Caritas Care

Our 90 Years

Creating chances, choices & opportunities for people
to live the best lives they can.

Call: 01772 732313

Founding Ethos

Caritas Care today offers a diverse range of projects and services to children and adults of all faiths and none across the North West to help people to lead better lives.

The charity started its life as the social welfare arm of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancaster, and later developed into an independent charity.

Our work today continues to be inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, our founding ethos, which values the dignity, freedom, independence and worth of every person and community, seeking justice and equality to promote the wellbeing and flourishing of every member of our human family.

Today these principles and values of social action are alive in all our work, in services and projects which have adapted to respond to the changing needs of our society.

Our History

Caritas Care has a long history as a charity providing care and support to children families and communities, although we have been known by a number of different names over the years which reflect the changing times. While our founding ethos and values remain constant, our services keep on adapting to meet the needs of society.

A plaque in the grounds of the Head Offices of Caritas Care in Preston commemorates 100 years of child welfare work. This link traces our roots back to 1897,when a group of local philanthropic Catholics raised enough money to open a boy’s home, St Vincent’s, in response to the appalling conditions that they saw around them, and which children in poverty faced in Victorian times.

It was in 1934 that the charity was first established as the Lancaster Diocesan Protection and Rescue Society, the social welfare arm of the Catholic Diocese of Lancaster. Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, the charity provided care and support to children in need in language we would recognise today: ‘To make adequate provision for the needs of those children who, owing to home conditions, have little or no chance of getting a fair start in life.’ The Society ran two homes in Preston, St Margaret’s Hostel, and St Teresa’s Home, and in 1934 was approved as an adoption agency. By 1956, the move away from large scale children’s homes saw the closure of St Vincent’s, and the opening of two smaller homes, one of which remains today as the Head Office of our charity in Tulketh Rd. From time to time, we still have visits from former residents, who come to look round what used to be their home!

In 1981, the charity incorporated and changed its name to The Lancaster Diocesan Catholic Children’s Society, and developed a range of new community services, including a pastoral service to deaf people, and a day service for people with learning disabilities. Although our work with children and in adoption remained vitally important, the move towards more community based activities led to a further name change in 1987 to Catholic Caring Services to Children and Communities, shortened later to Catholic Caring Services.

Our work continued to grow and diversify, with the setting up of the Foster Care service in 1998, and the further expansion of our projects, learning disability and advocacy work into the wide range of services we now offer. The charity remained allied to the Diocese of Lancaster until 2009, when it became fully independent and changed its name to Caritas Care. Our work today continues to be inspired by the same values that drove those who, in different times, raised money to help children who were starving and homeless; our belief in the value of every person and community, and commitment to challenging injustice.


Preston Catholic Children’s Rescue and Protection Society established a Catholic orphanage/poor law school in the town – at the time Queen Victoria was on the throne.


Nazareth House established in Lancaster
1902 Education Act


Fulwood working boys hostel opened – accommodated up to 30 boys
1913 Mental Deficiency Act


John Reynolds home opened in St Anne’s – this was a convalescent home for 13 children


The Diocese of Lancaster was established and assumed responsibility for Nazareth House, the Sacred Heart Convent and in 1925 purchased an additional property on Stephenson Terrace in Fulwood to extend Fulwood Boys Hostel
1926 Adoption Act


St Teresa’s Home and St Margaret’s Hostel in Ribbleton ‘helped’ 200 girls during that year.


Brettargh Holt was established in Kendal and Adoption Agency status was granted to the Lancaster Diocesan Protection and Rescue society

1948 Children Act


Cannon O’Neill was appointed as the 2nd Administrator and reminded in post for 25 years


St Vincent’s closed – when the young people who still lived there moved to 218 Tulketh Rd


218 Tulketh Rd ceased to operate as a boy’s home and became  the office base for The Rescue Society
1959 Mental health Act
1967 Social Services departments were established


Wellington Rd opened as a Children’s Home


Fr Turner appointed as the 3rd Administrator


Fr Gibson quickly succeeded by Fr Elder were appointed as Administrators


Catholic Caring Services was established – incorporating the Rescue Society and at the same time introduced a range of activities for adults with disabilities.


Fr Woods appointed as Director and a Deputy Director post established the following year such was the scale of the services being provided.
1989 Children's Act
1990 – NHS and Community Care Act


Jim Cullen appointed as Director and was the first layperson to assume this role.
1993 – Charities Act

1997 - 2000

First strategic plan for the charity was launched


Foster care service established and at the same time our learning disability and community work expanded


Amanda Forshaw appointed as CEO – The first non-Catholic leader since the Charity was established.


Susan Swarbrick appointed as CEO and I feel privileged to be leading our Charity in this 90th year of our existence.
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