The chief executive of the children’s charity Kids Company has said that it is at risk of closure unless it receives “proper government funding”.
Camila Batmanghelidjh (pictured) told The Sunday Times that she can only sustain the charity until the end of the year, as its government funding of £4.5m runs out in March. The charity supports 36,000 vulnerable children and young people with practical, emotional and educational support.
A spokeswoman told Civil Society News this morning that Kids Company raises 80 to 100 per cent of its income through charitable donations.
She said: "This revenue has been used to support maltreated children who should have been supported by the State. We are not a civilised society if our government cannot look after children who are being neglected and abused. We want the government to honour their social contract to protect the most vulnerable."
The charity has received support from celebrities including author J K Rowling and comedian Michael McIntyre. Batmanghelidjh said that last month she had to ask the band Coldplay for an advance on its annual gift of £1.3m in order to pay the charity’s bills.
Batmanghelidjh told the Sunday Times: “I have to raise almost £2m a month and everybody I could beg from during the summer was away on holiday. We had queues of children who in term time get free school meals waiting to be fed, and we had to pay for therapists accompanying our children on activity holidays.”
She said that the government needs to wake up to child protection, which she describes as its “Achilles’ heel”.
Batmanghelidjh added that she is frustrated that she has to “beg on behalf of society” for funding to deal with problems that should be paid for from the public purse, and that there is no more money that she can raise from philanthropists.
The spokeswoman for the charity said that it needs about £23m a year to run. It currently receives £4.5m from the government and £3m of support from celebrities and businesses, meaning that the charity needs another £16m a year to continue to remain functional. She said that currently every month is a struggle for the charity to support the 36,000 children who are not supported by the government.
In the charity’s accounts for the year ending December 2012, it showed that the charity received £4.8m from central government, suggesting that the funding received from government dropped by £300,000 in 2013.
The accounts also say that despite receiving significant grants, the charity continues to grow very fast in order to meet needs, and has low reserves relative to its size as “new contracts do not allow for the retention of funds as reserves”. In 2012, it held £272,547 in reserves.
It continues: “The charity’s history of delivering the maximum possible charitable objectives with the resources available have often put a strain on the charity’s cash flow. The trustees are confident sufficient funding will be secured and are monitoring the situation.”
In the year 2012, the charity, which now employs 563 staff, had income of £20m, up from £15.6m the previous year. That year it spent £18.9m, of which £17.6m was spent on charitable activities.