time and talents

Time and Talents began 1887 to help 'girls of leisure and education' to make use of their time and talents in the service of others. Developed by Minna Gollock, private secretary to Emily Kinnaird, one of the founders of the YWCA, its aim was: 'To seek through fellowship, prayer and service to bring the Spirit of Christ into every part of life'. A number of centres were set up (the first in Edinburgh in 1889). Work began in Bermondsey in the late 1890s with young women coming in from more prosperous areas. The idea of a settlement was formed, money raised and a new building opened at 187 Bermondsey Street. It hosted the classic mix of clubs, district visiting, picture: time and talents association, the old mortuary, rotherhithecampaigning (around girls' safety at work) and welfare activities. By 1920 it was a training centre for social welfare and club work. It had also set up a club at the White Hart at George Row, Dockhead, a hostel for 16 working girls (on Abbey Street 1913-1940), and a Country Holiday Fund. They also had a country cottage (Daunt 1989: 14).

Work largely focused around the needs of the young - especially at Dockhead and the Queens House along the river in Rotherhithe (1941-1953). Other work included neighbourhood work first on the Dickens Estate (1951-1960, and then just off Jamaica Road (in a three bedroomed flat in Prestwood House 1962-1980). The Dockhead club had to be closed in 1957 when it became unsafe. Bermondsey Street Settlement closed in 1961 (it had become non-residential in 1947, was not well suited to the work, and was a financial burden). Money was in short supply. The work in Bermondsey gradually withered until around 1974. Then, with new staff a range of children's and youth work and community work developed.  Time and Talents moved to its present building at the Old Mortuary (pictured) on Marychurch Street. It now has a range of programmes and clubs. These include a gardening group, yoga classes, a choral society and a local history group. It also offers a range of children's and youth services, and support groups for the over-60s and those suffering from strokes and operates a neighbourhood care scheme.

References: Daunt, M. (1989) By Peaceful Means. The story of Time and Talents 1887-1987, London: Time and Talents Association.
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