Blackfriars Settlement is a busy community organisation in London's North Southwark. Set up by volunteers back in 1887 our vision has always been to work with local people to make life better.


Our work is guided by 5 aims:

  • Supporting people to achieve their aspirations.​

  • Improve physical and mental well-being and independence for all.

  • Strengthening learning & development – both formal and informal.​

  • Boost digital inclusion.

  • Be a focal point in the community.​
72 rez Hand drawing-


We value people as individuals, with their own needs and aspirations. We listen to the needs of individuals and the community.

We believe that:

  • Everyone has the right to improve their education, wealth and happiness.

  • We are all equals and each of us own an equal share in this community. We recognise and respect difference and diversity.

  • We gain trust and respect from other people by being honest, dedicated, hardworking, friendly and supportive.

  • We encourage people in our community to join us as trustees, staff and volunteers. We are always looking for new ways to work and co-operate with other organisations.

  • To deliver an excellent service we spend time improving our skills and developing new ones.

These values inspire us in all we do and with everyone we work with. 


  • Actively search for opportunities to meet the changing needs of our community, to provide essential services, maintain our focus on the community’s needs, take our lead from our users and respond with services to meet their needs.

  • Balance and grow our budget by pro-actively generating income and developing opportunities in line with our long-term fund-raising strategy.

  • Be a vibrant centre of excellence, which will enhance the life and opportunities of everyone involved and provide unrestricted access for all.

  • Evaluate our service provision and make changes to improve the effectiveness of our work.

  • Maintain a watch on the real needs of our community, being both willing and prepared to adapt to inevitable changes.

  • Welcome the opportunity to develop our organisation as a social enterprise working successfully within a commercially realistic framework



The new Mary Ward building in Stratford East London.

In 2018, Blackfriars Settlement merged with The Mary Ward Settlement (comprising Mary Ward Centre (MWC) offering adult education, and Mary Ward Legal Centre (MWLC) offering free legal advice).

The Mary Ward Settlement Group (MWSG) is made up of the three charities which are all individually constituted but governed by an integrated board.

The board has set an ambitious strategy for the group, which plans to shift from three separate charities delivering services, to two hubs which will both deliver all our services.

MWSG is developing a new home in Stratford, Newham from 2023. Not only will this support the organisation’s sustainability by maintaining its solid financial footing, it will further strengthen the delivery of all services, as well as making these readily available in the centre of Stratford – an area of high need and little current provision.

Blackfriars Settlement will remain at its current location, providing a full range of services.

The Mary Ward Settlement group offers services which support Londoners to reach their potential and build better futures. There is a good fit between the parts of the group and natural pathways between them.



The Settlement movement of the 1880’s came from a shift in thinking about poverty and what it is that keeps people struggling. ‘Settlements’ were residential, as groups of graduates moved into an area to work with local people to bring about change. In 1887 ‘The Women’s University Settlement’ was founded by women from Girton and Newnham Colleges at Cambridge University, Lady Margaret and Somerville Colleges at Oxford University and Bedford and Royal Holloway Universities. Among them, Helen Gladstone the daughter of the Prime Minister and Octavia Hill, housing reformer and founder of the National Trust.

Helen Gladstone

Octavia Hill

Its objective was to, ‘promote the welfare of the poorer districts of London, more especially of the women and children, by devising and advancing schemes which tend to elevate them, and by giving them additional opportunities in education and recreation’.

Women from London colleges were invited to live at the Settlement rent free in exchange for their work in the community.

The Settlement was based at 44 Nelson Square. During World War II, bombs fell on the square damaging the Settlement buildings and destroying neighbouring buildings. Despite the damage, the Settlement continued its work and helped local families made homeless by bomb damage. In 1940 the Queen visited the Settlement in recognition of its war time public services.

There was a marked change in the Settlement’s focus in 1950 towards becoming a centre with more involvement from local residents. New areas of work included ex-offenders, children with learning difficulties and a workshop for older people. The Settlement changed its name in 1961 to Blackfriars Settlement as both an acknowledgement of men’s involvement and to be fully inclusive.

In 1992 Blackfriars Settlement moved into the Rushworth Street building: purpose built accommodation
that served the local people rather better than a dilapidated Georgian Town House. Youth and play moved some years later to Living Space, on Waterloo Road nearly opposite the Old Vic.

By 2005 the building on Rushworth Street was becoming dated and stories abound of buckets catching water from the flat roof and the need to clear the snow from the yard before the day’s work could begin.
So the Settlement moved once again in to rented accommodation on Great Suffolk Street while the redevelopment of the Settlement took place.

The buildings have changed over the years, but the spirit of the founding women and all the generations of Blackfriars staff, volunteers and members lives on in the work we do today.


Board members are either appointed or elected. They come from a variety of backgrounds, and have experience in different areas of work, including the law, the voluntary sector, the arts, finance and education. Whilst day to day leadership and management is delegated to the Warden of the Settlement and the senior management team, the Board holds ultimate responsibility for the Settlement’s work and actions.


To contact staff please email: info@blackfriars-settlement.org.uk


In 2018, Blackfriars Settlement merged with our long-time partner, Mary Ward Settlement (which also comprises the Mary Ward Legal Centre.)

Blackfriars Settlement remains an independently registered and constituted charity. We are governed by an integrated board, which has oversight of all three organisations.

All services

Director of Services
Liz Ranger 

PA to Liz Ranger
Eva Henry 

Positive Ageing

Tina Johnston

Befriending Officers
Crystal Baigent and Adrian Kawaguchi

Positive Ageing Officer
Sieglinde Cosias

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Adonis Christodoulou 

Project Officer
Renuka Bhakta 

All enquiries: 020 7269 6000

See Mary Ward website: marywardcentre.ac.uk/courses/ 

Or email:

Christine Cryne – Chair

Kim Duong – Treasurer
(2nd term reappointed 10/05/22)  

Eva Henry – Staff Trustee
(appointed 10/05/22) 

Filipe Martins
(appointed 17/09/2020) 

Beatriz Montoya
(2nd term reappointed 10/05/22) 

Paul Nichols
(2nd term reappointed 10/05/22 – originally co-opted in July 2020) 

Francesca Del Gudice – Student Trustee (appointed 10/05/22) 

Timothy Hucker – Student Trustee (appointed 10/05/22) 

Simone Selzer

Rachel Brain

Nadine Cartner  

Graham Collins  

James Collins 

Sally Todd  

Emma Wyatt  

Vacancy – Tutor Trustee  


We would like to thank all of our partners and funders for helping
us to provide the best possible services for our community.

Age UK Lewisham & Southwark
Better Bankside
Borough Market
Cameron Mckenna
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
Cherry Thinking London
Childwick Trust
City Bridge Trust
Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre
Community Southwark
Edward Gosling Foundation
Gail’s Bakery

Hands on London
Hasluck Charitable Trust
Hilton London Bankside
Inspiring Elephant Community Fund
Kings College Generations Together
Link Age Southwark
Living Bankside
London Borough of Southwark
London South Bank University
Mercers Charitable Foundation
Mint Street Music Festival
Nika’s Kitchen
National Lottery Community Fund

Nat West BankOld Vic
Peel Hunt
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Historic Palaces
Southbank Centre
Southwark Adult Learning
Southwark Charities
Southwark Food Action Alliance
Southwark Pensioners Centre
St George the Martyr Charity
The Globe
The Plant
Time & Talents
United St Saviour’s Charity
University of Roehampton
Young Vic

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