2016 marks the 150th Birthday of Barnardos children’s charity. Founded by Thomas Barnardo in 1866 in Stepney, London. Barnardo is famous for transforming the lives of around 60,000 destitute boys and girls. Reading his life story written by his personal secretary, A.E. Williams I was intrigued by a prophecy Barnardo made of what would happen to his charity if it were ever to abandon the Biblical foundations on which he had so carefully built it. Not knowing anything about modern-day Barnardos I was horrified to discover Dr Barnardos worst nightmare was unfolding in my own lifetime. A little background would be helpful to appreciate just how far those Biblical foundations have been recklessly abandoned.
Dr Barnardo was known to all his staff as “The Director”, he worked extremely long hours which undoubtedly shortened his life. He was meticulous about all aspects of the charity named after him. In fact, Barnardo was so involved in his philanthropy that one could say he micromanaged to a fault, demanding total commitment from his Staff. Barnardo operated the financial side with the utmost transparency and made time to acknowledge every donation no matter how small. Quickly gaining the absolute trust of many elite friends and supporters such as Lord Shaftesbury.

Barnardo would train his staff up with the long-term goal of them carrying on his vision in the spirit of its Founder and on the Godly principles he had laid down. Williams telling us “Dr Barnardo always regarded his work on behalf of destitute children as a missionary enterprise and its spiritual character as fundamental.”

Barnardo was acutely aware of employing the right staff,  “I think that the most important part of my life’s work has not been so much even the children to whom I have been of help, but the numbers of workers who have been gradually trained to fill positions of responsibility, and to act with judgement and discretion.”

Williams wrote in his Biography of the Doctor, “That Dr Barnardo should put his work with his staff before his work for the children may, at first sight, seem a surprising statement, until one realises that he had in view not merely the continuity of the work, but its continuance in the spirit of its Founder, and on the lines he had laid down.”

Williams writes about the fastidious auditioning of workers, “In selecting his staff, especially those who were to have the care of his children, he sought earnestly to secure the services of men and women possessed not only of the necessary ability, and a sympathetic nature but able to produce reliable evidence of Christian character.”

Williams was in sympathy adding, “In Barnardo’s judgement, the spiritual character of his work was fundamental. He was firmly convinced that any attempt to reconstruct human lives without a spiritual basis was to build on a foundation of sand. He is not alone in that contention.”
Barnardo himself prophesied “If the spiritual side of our work were ever to fall into abeyance, if mere philanthropy were to swallow up Gospel teaching; if Christ’s Name and the power of His Word were to fall into the background, I should feel that my strength had indeed gone and that this could be my life-work no longer. I have not been without abundant proof that, all else being equal, child-like confidence in the living God on the part of every servant of Christ is, and must ever be, the keystone of the arch by which all is sustained, and without which miserable failure in life and work can alone result.”

Williams describes that after much prayer Barnardo was led to concentrate on the words of Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.”

Forward to today and Barnardos has long gotten rid of all the children’s homes that made the charity world famous, In fact, it is unrecognisable from the strict Christian vision that Barnardo himself strived to lay down. The present-day Chief Executive is a Muslim! This would have horrified Barnardo. Javed Khan is not only far from the Christian prerequisite that Barnardo would employ but he is also not traditional in his Muslim views – advocating same-sex adoption for example. A simple internet search of his name uncovers much more controversy than I have room for here.

Under  Khan’s leadership, Barnardos accepted £1900 from Milton Keynes Community Foundation, an organisation that facilitates the destruction of 34 children in the womb per week via their abortion facility at Acorn House on Midsummer Boulevard in the centre of Milton Keynes, UK. MK Community Foundation under the leadership of Julia Anne Upton MBE who retired in August this year has also given many thousands of pounds to Brook, a charity that hands out abortion referrals to young mothers and freely distributes contraceptives which cause early abortions. I wonder what Barnardo would think of the Queen giving Julia Anne Upton an MBE! Upton’s successor Ian Revell has to date shown no evidence of ending MK Community Foundations facilitating child killing nor ceasing its prolific anti-life funding despite my pleadings with him.

​You may think that this is a stage of unfortunate misjudgement in Barnardos history. But it is not. They are merely the latest scandals on Barnardos post-Christian timeline and stepping back five years to 2011 when Sir Martin Narey was CEO shows that Barnardos have not learnt any lessons from their manifold mistakes. Sir Martin was Governor at both Frankland Maximum Security Prison and Deerbolt Borstal for young offenders when known paedophile Neville Husband was employed as a senior officer at Frankland and seconded as an officer at Deerbolt. Husband had been forced to leave Medomsley Detention Centre for young offenders after torturing and raping boys. Various reports state Martin Narey either ignored or was grossly negligent by failing to observe Husband’s employment records and that he had been arrested in 1967 whilst at Portland young offenders centre for the illegal importation of homosexual pornography. Husband continued to import this pornography when he was moved to Medomsley Detention Centre. ​
Neville Husband worked in the prison service for 27 years before going on to become an ordained Minister with the United Reformed Church where he carried on his child abuse. He was finally arrested and police found sex toys and 5,000 teenage gay sex images and videos on his computers. He died of natural causes in 2010.

Further back in 2004 at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Weir criticised Barnardo’s management for allowing unqualified people to care for children after Margaret Hewitt and Robert Anderson were found guilty of forcing a brother and sister to have sex and 70 other horrific assaults on eight children. The Judge accused Barnardos charity of “incompetence and neglect”.
Let this be a warning to other Christian Charities that are recruiting or thinking of discarding their Christian foundations!

I’ll close with timely words from Barnardo himself, “My heart is too heavy for words”.