250 000

families still live in communal flats in St Petersburg.  These flats are often overcrowded.


of children in the St Petersburg region have a disability.  We are helping improve community services to help them reach their potential.

1 086

Children still live in orphanages in St Petersburg. We are helping improve standards of care across the city for them when they leave the orphanage.


St Petersburg, the seat of Russian imperial power sparkling with palaces and golden spires, is a beautiful city.  It also has crumbling communal flats and miles of housing estates stretching out far beyond the areas tourists visit.

There is also a hidden poverty in St Petersburg, as across Russia.  A poverty of education, opportunity and social contact for disabled people and children whose parents are neglectful, abusive or incapable.  Russia is slowly moving away from bringing up all disabled children and “social orphans”, or children whose parents are unable to look after them, in institutions but it is a difficult transition.  The Soviet system stigmatised these children, and staff in these institutions are often over-worked, under-paid and, most importantly, under-trained for their role.

Our approach

We work with local partners that understand local issues.  They work closely with local authorities and other charities and organisations.

St Gregory’s Foundation does not generally work in orphanages, but we do work to strengthen community-based alternatives.  This means supporting young people leaving orphanages as they adjust to adult life and start families themselves.  It also means working with those who see the potential of disabled children and help families who look after a disabled child at home.  We provide training to staff working in other NGOs and state-run organisations to improve the quality of care and make alternatives to institutions work.

Our local partners are:  

The Club for Hearing Impaired Children and their Families

Physical Rehabilitation

The Sunflower Centre for orphanage-leavers

Our impact:

Last year we:

  • Trained 35 young parents who grew up in orphanages to become better parents
  • Helped 94 teenagers – orphanage-leavers to adapt to independent life
  • Trained 48 specialists: teachers, social workers, local authorities who work with graduates from children’s homes
  •  Introduced speech and music therapy to 26 families with children with impaired hearing
  • 10 disabled children and young people were helped to communicate better and many more benefited from the webinars passing on our techniques to parents and professionals

Useful links:

We also encourage socially disadvantaged young people to discover the wonders of their own city with outings to some of the museums and galleries on their doorstep.  You can explore Russian culture from the UK through a number of societies.

Academia Rossica

Great Britain Russia Society

Pushkin House, London

Manchester St Petersburg Friendship Society

Scotland Russia Forum