Former Kids Company partner charity urges Camila to 'accept responsibility'

14 Nov 2017 News

Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder, Kids Company

A charity which took on work from Kids Company when it collapsed has urged the charity’s founder to accept responsibility for its failure, and said that her behaviour is obscuring a more important message about children's services.

Responding to Camila Batmanghelidjh’s criticism of recent media coverage, the chief executive of Creative Youth Network, Sandy Hore-Ruthven, has said that the ongoing narrative around the collapse of Kids Company is preventing an important message about cuts to children’s services from being heard. 

Hore-Ruthven's charity was the landlord for Kids Company when it worked in Bristol, and took over 152 cases - having made space for 600.

Following the publication of her book about the collapse of the charity Batmaghelidjh wrote to Civil Society News to respond to a number of news and opinion articles about her version of events. 

In a letter prompted by her response, sent to Civil Society News and published in full below, Hore-Ruthven said: “I find it such a shame that Camila spends most of her time in the ‘He said, she said’ rhetoric of conspiracy when her key message about the problems of children’s services are so much more important. 

“Vulnerable children and young people receive less support and have less opportunities than they did several years ago. From where we sit, supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in our city, the statutory services of youth offending teams, CAMHS, social and youth services and others are being cut back to the bone.”

Criticism of Kids Company

He said that when Kids Company was a tenant in Bristol, it “rarely paid bills on time” and added that when the charity collapsed there were fewer records than he expected. 

“Bristol City Council asked Creative Youth Network to pick up the 600 young people Kids Company were working with when they collapsed," he said. "We received very incomplete files for 152. We asked repeatedly and no more were forthcoming.”

He called for Batmanghelidgh to “accept some responsibility” for what happened, and highlighted the charity’s lack of reserves.

“By managing our organisations well and accepting responsibility when we get things wrong, we can get to the heart of the matter – making sure our vulnerable children and young people receive the support they need,” he said. “This is a story that needs to be heard!” 

In response, Batmanghelidjh said: "My book is all about the difficulties within the children's sector."

She said that only 152 children were referred because Kids Company was asked not to refer children it had worked with in schools.


Letter in full

Dear Sir/Madam,
 
I would like to respond to Camila Batmanghelidjh letter of the 31st October defending the closure of Kids Company. I write as a CEO of a youth charity working with 3,500 young people and ex-landlord to Kids Company delivery in Bristol.

I find it such a shame that Camila spends most of her time in the ‘he said, she said’ rhetoric of conspiracy, when her key message about the problems of children’s services is so much more important. 

Vulnerable children and young people receive less support and have less opportunities than they did several years ago.  

From where we sit, supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in our city, the statutory services of youth offending teams, CAMHS, social and youth services and others are being cut back to the bone. This leaves staff in both the statutory and voluntary sectors stretched to the point where we are not providing the sorts of services that prevent the misery of wasted lives and cost more in the long run. Across the UK, children’s services are struggling to cope with and fund the job of picking up the pieces of these damaged lives.

This is the real story of austerity played out in small corners of our towns and cities where young peoples lives do not reach their potential because they don’t have the right support when they need it. 

Camila talks of this briefly in her letter but spends paragraph after paragraph on blaming others for the organisational problems she created.

As their landlord, Kids Company rarely paid their bills on time, and when Bristol City Council asked Creative Youth Network to pick up the 600 young people Kids Company were working with when they collapsed, we received very incomplete files for 152. We asked repeatedly and no more were forthcoming.

I wish Camila would accept some responsibility for what happened. Reserves are there to see you through difficult times – that’s why they are important, money needs to be managed properly and good records of the young people you work with must be kept. By managing our organisations well and accepting responsibility when we get things wrong, we can get to the heart of the matter – making sure our vulnerable children and young people receive the support they need! This is a story that needs to be heard! 
 
Yours sincerely
 
Sandy Hore-Ruthven
CEO – Creative Youth Network
WWW.creativeyouthnetwork.org.uk

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