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Magazine clippings, the stroy of Toc H

Our Story

Our story starts in 1915, when Reverend Phillip 'Tubby’ Clayton was sent to Poperinge in Belgium on the Ypres Salient, to set up a rest house for troops fighting in the trenches in First World War. The rest house was named Talbot House in honour of a soldier who had been killed earlier in the year.

Talbot House soon became known by its initial’s TH and then, in the radio signallers’ parlance of the day - as Toc H. It opened on 11th Dec 1915.


When Soldiers came back from the war they wanted to build on this heritage, and the values formed in the early years. Many hundreds of groups were established across the world in Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe, India, the Caribbean and Canada as well as a significant presence across Europe and particularly the UK. (The picture above is from a Toc H fundraising event in the 1930's)

Toc H was instrumental in the formation of Samaritans and the Blood Transfusion service where our local networks provided the foundation for volunteers and even funding in the early days. 

In recent times groups have closed and the Covid Pandemic accelerated group closure. As part of an organisational review, Toc H trustees committed themselves to a new model of working keeping the best of Toc H but linking it to a social enterprise model to maintain sustainability.

Our Values

Toc H values were developed in the 1930's and have been the foundation of our work since  – they form the compass that helps us navigate the world and gives our communities a frame to understand us.

We are committed to the values of:





Building the common good

Our trustees decided after a review of the threat to the organisation caused by Covid to employ a CEO with the skills and experience to develop a new vision for Toc H built on its values and long heritage but able to respond to the challenges they saw at work in their own communities. 

After a competitive interview process Paul Hackwood was appointed as CEO in September 2021 and worked with the board to develop a new vision for the organisation. Our analysis of contemporary Britain post pandemic revealed a large swathe of the country left behind from the prosperity of the last 20 years or so Toc H decided that it wanted to develop a model which addressed this.

Our strategic plan aims to develop 10 hubs across the country which provide support for local people to engage with the issues of their community but does so in ways which are sustainable for the long term. So we are engaging with local people in what are proving to be mutually enriching partnerships to develop local management committees, a sustainable local plans for their neighbourhood and a social enterprise capable of providing at least some of their financial needs and done as part of building locally based centres of common good. 

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