Supporting the children of Police Officers goes back many years, to when the Northern Police Orphanage first opened in 1898. It was founded by Catherine Gurney for the care and welfare of Northern Police Force children who had lost one or both parents.
In 1898 the orphanage opened, and over the next six decades more than 600 children spent all or part of their childhood there. Costs were funded by thousands of Serving Police Officers who made weekly donations from their pay. Other gifts and donations were received from well-wishers across the north of England and further afield.
The Orphanage closed in 1954 due to a reduction in the number of children seeking admission but The Trust still enjoys a friendship with many of the original St George's House 'Old Boys and Girls' and although the last formal reunion was in 2018 many of the “Old Boys and Girls” still visit Harrogate each year for informal get togethers.
In 1954 on the closure of the Orphanage the two trusts were formed, the St George’s Fund and the Northern Police Orphans Trust, both designed to provide financial grants to the children of Police Officers. The original purpose of the St George’s Fund was to provide grants for “support, maintenance, education and advancement in life”, until a young person left full time education (up to and including Further and Higher education).
This is very similar to how it operates today. The Northern Police Orphans Trust provided grants to men and women over the age of 19 who had lost a Police Officer parent but who were unable to earn their own living because of having special needs.
In 2006 the two charities merged, creating the St George’s Police Trust. Both the Fund and Trust had shared similar aims and so merging enabled the beneficiary base to be widened and for the costs to be reduced.
The Charity was renamed St George's Police Children Trust in 2012 and continues to support Police Families by helping to ease the financial pressures of bringing up children in the face of life-changing circumstances.
The charity has always sought to ensure that it evolves to reflect the changing character and nature of modern policing, and in 2018 it made significant changes to its financial benefit package in order to expand the financial support offered by the Trust. These changes included New Beneficiary Grants, Driving Lesson Grants and Child Counselling Grants and Partner Cover. The Charity provides cover for the children of police officers who have died both on and off duty, or where the serving police donor has taken early medical retirement.
In 2021 in a new and significant step forward for the Charity, the Trust took the decision to introduce two new Grants to support the mental health and wellbeing of the children of police officers who are current donors to the charity. This was the first time that the children of serving officers could access financial help from St George’s, and demonstrates the Trust’s aspiration to ensure that it is truly reflective of the challenges of modern policing and fully supports the children of police officers in the 21st century who donate to the charity, no matter what their situation and circumstances are.