History of the Breslaff Centre
The Breslaff Centre is a registered charity (Reg. Charity No. 295666), governed by its constitution and Articles of Association;
‘The Company was established
to relieve and rehabilitate those who are suffering from mental illness or who are at risk of so suffering and to relieve children who are or may be at risk of ill-treatment or neglect by their parents or others and
to advance the education of the public with a view to developing personal responsibilities, enriching family life, enhancing personal relationships and preventing or alleviating the breakdown of marriage and family and/or social relationships.’
The Centre began functioning as a residential family unit on 3rd January 1989, undertaking assessments and therapeutic work with families referred by Local Authorities and/or by the Courts, so as to determine 'the best interest of the child.' Factors in the family's life determining the request for a placement encompassed a range of concerns, including known or suspected sexual and physical abuse, issues of alcohol and/or drug dependency, mental health concerns, and certain debilitating consequences often arising from a situation of poverty and neglect.
Since its inception the Centre has been guided by its Memorandum of Association and is governed by a Management Committee to oversee its functioning and development.
From the outset the Centre operated from its main premises at 119 Lansdowne Way, Stockwell and other premises acquired over time and so remained until relocating to smaller premises at 263 Northborough Rd, Streatham, London, SW16 4TR in 2014.
Throughout its many years of existence families from diverse backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicities and set-ups came and lived at the Centre for a minimum of 13 weeks.
The Centre retained the loyalty and commitment of its core staff for almost the entirety of its functioning and likewise of its Management Committee members. The Founder and Director, Mr Williams, remained in post throughout the Centre's direct work and development and provided an important continuity of purpose.
Throughout these years, the Breslaff Centre also undertook other projects, responding to emerging needs in the UK and abroad. As such, it established projects in Poland, from 1993 - 1996 and again in 1999 – 2000, working with conflict-fleeing refugees.
Amongst other activities the Breslaff Centre also established and ran a contact centre in one its buildings to offer a much-needed venue for parents to have supervised contact sessions with their children. For many years the Senior staff furthermore supervised social work students on placements at the Centre.
As the Centre's functioning was dependent on fees provided by Local Authorities, the impact of the government-dictated austerity measures in 2010 led to a significant reduction in the referral rate and consequent impact upon the Centre's overall financial viability.
In an effort to endure, the Centre relocated to the smaller premises in 2014 and continued to function for a further two years. However, the continued financial restraint led to a much-regretted but inevitable decision to terminate the functioning as a residential unit.
The Breslaff Centre 2016-2021
From 2016 to 2021 the Breslaff Centre's re-appraised activities were as a grant-making organisation to projects in the UK and abroad. The charity made donations to a wide-ranging number of organisations, including those working with victims of war, refugees in the UK and abroad, victims of slavery and many others, which can be viewed in the above section on Supported Projects.
In 2020, the Management Committee took the decision to wind down the charity at the end of the next financial year in 2021. The Breslaff Centre's 32 year history has been long and varied, and throughout its years of existence the Centre strove to fulfil its statement of purpose by supporting those most in need. It is hoped that its legacy will live on in the people and projects it supported throughout the years.
The Breslaff Centre 1989 - 2014
The Breslaff Centre 2014 - 2020