Cambridge House began life in 1889 as a lay settlement to support and develop the activities of the Trinity College Mission (which emerged from Cambridge University Trinity College) in its work to combat the effects of poverty and deprivation in the poorest parts of South London. The organisation formed part of the Settlement Movement.
By 1897 Cambridge University as a whole was involved in the work. University graduates and undergraduates lived at Cambridge House and undertook voluntary work in the local community. Three years later women's settlement (Talbot) was set up in the nearby premises with similar philanthropic aims; albeit focused on the specific needs of women and children. The two settlements worked in close collaboration until 1972, when they amalgamated to form Cambridge House and Talbot.
Today Cambridge House is a multi-purpose voluntary organisation, registered as a charity and as a company limited by guarantee.
Cambridge House and Talbot have been active in establishing a number of innovative and unique schemes to assist residents and local communities in Southwark:
Setting up the first free legal advice centre. Today know as Cambridge House Law Centre.
Opening the first Labour Exchange as a response to mass unemployment.
Provision of skills workshops for unemployed people.
Offering the first full time professionally staffed law centre.
The setting up of a day nursery, club and advice centre at Talbot for homeless West Indian women and children.
Establishing the first Adult Literacy Scheme which lead to the National Right to Read Campaign for adult learners.
Engaging community development workers to support community self–help.
The setting up of the first Southwark youth club for children with learning difficulties.
Establishment of Camberwell Citizen Advocacy Project which was the first of its kind in Inner London.
The opening of the Opportunity Group, an integrated playgroup for under fives with and without disabilities (now called Butterfly Nursery).
Setting up of the Independent Advocacy Service as the borough-wide advocacy service for the users of the new Community Care legislation.
Opening an after-schools club for children with learning difficulties within the Only Connect Project.
Establishment of the Walworth Triangle Forum, a network of community, faith and local voluntary sector groups promoting community-based neighbourhood regeneration.
Becoming a national award holder for the Mental Health Foundation through the work of our People to People project.
Founding trustee and first chair of Southwark Action for Voluntary Organisations, a organisation promoting the interests and developing the capacity of the local community and voluntary sectors in Southwark.
Collaborating with Southwark College to provide adult education provision and securing a contract to run Learn-easy, a basic skills and ICT project for residents living in the Aylesbury Estate area.
Launch of Step Ahead volunteering initiative.
Promoting local community development by securing funding to employ two Neighbourhood Community Development Workers for Walworth and Camberwell.
Re-organising of the existing structure to ensure future growth and development.
Securing of Rank Foundation funding to train a local person as a Youth Worker over five years, Butterfly nursery becomes a full day care service and Debt Advice sessions are provided with our City supporters MacFarlane’s solicitors.
Innovative education work with young people on Tolerance and Diversity-IDK 050607. The Law Centre expands to provide Community Care Law.
One of only 7 pilot IMCA services for Department of Health. Securing of Community Care Law contract. Receiving 'highly commended' for IDK in Community Care Magazine Award.
Begin to provide IMCA services in 14 London boroughs namely: Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Ealing, Greenwich, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Westminster.
Trustees decide to go ahed with seeking funding for the Re-Development of the Cambridge House buildings at 131 Camberwell Road.
Publication of the second 19+ Book "Soft Fish, Running Ponies & The Six Million Dollar Man". Selected as the preffered organisation to be the host for the Southwark LINk.
Nationwide screening of the award winning IDK video on Community Channel TV.
Celebrate Cambridge House's 120th year at the House of Lords.
Appointment of Orbell Associates at Project Managers and Quantity Surveyors for the Re-Development Project.
Appointment of Pollard Tomas Edwards Architects as architects for the Re-Development Project.
CSR partners Broadgate Estates, Knightsbridge Guarding and Eurotech Monitoring won the Lord Mayors Dragon Awards (Social Inclusion category)