St Giles Trust

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St Giles Trust began in 1962 as the ‘Camberwell Samaritans’ under the auspices of Fr. John Nicholls. "The Crypt of St Giles Church in Camberwell was cleared of coffins and opened by the Queen Mother in 1963 as one of the first day centres for homeless people. In its first nine months, the day centre received 314 clients, of whom "...3% wer potential suicides, 5% were alcoholic, 3% homosexual and that most problems were social ones, including homelessness, financial and employment, many of the latter being unemployable through illness or personality problems."...

In 1977, St Giles Trust became a co-operative, severing links with the St Giles church and taking the secular name of 'Southwark Day Centre'. During this period many of the satellite projects became independent. The client profile in those days was largely white, working class, often Irish or Scots and quite probably with an alcohol problem...

"By the end of the 80s, around 150 people a day were using the cramped, damp crypt. In the early 1990s, plans were made to move to purpose-built faciities just up the road and a capital appeal was launched to raise £1.5million to buy and refurbish a previously squatted building - Georgian House on Camberwell Church Street. To this day, it remains our headquarters.

"The new centre was opened in 1995 by Prince Charles. Concieved as a 'services hub' where people could access a broad range of health services as well as housing advice, our work included help with training and employment in a friendly, supportive environment aimed at people with multiple barriers to learning or accessing services. Partly because clients persistently referred to the day centre as St Giles, Southwark Day Centre was re-named St Giles Trust...

"Our work further evolved in the 2000s with a casework service in HMP Wandsworth to help stem the heavey flow of local prison leavers who presented in need of housing support. The early 21st century marked a shift in our focus away from working with homeless people towards helping offenders resettle and change their lives.

"With the help of The Impetus Trust, we indentified that the prisons side of our work was the most innovative and cost effective way of reacher the largest number with the greatest unmet needs. In 2004, the day centre closed its door for the last time - a result of funding cuts and a new focus for St Giles Trust.

"We offer practical support around housing, training and help entering the workforce. We train serving prisoners who want to change to become qualified professionals - known as Peer Advisors - who provide support to fellow inmates. The arm of this work has developed into 'meet at the gates' services, which assist prisoners on the day of release and has been proven to reduce offending rates to around 35% and on average returns around £10 in criminal justice cost savings for each £1 invested...

"In 2010, we launched the very first free phone advice line run by seriving females for serving female prisoners, and were also the first recipient of a new funding model (called a Social Impact Bond) to work with prison-leavers from HMP Peterborough. In 2012 it was announced that the HRH Prince William would be patron to St Giles Trust for our anniversary year. "[1]


Accessed October 2012: [2]


Accessed October 2012: [3]

In 2014 they include Jenny Agutter



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. St Giles Trust History, organizational web page, accessed October 13, 2012.
  2. St Giles Trust Contact, organizational web page, accessed October 14, 2012.
  3. St Giles Trust Contact, organizational web page, accessed October 14, 2012.