St. Michael’s Fellowship was founded in 1903 by philanthropist Agnes Parr, "to provide shelter, moral guidance and training to single mothers of good family".
Over the past 110 years, certain characteristics and principles have remained constant: the aim to create ‘a home not an institution’; the desire that a baby, if possible, should remain with the mother (or father, today); an independence of spirit in its governing body; and a deep commitment, sometimes of 40 years, for those associated with the charity.
The secret of our longevity is adaptability – as the years have changed, we have evolved to meet the needs of our clients. As an independent organisation St. Michael’s has been able to assimilate new legal frameworks, different demands from local authorities, and the changing perceptions of society.
One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is our child-focused approach, and commitment to keeping families together, wherever this is possible and in the best interests of the child. In the early 1900s, when society placed importance on the ‘rescuing’ of single mothers, often at the expense of contact with her child, St. Michael’s believed in keeping mother and child together where possible, and worked to find training and development opportunities for mothers so that they might sustainably support their child.
Today, St. Michael’s maintains an innovative approach to social work, and believes in the capacity of parents we work with for positive change. We remain committed to finding development opportunities for parents, from AQA qualifications delivered through our support groups to training and work experience in the creative industries to courses and support in learning practical parenting skills.