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Kids Club - Camilla Batmanghelijdjh

(143 Posts)
Iam64 Sun 02-Aug-15 08:57:06

I'd be interested in the responses of others to the recent negative publicity about the charity, particularly about its CEO.

I've always felt uneasy about both the charity and it's CEO. I don't particularly like the phrase "cult of personality" but it's a simple way of describing one of my anxieties about Kids Club. Any organisation working with vulnerable children needs to be closely scrutinised, doesn't it?

Nelliemoser Sun 02-Aug-15 09:51:54

??? I thought I had posted earlier but I must have failed to "send" it.

There should always be concerns about one person of strong personality seeming to feel they "own" the organisation they created.
I think this can lead to that person in that position becoming blinkered about the rightness of their thinking.
It can be dangerous if anyone gets over condfident about their own opinions and no one elso bothers or "dares" to challenge particular views, or ways of working.

Anne58 Sun 02-Aug-15 12:36:22

Just to avoid confusion, it's a actually called "Kids Company"

Luckygirl Sun 02-Aug-15 12:41:49

A huge amount of government money has been directed towards this project and it is right that there should be accountability and proper scrutiny. A big personality is not enough - there needs to be proper processes for ensuring that it is giving a good service.

I do think that there is room for inspired lateral thinking in all areas, but it cannot be left rampant.

HildaW Sun 02-Aug-15 12:47:59

It does seem as if she considers herself more important than the organisation she's behind. Also her method of defence is to attach those 'daring' to question the organisation (always a worrying trend methinks)

If one has nothing to hide one should be happy to be open about the mechanics of the operations (of course the vulnerable children need protection and confidentiality) but the actual finances and structure of the set up should be open to scrutiny.

petra Sun 02-Aug-15 13:02:30

I have helped to support Kids company since it's beginning. My opinion of Camilla has always been that: she's a thorn in the governments side.
They don't want to hear the truth as to why these children are ending up in horrendous situations.
I have been to an art exhibition done by some of these children. The art was their therapy work. Very very moving.
I hope I'm not wrong about Camilla.

kittylester Sun 02-Aug-15 13:56:00

I agree with petra and have also supported Kid's Company for a while.

janeainsworth Sun 02-Aug-15 21:22:01

article about this charity

I think that charities of any size should be just as accountable as businesses financially, and in terms of whether they are achieving their stated goals.

rosesarered Sun 02-Aug-15 21:26:39

It has always been thought of as a commendable company and Camilla B as a strong personality to front it and campaign etc.but as others say here,it has to be as accountable as any other charity, and so does she.

Luckygirl Sun 02-Aug-15 21:54:18

Interesting article - and worrying.

Iam64 Tue 04-Aug-15 09:57:12

Thanks for the article janeainsworth. I hadn't seen it but it does set out the worries I've had about Kids Company. It's sad to see something that had such potential to do constructive work in this demanding area wasting money in this way. It's especially galling given the way in which mental health services (as one example) are being cut and some well established charities are struggling.

Iam64 Wed 05-Aug-15 09:00:59

Kids Company will close today because of allegations of financial impropriety and sexual abuse.

My worry has been the lack of firm evidence to confirm that young people are benefitting from its input. Every charity or public body supported by government money has to substantiate that it's work is effective. I was involved in setting up and running groups for 13 - 15 year old girls who were runaways, involved in crime, non school attenders. We were funded by Probation and Social Work money - we provided written reports of every activity and a full report on conclusion of each 12 week group. Our girls didn't offend and began to attend school again. This was 30 years ago, so being cost effective and having to prove your intervention was effective isn't something new.

Very sad isn't it that something set up with such high hopes ends like this.

petra Wed 05-Aug-15 09:18:36

We are going to wait a month to see where this is going before we cancel subscription. If it's the worst scenario ( that it closes for good ) then we give more to the lifeboats and the Samaritans.

sunseeker Wed 05-Aug-15 09:23:22

I think when this charity started the only concern was for the children but it appears that a lot of attention was diverted to its founder, not a bad thing if it brings in more money but when I first saw her I had no idea who she was or what she represented, she was merely another "celebrity". (I don't follow the "celebrity" scene!)

Accountability has to be a big concern with any charity, whether funded by government or not. Everyone wants deprived children to be helped but the methods used must prove to be effective. If, as suggested, money was just handed out to children to spend as they wish, then that is not actually helping them escape their situation.

Teetime Wed 05-Aug-15 16:01:25

Reluctantly I have stopped my standing order and will redirect it somewhere else. I do think a lot of good work has been done by KC but there are too many doubts about it now and a through investigation is needed before if it can continue at all but it does need a new CEO and accountability structure.

loopylou Wed 05-Aug-15 16:18:16

I don't understand (as a former CEO) how such a lack of accountability and transparency was allowed by the Trustee Board (who must have known what was going on) and the funders.

My organisation had to literally account for every penny of Council or Grants funding, with quarterly reporting to the Council and six monthly for Grants.
We also had users surveys and staff surveys, and a robust reporting system.

I've always been uneasy about 'characters' and Camilla's 'in your face' attitude but just assumed that was because she's very different to my persona.

It's worrying (if true) that Cameron was 'in awe' of her, no PM should be that impressionable.

whitewave Wed 05-Aug-15 16:34:06

Apparently there has been concerns about the charity for quite some time, including Dim Tim who when voicing the potential problems was told to shut up by No 10. Another case of poor judgement on Cameron's part.

absentgrandma Wed 05-Aug-15 17:07:04

So... would someone enlighten me as to what 'Kids Company' actually did that wasn't already covered by Barnardos, Childline, The Children's Society, or a dozen other nationwide orgs?. Someone who dresses as if there has just been an explosion in a paint factory decides to set up an organisation that seems to have no clear direction and is answerable to no-one. I don't know why people were sucked in by it. The sad thing is this wasted money could have been used to so much greater effect by more traditional organisations.

whitewave Wed 05-Aug-15 17:09:38

3million last week was handed over by this government - they are closing next.

Luckygirl Wed 05-Aug-15 17:16:13

I imagine that we will never know the full details - we will hear the views of either side, who will defend their decisions. But, accountability and proper scrutiny are vital. If this organisation was not doing its job, then it is right that it should close.

The cult of personality has no place in these organisations - we know that from Jimmy Saville. no-one felt able to challenge him, and there seems to have been a similar scenario here.

janeainsworth Wed 05-Aug-15 19:46:53

I heard Camilla Batmangelhijdjh on the radio, blaming everyone but herself - ministers, government, scaremongerers etc.
Says it all, really.

rosesarered Wed 05-Aug-15 19:49:28

I agree Jane, and it was what I would have expected to hear from her.I hope it all comes out in the open now about the alleged waste and wrongdoing amongst the management .

Ana Wed 05-Aug-15 19:52:02

I heard her too, janea. I found the information given by the first woman who spoke (can't remember her name, but she was an author who had had misgivings about the organisation some years ago) quite disturbing. Especially the 'money in envelopes' allegation.

Iam64 Wed 05-Aug-15 19:55:12

absentgrandma is right to question why so much public money has been poured into an organisation that appears to have seen itself as so alternative it didn't need to be accountable. The argument made by one of its workers on channel 4 news just now, was that it was chaotic, because it was responding to young people with chaotic lifestyles.

Luckygirl's post about the cult of personality is so relevant to this discussion, as is her comparison with the way in which no one appears to have felt able to challenge Jimmy Saville. I'm not suggesting Camilla B is in the same category as JS, other than in her somewhat maverick presentation, which seemed to dare people to challenge her approach.

Chaotic individuals/young people like the one's Kids Company aimed to support don't need their chaos to be mirrored by those attempting to help them. They need to be provided with stable role models, workers who do what they say they'll do, keep appointments made etc rather than reacting to every demand made by an unstable young person.

Bez Wed 05-Aug-15 20:39:23

I often wondered what this charity did - assumed my education was missing something. Thank you go the link to the article. Jean.