"I feel very lucky to have found such a wonderful and happy environment for my child” (Parent)

St Francis Family Centre (St Francis)

St Francis is based in Poplar, Tower Hamlets.  This area has the highest rate of child poverty in the country, more than double the national average.  Many of the families we work with live in crowded and dilapidated accommodation and struggle to afford basic essentials for their children.

At our family centre we work in partnership with parents to provide outstanding pre school education, giving disadvantaged children the best possible start in life.

“St Francis helped with my child and family situation when we had nowhere else to turn. Really wonderful and helpful.  Things would have been a lot worse if you were not there”

Mother of a two year old girl


Why this is needed

The most crucial stage in children’s development is their first few years of life.  Children from disadvantaged backgrounds frequently begin primary school lagging far behind their more affluent peers.  Sadly research shows that schools rarely close this gap. This means that by the time a child is just four years old their future life chances have already begun to be affected.

It is vital that disadvantaged children receive the support they need at an early stage so they can make a successful transition to school and achieve their full potential.

“I’m afraid to think of what our lives would have been like if I hadn’t found St Francis. You have given me the opportunity to not only change my life, but to give Sara a better life than I had”

Mother of Sara, aged two


How we help

We provide early years education for children from aged two.  By working with children at this young age we help them develop the cognitive, language and social skills they need to thrive.

We also recognise parents are children’s first and most important educators.  So we work with parents to develop their skills and empower them to play an active role in supporting their children’s education.  Only in this way do we ensure that:

“All children make good progress and gain valuable skills in preparation for school”

(Ofsted Inspection Report, 2022)


To complement this work we provide:

  • A toy library and book club
  • Parent workshops on healthy eating, budgeting and child development
  • Day trips and holidays (many of our families have never left inner London)
  • Presents and hampers at Christmas

Through all these services we help broaden families’ horizons, raise their aspirations and give children the tools and experiences they need to thrive.

“There is breadth and balance in the curriculum…Children are confident and self-motivated learners”

(Ofsted Inspection Report, 2022)

Prioritising those most in need

At St Francis we always prioritise places for families who are the most disadvantaged in our community.  This includes mothers who have fled domestic violence and children with complex social, emotional and behavioural issues.

“Our clients are extremely vulnerable and isolated and their involvement with your service empowers them a great deal.  We have seen vast improvements in our women’s skills set, communication and confidence.  The children who attend sessions are really thriving”

Family Worker, local domestic violence refuge


Contact details

St Francis Family Centre
34 Wade’s Place
E14 0DE

Phone: 020 7987 8257

Our Privacy Notice for this service can be downloaded here: St Francis Family Centre – Privacy Notice