Place2Be originates from a Family Service Unit (FSU) project in Southwark which was called The Place to Be. This project was managed by Camila Batmanghelidjh, placing a counsellor in a primary school. In 1993, Benita Refson (a trained counsellor) visited the project and was impressed with the idea of providing emotional support to children at an early age. After seeking professional advice and with the support of the FSU, Benita set up an independent charity called The Place to Be, recognised by the Charity Commission in September 1994. The project continued within the charity, being in about six schools in 1995 when Camila resigned. Camila has had no connection with Place2Be since 1995. Place2Be has never been connected with Kids Company.
The period from 1996 to 1998 was used to professionalise, research, develop and systematise the Place2Be model and Place2Be training, so that it could be replicated while building and maintaining quality. This work was undertaken by many leading professionals, enabling Place2Be in 1999 to expand substantially to work in 28 primary schools. Since then Place2Be (the name formally adopted in 2012) has steadily developed further. We now provide our integrated school based mental health service in 282 primary and secondary schools across England, Scotland and Wales as well as training services to many other schools, organisations and individuals.
Benita continued as Place2Be's Chief Executive on a full-time, voluntary basis until January 2014 when Catherine Roche became CEO, Benita remaining a trustee as non-executive President.