Our story

Caudwell Children was founded in 2000 to improve the lives of disabled children.

Started in 2000, the vision for Caudwell Children came from the successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, John Caudwell (Phones 4 U, Dextra, 20:20 etc), and began by supporting children and families living within a 50-mile radius of the corporate headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent.

Trudi Beswick, a director in the business, personally visited each family in the evenings and weekends to assess the most efficient way that the charity could help, and by garnering the support of the 8,000 Group employees as well as suppliers and customers, raised the funds needed to deliver services to a growing number of beneficiaries.

As the need for this unique kind of support grew, the charity organically expanded to the surrounding regions. The support provided by the employees, suppliers and customers in those early years provided a vital platform from which to relaunch the charity once the business was sold in 2007 and it had to ‘stand on its own two feet’ for the first time.

At this point, with the network of support associated with being a part of a multinational corporate now gone, the charity team expanded and increased the volume of community and corporate fundraising activity across the country.

Since then Caudwell Children has grown exponentially year-on-year, supporting on average an additional 2,000 new children each year.

The charity is now widely recognised as one of the fastest growing children’s charities in the UK and the second largest independent provider of specialist equipment.

Following the successful sale of his family business, entrepreneur and philanthropist John Caudwell committed to a long-term partnership with the charity. Frustrated with the lack of transparency from other charities, Mr Caudwell agreed to cover the annual management and administration costs of the charity through a single donation; therefore providing complete transparency to fellow benefactors.

Due to the unique association with the Caudwell Family, the charity can boast that 100% of direct donations are used to directly support disabled children.

In addition to this, the charity team work closely with suppliers to negotiate the best possible deals, ensuring each charitable £1 is doubled to provide at least £2 worth of support. In recent years Caudwell Children has been redefined as the ‘national charity with a local heart’, maintaining its roots within local communities and enjoying life-long relationships with many of its thousands of beneficiaries. 

The charity’s national reach would not be possible without the support of a network of dedicated volunteers.

The 53 (and growing) strong team of full-time staff are supported by over 150 regular administration volunteers, while much of the community outreach and fundraising is conducted by the 2,000 dedicated volunteers spread out across the UK. Throughout the charity’s history, it has been constantly reviewing service delivery to ensure the most efficient and effective level of support for families. 

In 2012 the charity officially launched their six Core Projects, devised after a decade of learning about the needs of families with disabled children and designed to fill the gap left by statutory services and other charities. The Core Projects consist of Family Support Services, Equipment, Treatment, Therapy, Autism, and Sports Equipment.

As Caudwell Children continues its annual growth and plans for greater expansion and development unfold, the driving inspiration for its initial formation remain as important as it did in 2000.

Driven from the chief executive and the board of trustees, Caudwell Children remain passionate about making a real difference to the lives of individual disabled children. Passionate, positive and practical, the charity team are motivated to improve the lives of the estimated 770,000 disabled children in the UK living, starting with the 400,000 living on or below the poverty line.

Still deemed a relatively young charity, Caudwell Children’s future is bright, but one thing is confirmed: that a country where disabled children and their families have nowhere to turn is history.

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