The Risks of Unrelenting Love

06Feb16

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There are a number of reasons why Kids Company could be seen as being an important service and its high profile collapse as the result of unfair persecution from political figures and the media. With its dedicated, emotionally demanding work within impoverished communities in South London, Liverpool and Bristol; and its motto “children recover with unrelenting love”, who could doubt the charity’s well-meaning intentions?
Some individuals and families surely did benefit and with a monthly wage bill of £500,000, it employed a number of committed and caring people. As well as the political questions involved, the charity’s closure in August 2015 clearly brought disappointment and adversity to a number of people though probably fewer than Kids Company claimed. Those issues and the negligent action of the charity’s Trustees were described among an “extraordinary catalogue of failures” in this week’s Commons Select Committee report.
After a year of adverse coverage, it may seem that there is little to add and that all sides are coming at it with their own agenda.
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This film is worthwhile – and in its way is remarkable – as Camila Batmanghelidjh asked filmmaker, Lynn Alleway, to make a new film after a previously favourable documentary 10 years ago. Batmanghelidjh would have known that there were problems with the charity’s profile after a previous critical report earlier in 2015 and likely invited the filmmaker to provide favourable coverage.
A reasonable approach for someone dedicated to protecting the charity’s reputation and their own profile. However, in front of her own chosen documenter, Batmanghelidjh obfuscates and deflects personal accountability like she often does when her methods are questioned; “Are you doing it to me as well…. Lynne?”.

The results on screen are of a charity led and domineered by a personality who is unboundaried in her approach to both business and care. It’s not just the charity’s headquarters in a corporate, high rise building that is detached; its existence has become reliant on huge amounts of crisis public funding with no meaningful plan to help itself or recognition of its contribution towards its own downfall. Not a good look or example to set for its clients and employees, a number of whom the documentary appears to show as being caught up within a culture of co-dependency.

Edit: 12:21 pm to add former Kids Company twitter page with banner
Edit: 12:39pm spelling of auto mis-corrected Alleway and tags.

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