We have a simple mission: to enable care leavers to fulfil their potential.
Founder Maggie Norris established The Big House in March 2013 after spending six years working to rehabilitate offenders and ex-offenders, providing intensive pastoral care and staging productions both in and out of prisons. Working with a high number of care leavers, she was shocked to discover that 40% of all prisoners under 21 have been in care. Care Leavers are one of the most vulnerable and overlooked groups in society, yet very few people know who they are, let alone the problems they face. 90,000 children in the UK are involved in the care system each year: over 62% because of abuse or neglect. Due to sustained trauma, abuse, isolation, and bullying, care leavers are four times more likely than their peers to commit suicide and are vulnerable to homelessness, teenage parenthood, underachieving, and sexual exploitation.
Award winning charity The Big House was set up to break these cycles that care leavers find themselves trapped in. Through drama and individualised long-term support we help care leavers overcome traumas experienced in childhood so they can make the complex transition from looked-after child to independent adult. To date we have delivered eight intensive 12-week projects, mounted eight full-scale theatre productions, run on-going drop-ins and social events, and established a one-to-one mentoring scheme.
“The Big House is a place for people who have nowhere to go and who feel they don’t belong. It’s like a family. It allows us to show the world we’re not just kids from care, that we have feelings and dreams like everyone else.” (t.t. 22)