr Barnardo's Homes

Following societal changes in the mid 20th century, the charity changed its focus from the direct care of children to fostering and adoption, renaming itself Dr Barnardo's. Following the closure of its last traditional orphanage in 1989 it took the still simpler name of Barnardo's.

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II is the current patron of Barnardo's. Its Chief Executive is Martin Narey, formerly head of the National Offender Management Service. His appointment was warmly welcomed by staff at Barnardo's and in the wider children's sector.

Barnardo's work today

Today their work helps children with numerous difficulties, including mental health problems, homelessness, and HIV and AIDS. The alleviation of child poverty links most of its work with more than 115,000 children. In recent years it has accompanied its service delivery work with some robust campaigning on Sarah's Law, asylum-seeking children, children in care, young carers and, most prominently, child poverty. The combination of service delivery, in which it is second only to NCH in size, and its campaigning voice makes it one of the UK's leading children's charities.

As well as regular second hand stores across the UK, Barnardos also has a network of shops dedicated to selling vintage clothing, books, shoes and furniture, as well as boutiques, bridal wear shops and dress agencies, not to mention GIK (gifts in kind) stores which sell new clothing and goods that have been donated to Barnardos from manufacturers and retailers. Barnardo's also have an online shop on their main website which details new goods such as gifts and greeting cards.

The charity's current tagline is "Believe in children". A recent television campaign prompted investigation by the ASA following over 400 complaints being received over two days in 2008. The advertisements were subsequently cleared by the advertising watchdog.

Children of Dr. Barnardo's Homes

During the 1950s, children from the homes made some significant recordings. Their biggest claim to fame was featuring on Petula Clark's 1952 recording of Where Did My Snowman Go. They also made some other recordings as a vocal group for Polygon & Pye Nixa.


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