Cookie Notice

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. For more information, including detail on what cookies we use and how to disable non-essential ones, please read our cookies policy. By accessing this site you are confirming acceptance of the use of these cookies. Accept or Learn more.

Centre of Excellence

There’s a growing number of children and families struggling to cope with profound mental ill health and desperately looking for support.

We need a step change in children’s mental health and that’s why the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is pioneering a radical approach by creating a new £40 million Centre of Excellence in King’s Cross.

The centre of excellence will, for the first time, bring under one roof the very best science, education and mental health support for these families. At the heart of the campus is a school for 48 vulnerable children who have been excluded from mainstream education and face a bleak future without the dedicated support the new centre will provide.

Anna Freud LP LO 8342 RT.jpg

What is the problem?

By 2020 depression will be the leading cause of death and disability in industrialised nations.

Currently 50% of adult mental health problems begin in childhood. Suicide is the second most common cause of death amongst young men and fewer than 35% of young people with mental health problems get any help at all.

Anna Freud LP LO 8986.jpg

What are we doing about it?

Alongside the Department of Health and other leaders in the sector we contributed to the Future in Mind report, which sets out a vision for how to improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing, including key recommendations for change. We know what needs to change, we must now act to turn the most important recommendations into reality.

Why will a new centre of excellence help?

We can only deliver the step change needed by working together with other sector leaders, including UCL and Yale. This is why we are taking the important first step of developing a new Centre of Excellence that will:

  • Provide a physical space for scientists with an interest in mental health and child development to translate their research into solutions on the ground   
  • Integrate mental health, education, social care and scientific research under one roof with a school at its heart
  • Create a hub of research-based practice and innovation by forging working relationships between researchers and practicing clinicians across an existing local and national network of schools and community clinical services
  • Establish a unique policy forum whose strength will derive from the ability of leading researchers and expert clinicians to speak alongside the voices of children and families from an academic base grounded in clinical practice.
  • Provide a highly attractive environment for the delivery of a portfolio of postgraduate programmes, creating a wealth of research-based opportunities for home and overseas students to learn and train in a lively practice-based environment
  • Facilitate the development of a national multimedia science communication strategy, to create a trusted source of information for child mental health research and practice

The impact of this centre will be felt far beyond this organisation, through the influence it can play on policy and practice nationally and internationally, and via the huge numbers of mental health professionals who we train and inspire while they are part of it. 

The Family School

me and T 2.jpg
"I can honestly say that I have seen a change in my son’s behaviour. Please don’t get me wrong in thinking my son’s journey is over, because it’s not – you can’t just undo nearly three years of bad behaviour in a few months; but I do see a huge change!” A parent at the Family School

The Family School will be at the heart of the centre of excellence. A specialist school where children with serious emotional and behavioural issues who have been excluded from mainstream schools attend with their families, the Family School is the first of its kind to integrate education and mental health provision.

Financing and timetable

The new Centre of Excellence will open in early 2019 We have launched a £40 million capital appeal to achieve this. We have secured £25 million to date. We have launched a fundraising campaign to raise the remaining £15 million needed to ensure this project reaches completion

See the vision taking shape.

How you can help

By making a donation to this potentially life changing project, you can make this vision a reality and help transform the future of hundreds of thousands of children and families.

If you would like to discuss how you could support this life-changing project, or would like further information please contact: Ros Bidmead, Chief Operating Officer:, 020 7443 2270.