Founded in 1967 by Lord Longford to address the needs of young people who were involved in drug misuse in the West End of London, New Horizon Youth Centre continues today to work with the most vulnerable and at risk young people.
During those five decades the centre has continued to provide a safe space for young people experiencing homelessness in the capital, whether that was in our original base in Covent Garden or through our existing home in Somers Town, Kings Cross. The centre has always reflected the age-old movement of young people to London to both escape what they left behind and to find work, safety and new opportunities. Back in the 1980s it was young people from Ireland and Scotland who made up many of the centre’s users. Today the same factors draw in young people from all over the world.
The early days of the centre are chronicled in Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief and describe the time immediately before Jon Snow was hired as the first ever Director of the Centre. This would be the start of the 50 years of Jon’s involvement including 20 years as our Chair and more recently as our Patron.
Although a lot has changed over that time, more than 50 years later the work of the centre is as necessary as ever. In response to this we have steadily grown from a team of three when the centre first opened to a now diverse and multi-disciplined team of 45, operating seven days a week. If housing is the hook for young people to come to New Horizon then it is the holistic offer available under one roof that keeps them coming back, offering the stability, safety and support they need to start getting their lives back on track.
“At last we have the real prospect of reducing homelessness amongst these vulnerable
Patron, New Horizon Youth Centre
In the photo gallery below we look back at some of the key moments and visits in our history.