Our history

Langley House Trust was founded by a group of Christian men and women who were passionate about changing the lives of men leaving prison.

Our founders, ‘Team K’, sought to buy Langley House as the first project in which to house and support men coming from prison. They successfully registered the name in 1958 but got gazumped in the house purchase!

Black and white picture of Elderfield, Langley's first project. The house is covered in ivy and decorative trees and the previous owner of Elderfield, is pictured wearing a dark outfit and hat, looking towards the camera

Langley’s first project, Elderfield

The name stayed and we opened our first project, Elderfield in Winchester, in 1959. John Dodd, a former prisoner of war and a charismatic soldier, was Langley’s first Director General (modern day CEO).

The desperation that our founders and John Dodd wanted to address was typified by one man who set fire to a curtain in a cafe, just so that he could be re-arrested and go back to prison. For him, prison was ‘safer’ than the outside world.

 

Since opening our doors, we have housed and supported thousands of people – both men and women – helping them to live crime-free.

We are proud of our Christian heritage and are built on firm Christian principles and foundations. However, our services are for people of any faith or no faith.

See the timeline below for key dates in our history.

Timeline

1958

On 1st September Langley was registered at the Charity Commission.

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1959

1959

In June, our first project Elderfield (formerly a private hotel) was opened.

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1961

1961

In June, thanks to the generosity of a local benefactor, a second project, Box Tree Cottage, was purchased in Bradford.

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1962

In August, assistance from the Home Mission Department of the Methodist Church led to the opening of our third project, the Chalet, in Reading. (Sadly after many years of successful service, this project closed in 2007.)

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1963

1963

Sponsorship from the local Council of Churches led to the opening of our fourth project, the Knole, in Cheltenham.

In November, John Dodd (first General Secretary of the Trust) made a radio broadcast as part of the ‘People Today’ series. This year he also appeared on the TV programme ‘This is Your Life’, gaining valuable national publicity for our cause.

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1964

1964

As a result of collaboration with The Dorset & Bournemouth Discharged Prisoners’ Aid Society, the Trust’s fifth project, Langdon House, opened in Poole.

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1965

1965

In October, as a result of partnership working with local group, Springboard, our sixth project, The Shrubbery, opened in Rochester.

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1966

The Home Office made its first official grant to the Trust and closer links were established with Probation and Aftercare Services.

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1967

1967

After extensive fundraising in the locality, a seventh project, Longcroft, opened its doors in Lancaster.

In April of this year, the actor Jack Warner (Dixon of Dock Green) made a radio appeal on ‘The Week’s Good Cause’.

In November, an eighth project, Murray Lodge, was opened in Coventry by the Right Hon Roy Jenkins MP.

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1968

John Dodd was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthdays Honours list.

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1969

1969

The Home Mission Department of the Methodist Church bought Langley’s ninth project, Wing Grange, in Rutland and leased it rent-free to the Trust. (Sadly, after many years of successful service,this project closed in 2013.)

In March of this year John Dodd made another BBC appeal.

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1971

Wallace House (named after Jack Wallace, Chair of Team K and Langley Trustee) was opened as an annexe to Murray Lodge and served a number of roles.

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1973

1973

Hanby House (now closed) was opened by the Bishop of Leicester.

Langley took over the running of House of St. Martin (from the St. Martin in the Fields Social Services Unit, London) and opened it as a working community offering horticultural and IT training.

Also in this year, HRH Princess Alexandra visited Forncett Grange which had opened in 1970 and spoke warmly of Langley’s Christian basis. (This project closed in the early 1980s.)

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1982

1982

Ashdene in Wakefield, which had opened in 1980, was leased from Headrow Housing Group and opened as a ‘Town Project’.

In April of this year John Dodd officially retired as General Secretary but became a Trustee and continued to promote the work of Langley until his death on 11th January 1987.

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1983

1983

As a result of partnership working with Manchester & Salford Methodist Mission, Chatterton Hey opened as a Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Elderfield.

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1992

Fairhavens in Gateshead was taken over and operated by Langley but closed in 1993. Bond Street, a move-on facility for Chatterton Hey also operated for a short time in the 1990s but subsequently closed.

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1993

1993

John Adams was appointed as Chief Executive, taking over from Anthony Richards.

A new logo for the Trust was designed based on its initials.

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1996

The Shrubbery’s Cottage was converted from staff use into move-on accommodation.

In June, Peniel Cottage was opened in Coventry to provide move-on accommodation for Murray Lodge residents.

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1997

Clevedon Square opened in Cheltenham as a joint venture between Gloucestershire County Council and Langley to provide move-on accommodation for the Knole (this is now achieved by a different means.)

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1998

1998

The first of three houses was purchased to form a cluster of resettlement housing to be known as the Bedford Project.

The Trust celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a number of events, including a special service at Coventry Cathedral.

The Trust had approximately 200 bedspaces available for residents (we now have over twice that number).

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1999

In June, the Rothera Project, a new four bed women’s project in Bradford, opened its doors, thanks to the hard work of staff from Box Tree Cottage and Ashdene and ran until 2014.

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2000

On 3rd February, Langley became a Registered Social Landlord.

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2003

Steve Robinson was appointed new Chief Executive as successor to John Adams after an interim period during which Tracy Wild was Acting Chief Executive.

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2005

2005

The Torbay Project (formerly Torbay Churches Homeless Trust) merged with Langley, becoming its then 16th and largest project.

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2006

2006

Park View, a Fresh Start Project in Fleetwood, became part of the Trust.

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2007-2008

2007-2008

A new logo was commissioned and launched to coincide with the Trust’s 50th Anniversary.

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2012

2012

In February 2012, Stepping Stones, a London-based charity, merged with Langley and the Trust started to deliver a service in London, achieving a long-held ambition of the Trustees.

In March, with funding from Crisis, Langley started a Private Rented Sector housing scheme in Luton, targeting priority and prolific offenders.

In August, Langley took over Walker House in Rochdale (now Tekoa House), a homeless hostel, providing vital accommodation for homeless people in the area.

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2013

2013

In October 2013, Langley merged with Kainos Community to expand its community offender services into prison, running the ‘Challenge to Change’ prisons in a number of prisons across the country.

Tracy Wild was appointed as Langley’s Chief Executive, replacing Steve Robinson.

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2015

2015

Langley won the Laing Buisson Risk Management Award.

Langley launched its first ‘Pathways’ programme to help clients find routes out of crime into employment, skills and training. Two subsequent Pathways programmes were launched in 2016, helping to address attitudes, thinking and behaviour and enabling clients to develop their own businesses.

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2017

2017

For the fourth year running, Langley was shortlisted for Charity of the Year in the Charity Times Awards.

Langley was also shortlisted for Charity of the Year with the Third Sector Awards and secured a runner up in Housing Heroes Awards.