Friday, 3 March 2017

A new history of a Manchester children's charity

Now it is quite something to be invited to be part of the 150th birthday bash of a children’s charity which began in Manchester in 1870.

In just three years time the Together Trust will be a 150 which deserves a special celebration.*

It had begun as a rescue operation offering destitute boys from Manchester and Salford a bed and a meal for the night quickly extended its work to include girls as well as boys, and provide more permanent homes offering training for future careers along with holiday homes.

Emma before admission
It also campaigned against some of the worst cases of child exploitation taking negligent parents to court and arguing against the practise of employing young children to sell matches on the streets of the twin cities.

Back then it was known as the Manchester & Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Shelters and in 1920 changed its name to the Together Trust and moved out to Cheadle.

And today it continues to help young people and their families.

I first came across the Trust five years ago and have been writing about its work ever since.

As a historian my interest has been with its history and here I have had tremendous help from the Trust’s archivist who as well as maintaining the charity’s extensive archive also produces a blog and works with families who have been helped passed through the care of the Together Trust.**

Emma after admission
This I know because some of those families have expressed to me their appreciation of the work done by Liz Sykes in locating a relative and supplying details of the care they received.

So I have long wanted to be involved in writing the history of the Manchester & Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Shelters and its story since 1920.

And this week we have confirmation that the project will go ahead with a planned publication date of 2019.

Next month Liz and I will begin the detailed preparations for the book and already we have had some exciting ideas about how the book will not only celebrate the work of the Trust but will be a practical guide as to how people can begin the journey of searching for a family member who stayed in one of the charity’s homes, was helped with industrial training and in some cases were assisted to move to Canada.

Thomas Bowers a success story
It will go a long way to describing the charity’s work but also reflect the history of how vulnerable young people and their families have been helped in the course of a century and a half.

Now all that has just got to be exciting.

Pictures; courtesy of the Together Trust

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