I’m writing to you with considerable shock and great sadness to confirm – as you probably know already – that Kids Company – the charity that mtn-i has supported for the last 18-months with your very generous support has closed.
You will have seen a steady stream of allegations and concerns raised about Kids Company in the press over the last 8 months regarding its financial management, its impact and its value for money. Last week a police investigation was launched by the Metropolitan police child abuse, sex offences and exploitation unit.
These allegations began just as the government decided to end its long-standing commitment to fund the charity – with the offer of a one off re-structuring grant to make the transition. Even though most of Kids Company’s funding came from business and private donations – these became increasingly difficult to raise as the charity endured bad publicity.
Last week, within minutes of the restructuring payment being made and £3m of match funding about to be made available from a philanthropist donor – a police investigation was announced and the private donor understandably withdrew. At this point – to comply with company law – the charity had to call in the receivers.
Whilst the press has portrayed Kids Company as charity supported by celebrities and government grants, the majority of its funding came from businesses and city institutions like ours across the last 19 years, and Kids Company has been charity of the year for 19 different London banks.
I’m sure many of you-either via mtn-i’s engagement with Kids Company or through your own institutions had only previously been impressed and inspired by the charities work. Nothing in the research we did in deciding to support Kids Company or our experience since has raised any concerns – indeed the opposite. We were similarly impressed by our visit to some of the Company’s operations and the young people and staff we’ve met on our two Kayak fundraising days.
We raised money for Kids Company from you with considerable enthusiasm and good faith and you have been incredibly generous to the tune of £33,000 over the last couple of years and we were very proud of the results we achieved. Obviously, since the allegations began we’ve been deeply concerned that your support might have been mis-directed.
So with the exception of course of the criminal investigation, as each allegation has emerged I’ve raised each concern with the charity and independently verified the claims and counter claims. I’ve reviewed all relevant audit reports, annual reports, independent scientific research papers and all have testified to how well the charity is managed and how effective its work is. Kids Company has also shared with me evidence that is not in the public domain. I have yet to see any evidence of any kind of financial mis-conduct or poor management that has been claimed. Indeed the more research I’ve read the more impressed I’ve been by the charities work. It’s been very hard to reconcile this with the press coverage.
I’m personally in no doubt that the vast majority of the management and the work of Kids Company has been done with the most honourable intent and achieved exceptional outcomes in extremely challenging conditions. The circumstances that have led to its downfall are exceptional. I believe that in due course the full truth will emerge and our trust will not have been dishonoured.
Please find below the following statements from Kids Company itself.
Closure of Kids Company
On behalf of the Trustees of Kids Company, it is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that we have taken the very difficult decision to close the charity.
We have been forced to do so because collectively, despite the extraordinary efforts of Camila and her team, some truly enlightened philanthropists and the government, we have not been able to raise enough money to meet the ongoing costs and liabilities. The recent negative press coverage has been particularly damaging.
The charity’s 11 street level centres in London and Bristol and its outreach project in Liverpool will close immediately and its work with over 40 schools in London and Bristol will also come to an end. These services impact on thousands of vulnerable children, young people and families across the country many of whom are categorised as high risk.
Kids Company has been in existence for over 19 years, growing from very small beginnings to one of Britain’s best loved charities. The organisation has been predominantly funded by donations from individuals, trusts and foundations and by government grants. This year, however, Kids Company found that previous levels of funding did not materialise and in order to continue delivering its successful and effective services, the charity planned to restructure to a level that could be supported by a lower annual turnover. It sought funds to restructure from government and a group of philanthropic donors but in the end this was not enough to meet the charity’s ongoing liabilities.
“I want to thank you for the remarkable support you have given our children and young people over so many years. The challenges that Kids Company has had to face will not go away. I am sure you are as concerned as we are for the future of these young people.”
Alan Yentob, Chairman of Trustees
“We have been forced to close Kids Company which we do with profound sadness. Our children, staff, and volunteers supported by trustees and extraordinarily generous donors, have over the last 19 years helped create an inspirational community committed to recovery and love. The catastrophic abandonment of children who are suffering is a testimony to our collective moral failing. I hope one day the childhood maltreatment wound, that is so deeply hurting this country, will heal. I apologise to all the courageous and dignified young people who have touched our hearts and made us brave. The hope we shared together cannot be negated and will serve to strengthen our resolve never to be silenced when your truth needs to be told. To the staff of Kids Company, you are a gift. For everything we have learnt, I am deeply grateful.”
Founder of Kids Company
A message from our Kids Company liaison.
It is with such a sad heart that I write this email and before I go on the below is my personal point of view. In the last two years I have seen how incredibly generous you have been to our charity. Whether it has been through fundraising, mentoring or one of our volunteer days. We are truly grateful to you and others around you who rallied around. It has has been a constant source of happiness to myself – you have all done such incredible things to support us. Our young people and children have been happier because of it. I wish that we could carry on in this journey but sadly it is not to be.
Please remember Kids Company in the way that you have seen it, whether it was down at the schools, in our centres or one of our countless Tea With Camila’s. The press has not only skewered the view of Kids Company but also made it impossible for us to continue our fundraising. I personally am sure that these allegations will come to nothing. If you have ever had worries about your money please be assured that we have been audited by some of the top accountancy firms in the UK. Only last year did the Cabinet Office commission a confidential audit by PKF Littlejojn into how Kids Company. The auditors said, *’no recommendations to make in terms of improvements to the governance systems and risk assessment process. The information provided in the management accounts is appropriate for an organisation like Kids Company.’ Over the last twenty years we have worked on the basis of not having reserves. This lack of reserves is a result of the huge need for Kids Company services and the fact that there is very little guaranteed funding.
Until last Thursday, we had a robust plan for the future, a list of confirmed (sizeable) donations and excitement for the restructure and the move forward. We were then hit by the sexual abuse allegations, and since then the confirmed donors have pulled their money. Without this, we have been forced to close. I have included an official statement below regarding this.
Thank you for all your messages of support in the recent weeks we have felt very lucky to have such a great voices behind us. It has been great to work with all of you – time that I will truly cherish.