London’s most famous charity boss steps down after government row

Camila Batmanghelidjh has resigned from Kids Company

The founder and CEO of Kids Company has agreed to step down after the government refused to back the children’s charity with her at the helm.

Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE is possibly the most recognisable face in the charity sector – partly for her brightly coloured clothes – but mainly as the longstanding boss of Kids Company, which she founded in Camberwell in 1996 to help severely abused and traumatised children.

An investigation by BuzzFeed and Newsnight found public funding for the charity was being withheld unless Batmanghelidjh stepped aside, after claims Kids Company was not being effectively managed.

While Kids Company has worked closely with the government in the past, it has recently been outspoken about the government’s child protection measures. According to a Guardian source at Whitehall, relations were tainted because the charity did not show “enough respect” to the government.

In an interview with the Guardian after revealing she’d be stepping down in a few months last night, Batmanghelidjh said: “Some ugly games are being played. The facts are that the vulnerable children of this country remain largely unprotected. There’s no point in shooting the messenger if the message is uncomfortable. I am being silenced.”

Kids Company is facing serious cuts with a £14m shortfall in funding. The government said it was going to end the £5m funding it gives the charity every year, however, Kids Company has been negotiating terms for a one-off grant of £3m – one of those terms being that Batmanghelidjh steps down as CEO.

She will continue to act the figurehead of the charity and do other work within it.

As a result of the loss of funding, she said: “We will be able to offer them food, hopefully, and at least give them the dignity of being a compassionate witness to their experience. But we are not going to able to sort out their problems because we do not have the resources.”

The charity has the support of many well-known donors including JK Rowling, Tracy Emin and Coldplay.

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