Founded in 1884, Toynbee Hall is a community organisation that pioneers ways to reduce poverty and disadvantage in the East End of London. They have been a powerhouse for social change for 130 years, and they believe their role is more important now than ever. With the help of nearly 400 volunteers, they deliver services to increase financial inclusion; increase access to justice; improve people’s wellbeing, opportunities and social networks. Their vision is a future without poverty.
Toynbee Hall was created in 1884 by Samuel Barnett, a Church of England vicar, and his wife Henrietta, in response to a growing realisation that enduring social change would not be achieved through the existing individualised and piecemeal approaches.
The radical vision was to create a place for future leaders to live and work as volunteers in London’s East End, bringing them face to face with poverty, and giving them the opportunity to develop practical solutions that they could take with them into national life. Many of the individuals that came to Toynbee Hall as young men and women – including Clement Attlee and William Beveridge – went on to bring about radical social change and maintain a lifelong connection with Toynbee Hall.
Today, Britain is facing another crisis of poverty as new economic, social and demographic trends undermine established solutions. It is as important as ever for Toynbee Hall to continue to identify emerging needs, pilot new responses and persuade local and national leaders to adopt them.
They have been a catalyst for social reform in the UK for 130 years, and continue to create new ways to help those who find themselves in poverty today – whatever their age or background. But they can’t do it alone. You can help them continue to support the communities and individuals who need them.