The Work of the Charity Organisation Society

A timeline of the development of the Charity Organisation Society, 101 stories spanning nearly 200 years of social and economic change. Created by Nicola Horsley and Michael Lambert.

Troubled Families Programme Launched

The Troubled Families Programme initially sought to 'turn around' Britain's 120,000 most 'troubled families' through a national initiative of intensive case work.

ContinYou Services Join Family Action

ContinYou was formed in 2003 and delivered education, health and wellbeing services in partnership with schools. Continyou's Parent Partnership Services and Department for Education funded Childcare in Schools work moved to Family Action in April 2013.

Perinatal Support Service Established

The Family Action Perinatal Support Service was established at four sites across the UK in 2010 and evolved from the early work of Newpin. The service offers support to families where the mother is at risk of developing, or currently suffering from, mental health issues, through volunteer befrienders.

Family Action Merges with Friendship Works

Friendship Works started in 1977 when the Family Welfare Association launched the Big Friend/Little Friend befriending project in Islington. In 1983 the project became a charity in its own right and in 1991 Big Friend/Little Friend became Friends United Network (FUN), and then Friendship Works in 2009. Friendship Works rejoined Family Action in 2015.

Her Majesty the Queen attends 100th Anniversary of FWA

A Reception was held at Mansion House to mark the centenary of FWA, attended by Her Majesty the Queen and the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Charles Trinder GBE, Chairman of the FWA.

HM Queen Elizabeth II Becomes FWA's Patron

Her Majesty the Queen agreed to become the patron of the Family Welfare Association upon the death of Queen Mary.

Open Doors Grants Programme Established

Family Action's Open Doors Grants Programme provides cash grants alongside intensive support to recipients provided by a number of partner organisations. The programme is funded by the LankellyChase Foundation and administered by Family Action.

Family Action Establishes Training and Consultancy Business

Family Action's Training and Consultancy Services draw on its long history and depth of practical experience to help all organisations working with, supporting or employing vulnerable families and individuals achieve the vision of 'Stronger Families'.


The first WellFamily service was set up in Hackney with three years' funding from the Department of Health. In late 1996 FWA received funding for a further four pilot services from the National Lottery Charities Board.

Building Bridges Established

The Building Bridges service was established in 1999 and is still delivered by Family Action today. Building Bridges provides on-going and preventative home based support for parents experiencing mental health problems, addressing their wider social needs and co-ordinating support for the family and children.

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