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Courtesy of Coram's Fields
Captain Thomas Coram (c. 1668 – 1751) was a philanthropist who created the London Foundling Hospital to look after unwanted children in Lamb’s Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury. It is said to be the world’s first incorporated charity.
As a great philanthropist Coram was appalled by the many abandoned, homeless children living in the streets of London. On 17 October 1739 he obtained a Royal Charter granted by George II establishing a “hospital for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children.” When, in the 1920’s the hospital was relocated outside London, the land was sold to a developer who demolished the hospital building itself leaving only the single storey colonnaded Georgian buildings. Following a campaign and lengthy fundraising by local people the land was turned into London’s first public children’s playground.
The park is open all year round for children under 16 years and the facilities include; adventure play areas for under 5’s and older young people, sand and water play, a small animal area, paddling pool, three football pitches and a cafe. For 80 years, Coram’s Fields has existed solely for children and young people and ‘No Adult can enter without a child’. Their friendly on-site staff ensure that everyone can enjoy their visit.
Coram’s Fields Youth Programme is on the front line in attempting to prevent and encourage young people to resist criminality and to make more positive choices. The Youth Centre offers some outstanding facilities for young people aged 11-19 years. The centre is open Monday –Friday during term time and the school holidays. The following facilities are on offer for young people:
• A modern state-of-the-art music studio with the latest performance, recording and editing equipment and software, including a sound booth.
• The IT Suite at the youth centre has three Apple Macs and 16 PCs with a range of software including industry standard applications and tools. There is also a range of photographic and video equipment, printers, scanners and projectors. They currently offer IT sessions five days per week. The sessions range from after school/college course work sessions, open access IT, courses leading to national qualifications in IT, creative IT using Photoshop, video, music and design and specialist project work.
• There is also a Creative Art Space within the centre.
Tom’s Trust has given a grant to Coram’s Fields to pay for a Youth Worker at the Youth Centre for a year.