Lady Henrietta St George writes…
I have always had a firm belief in the care of others. I started my career in children’s nursing and Montessori early years teaching. In 1977, while working as a Play Specialist, I set up the play room at Central Middlesex Hospital.
After my marriage in 1979 we moved to the Bahamas. My husband Edward St George was a criminal barrister who practised in the UK before going to the Bahamas as the Chief Magistrate. He became the Solicitor General there and also worked for the United Nations.
On Grand Bahama Island, I set up the Grand Bahama Children’s Home for neglected, abandoned and abused children aged from birth to twelve years. This was followed by my setting up residential care for teenagers in five small units. I was advised by the Chairman of National Children’s Home (now Action for Children ) who I had been involved with in the UK.
During this time I visited the Industrial Schools in Nassau which were the archaic residential remand centres for children under 18 years of age. My views on their methods for correction became well known.
Having set up a nursery school, which then became a Primary School, I turned my attention to rebuilding and modernising the school for children with learning disabilities. Over the years I also set up a Pregnant Teens School, and a school for boys who had been expelled from Government schools.
On the death of my husband I returned to the UK; and I now volunteer with Kids Company and Great Ormond St Children’s Hospital. Here I come into contact with all sorts of families with communication problems, mental health issues, and abuse of every kind.
I am both delighted and relieved to hear the adversarial system is now acknowledging that the process needs to be adapted to cater for the vulnerable. I fully support the introduction of intermediaries who assist communication with police and courts. It just makes sense to enable people to fully comprehend and participate in their evidence and trials.
Becoming involved with IfJ is just an extension of my lifelong fight to ‘help the underdog’ and give them a voice in many areas.