Funding a creative therapy centre for 21st century foundlings

Alex Williamson | 14.01.15

Work was well underway at the part-LandAid-funded Pears Pavilion at Coram HQ when we visited yesterday.

We were joined by outgoing Chairman Robin Broadhurst and colleagues from LandAid Foundation Partners Royal Bank of Scotland and Skanska.

Dr Carol Homden, Coram CEO, was our guide for the showcase visit, while Terry Woodham, contracts manager at Thomas Sinden, talked us through the construction of the new building.  

Coram's offices are a stone's throw from the Foundling Museum, which tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, London's first home to abandoned children. The hospital was founded by philanthropic pioneer Thomas Coram in the 18th century, and included artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel among its notable benefactors.

Things have changed a lot since then, but the issues affecting "exposed and deserted young children" have not. Abandonment doesn't just mean homelessness - children and young people loved by their parents but failed by society and its institutions often feel abandoned as well.

Detailing the aims of the charity and purpose of the building Carol said, "We have a duty to equip children for the world they live in, not the world we wished they live in."

This means providing support and shelter to at-risk, trafficked or homeless children, and helping parents from disadvantaged backgrounds give their children the stable upbringing they deserve.

Therapy through music and art were at the heart of the original Foundling Hospital's work. The Pear's Pavilion, as a Centre for Creative Therapies, will continue to develop this specialist work.

A LandAid grant of £50,000 to create a purpose-built Youth Zone means Coram will be able to give emotionally vulnerable young people over the age of 14 one-to-one creative therapy. 

LandAid also brokered pro bono advice for Coram from architecture firm LDA, who are helping to landscape the area around the pavilion to make it a fun and interactive playground.

The centre will officially open in March 2015, and we cannot wait to see it.