changing children's lives
A note from Deirdre Pearson, our Chief Executive.
It’s been my pleasure to be Chief Exec of Talbot House Trust since 2013, it’s been challenging sometimes but remains extremely rewarding. The passion I feel for this organisation is immense, we really do change children’s lives. Having worked in the third sector for several decades I feel lucky to be able to say that I work with children for the first time in my career. As the daughter and the mother of school teachers, it feels like a good fit.
Talbot House had been through a period of hardship prior to my appointment and government policy coupled with national austerity meant that admissions were down and the organisation was in financial trouble. I had my work cut out but within a year we were on firmer ground and able to help more children achieve their best. For many years we were seen as a naughty boy’s school and that was something I was desperate to change. From inside of the organisation, I could see that we had a unique way of freeing the potential in children and nurturing their skills and gifts to help them to succeed in life. We just hadn’t been great at letting others see that in the past. We set about improving relations with local authorities and trying to change the perception of Talbot House Trust. Now our reputation is very good and instead of being seen as the end of the road, the last option for some of our children, we are being chosen first. Chosen by parents, chosen by the local authorities (nationally) and by children themselves. The flexibility we can offer to be able to meet the need of every child, according to their prescribed plans, is now speaking for itself. Find out more about the school and how we do that on our school page.
Talbot House had been a residential school in the seventies right up until the building we were previously in, in Seghill burned down over a weekend. That was a tale to tell, they say the staff came in on Monday morning to the ashes and in true Talbot House style, they organised temporary accommodation on site in the form of porta cabins, and carried on while it was rebuilt. After that though residential schooling was eventually converted to day school places only and in 1999 the organisation moved into Walbottle on the site we still occupy. In 2010 it was decided that a separate children’s home would be the next development, and in 2012 Chadersley took its first resident. The first floor of one wing of our building houses the home, so it is self-contained and has the advantage of our large semi-rural site. Today we have 5 rooms for children and 2 for overnight staff. The home has a lovely atmosphere and our children tell us that they feel safe and happy there. It has been a privilege to see the children grow into adults over the years, and although sad to say goodbye, it gives me great pleasure to see them move on with life as well-rounded human beings and reach their full potential. I am proud of each one. Have a look at our Children’s Home page, there are some great photos there.
Finally, thank you to the team who make this all possible, when I started I was told that Talbot House was a family and always had been. Over the years I have come to realise that we are much more than that, we are a great team, a team who work hard to push forward against the odds sometimes. In that I am not just referring to staff, but to our parents, staff, local authority partners, social workers, placements officers, local schools but most of all our children. Often misunderstood in the past, now thriving.
Jo Reiling - Head of Development and Deputy Chief Executive
Christine Smiles - Head Teacher
Sophie Robinson - Residential Home Manager
About the Trust
Established in 1974, we are a registered charity who exist to improve the lives of disadvantaged children. We have a non maintained special school and a children's home on our site. The trust's charitable aims and expansion plans can be found on our page, "About the Trust", click below to read more about us.
David Everitt Award Winner 2020
Reading in Nurture
Hair and Beauty Salon
Our school is registered for up to 60 children age 5 to 18, who have social, emotional or mental health considerations. Most of our children have an EHCP, although we do accept children on assessment placements. Within the school we have several provision areas, take a look at our page to learn more.
Chadersley Children's Home
High quality home
Set in 7 acres of grounds
Play areas and sports field
Multiple living areas
Individual Rooms for up to 5 children
All en-suite with shower
Rooms fully equipped with digital facilities
Talbot House Trust as it is now, was founded in 1974 with funds donated from an organisation called Toc H who have a rich and honourable history. The original Talbot House in Popperinge in Belgium, was set up in 1915 as a haven for all men, no matter what rank. A place where weary soldiers and officers could just be people together in camaraderie. Hence the carved plaque in our current day reception which reads:
"All rank abandon ye who enter here."
The team of social workers were inspired by the inclusive ethos and were determined to offer fellowship and sanctuary to disadvantaged young people.
Referring a child to us
Finding a new school place for your child is incredibly daunting, but you are not alone. Help is available, within your local authority, in your child's existing school and we can certainly signpost you to the right people. Most local authorities have dedicated workers who are able to advocate for family members whose child is going through assessment. Click on the button below to read more about it.
Social workers and placement officers who would like to know more about our referrals process click on the link below to read more.