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Our history

Catch22's history starts in 1788 with the formation of The Philanthropic Society, who aimed to 'unite the spirit of charity with the principles of trade' - our original definition of a 'social business'.

Catch22’s history starts in 1788 with the formation of The Philanthropic Society, who aimed to ‘unite the spirit of charity with the principles of trade’ – our original definition of a ‘social business’. The Royal Philanthropic Society formed when a group met in a coffee house to discuss the homeless children they saw begging and stealing on the streets. They answered this challenge by opening homes where children in need were trained by skilled tradesmen.

We see the impact of those ideas today, in our children’s homes and in our apprenticeship levy.

We may also have been the first to measure impact, too; our archives show that by 1848 1,500 children had been helped and only 1 in 20 committed further offences.

Further reading