Did you know that the Salmon Youth Centre has been around for over 100 years? We originally started as the Cambridge Medical Mission Settlement. Below, you can read a short timeline of our history.


  • 2016 – We launch a groundbreaking speaking and listening manual called ‘Let’s Talk About’, funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The manual is a tool for youth workers, designed to help young people improve their speaking and listening skills through the medium of a radio show. It is well received by youth work organisations.
  • 2015 – We implement the ‘Theory of Change’ model as a way to clearly demonstrate the purpose and outcomes of Salmon’s work and the enormous impact it has on young people and their families. Our three areas of focus for young people are Health & Wellbeing, Community Engagement and Education & Work.
    – An independent evaluation into Salmon’s apprenticeship programme finds that Salmon’s philosophy of “sticking with people” is central to our work and “critical in helping youngsters develop resilience to challenges, which might otherwise see them overwhelmed by adversity.”
  • 2014 – Following rigorous external assessment, Salmon is awarded the PQASSO Level 2 Quality Mark (a nationally recognised quality standard for charity organisations, endorsed by the Charity Commission), in recognition for our efforts in striving towards the ‘Hallmarks of an Effective Charity’.
    – We launch a new three-year Business Plan putting forward our four strategic aims of in the areas of good quality youth work, sustainability, good governance and management, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • 2012 – We receive the ‘Investing in Volunteers’ accreditation in recognition of the quality of Salmon’s volunteer management and involvement.
  • 2011 – A research on the Salmon Youth Centre’s work by Institute of Education concludes that the Centre continues to play an exceptional and vital role as part of the local authority delivery system of youth services in Bermondsey and that most young people felt that attending Salmon had made them more confident, responsible, independent and cooperative but above all, attendance had made them more sociable.
    – Salmon like all voluntary sector youth centres faces a difficult future as spending cuts hit the sector and has already been forced to downsize radically to meet its new financial situation.
  • 2010 – Phase 2 of the building is completed in June. The centre is officially opened by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, along with three other ministers, Dawn Primarolo, Iain Wright and Dawn Butler. Click here for more information about the new centre. (see also Redevelopment of our New Building)
  • 2009 – A £1.3m grant from the Department of Children, Schools and Families (the Youth Sector Development Fund) allows Salmon to treble its number of staff, filling the building with many different activities and clubs and attracting over 700 young people every week.
  • 2008 – Phase 1 of the new building is opened in March, designed to cater for new activities and a more extensive programme of youth work, sports, arts, enterprise and pastoral care. Go to ‘Our Work – Redevelopment’ to read more about this project. (see also Redevelopment of our New Building)
  • 2004 – Active England becomes the major funder (£2.75m) in March and by the end of the year, the majority of funding for Phase 1 has been raised. The Salmon building is demolished and the youth work moves to temporary accommodation in a derelict parade of shops next to the site.
  • 2000 – A Development Manager is recruited to fundraise for the project. It is planned that the Salmon Youth Centre’s Redevelopment will be completed in two phases.
  • 1996 – After a strategic review, the Trustees conclude that the Salmon building (made up of 3 separate buildings dating from 1910-1974) is a major obstacle to developing the work for modern needs. A Steering Group is set up including staff, Trustees, young people and local community members.
  • 1995 – The name of the Cambridge University Mission is changed. This is due to the misleading impression of financial wealth which is becoming more and more harmful as the centre has now become reliant on non-local authority funding for 80% of its costs. The medical dispensary has now closed and the centre is focusing on youth work. The new name is the Salmon Youth Centre, chosen to retain the link to its founder and its past.
  • 1972 – The new building opens!
  • 1968-69 – A building programme is proposed and an appeal launched to rebuild old houses at the cost of £50,000.
  • 1964 – There is major rebuilding all round the club and the London Borough of Southwark comes into existence.
  • 1947 – The residential part of the building is reopened.
  • 1939-45 – The residential part of the building closes during World War II. The building is damaged by a land mine.
  • 1932-33 – A Girls’ Hall is built and three cottages are renovated.
  • 1925 – A Sports Ground is acquired in New Eltham.
  • 1922 – The name changes to the Cambridge University Mission. A significant number of Cambridge undergraduates and graduates find their way to the mission – sometimes during holidays, often when undertaking further study in London, especially medical training.
  • 1916 – The Cambridge Medical Mission Settlement opens its doors to girls.
  • 1910 – Further land and new halls are added.
  • 1907 – A building on Jamaica Road is bought and refurbished for £1,400(!). This building acts as a boys’ mission club and residential settlement. Many of the residents and volunteers are medical students in London. Tuberculosis is the prominent health issue amongst the local population, so the settlement sets up a dispensary, as well as taking boys on trips and summer camps to the countryside.
  • 1906 – Reverend “Pa” Salmon sees the abject poverty suffered by London’s inner city working classes. He notes that local churches are not engaging with the problem and are failing to make the Christian faith relevant to this community. He decides to do something about it. He gains the support of a group of Cambridge evangelical Christians. The Cambridge Medical Mission Settlement is born.