Toby’s Story

Lighthouse Pedagogy Trust is a charity in London that creates children’s homes where children can thrive.

LandAid gave a grant to the trust to refurbish their children’s home to a standard where it now feels like a comfortable home for many.

Date published



Lauren Doy, Communications & Engagement Manager

One of the residents, Toby, moved into the children’s home in March, a month after it had opened. He had experienced a lot of change. Toby had been moved from his long-term foster family where he had been living with a sibling, into a number of emergency homes, before arriving at the home. Toby’s social worker plus his support officer (who he had good relationships with) also left Toby’s world for various reasons, so his only consistent place was school.

Lighthouse Pedagogy Trust invested a lot of their time over the first few months simply getting to know Toby – they discovered a boy who loves to make people laugh, who thrives with attention, nurture and care and who was slowly but surely working out his identity. They learnt that school was the safest space for Toby to express his complex emotions as they were the relationships that were strongest and most familiar – this meant that the school committed to Toby as best they could but also expressed concerns at being able to support his education.

The trust recognised that an environment that was hands on and allowed for creativity would best suit Toby’s learning style. As a result, they were able to work with Toby’s wider network of adults and pull together a curriculum based on core subjects plus enrichment opportunities with a 1-2-1 tutor. This has enabled Toby to build up the confidence and self-esteem to access a school environment again, and the friendships and other relationships he was able to make.

The home has given Toby a place of safety, warmth and love

Understandably, Toby was a little unsure of what to expect before moving in as he had never lived in a children’s home before. Moving from one or two carers to a group of 14 adults and other unknown children is an extremely daunting space to be in.

However, his decorated his room as he wished contributed to his feelings of security and belonging. He has been able to use all the spaces for their different purposes – he enjoys hanging out in the kitchen, playing games in the lounge with the other children, reading with his tutor in the learning room and relaxing in his bedroom.

Without the LandAid grant, it would not have been possible to refurbish the house to such a high quality and create such a homely environment.

We are delighted that the building has been completed to such a high standard and our children are enjoying living in a warm and caring home. It was important to us that we created a space that felt loved, homely and calming, with a layout that encouraged a sense of safety, opportunities for play, creativity and shared activities with others. By following our key principles, we have been able to provide a sensitively designed therapeutic and learning environment for children. Importantly, the home is also eco-friendly through the fixtures, fittings and materials we have chosen. We are paving the way in the design of children’s homes and look forward to setting up more homes in the future.
Emmanuel Akpan-Inwang, Director of Lighthouse Pedagogy Trust