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Kemp, M. (2015). The Fall of Kids Company. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(4):528-529.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(4):528-529


The Fall of Kids Company

Martin Kemp

Dear Editor

For some years I have supervised staff at Kids Company, which closed its doors over the summer. These personal reflections on its demise attest to the quality of the staff members I worked with, and of the work that they brought for us to consider together. Others, with a closer involvement, will have been left with more profound and no doubt contrasting impressions.

Kids Co has gone, a significant loss perhaps, one I think we might mark. It was founded in 1996 by Camila Batmanghelidjh to provide social and therapeutic support to deprived children in south-east London. It rapidly became the UK's best known childcare charity, relying initially on private donations but more recently securing significant public funding. This is not the place, and I'm not the person, to offer a balanced assessment of the organization's strengths and weaknesses. I just think we might celebrate its ambition, the determination to get something done when something needed to be done, whatever shortcomings have been or come to be revealed.

Its rise and fall say something about the strange world we live in. It was always a reflection of our uncivilized state, of the chasm between dearth and excess that only a larger-than-life personality can bridge, forming a conduit for money to flow to provide redress for needs that oughtn't be there at all. For years, Kids Co seemed immune from public criticism in an unhealthy way, idealized even, and then suddenly became somehow vulnerable to assertions that, though hardly earth shattering, could destroy it without time being given even to ascertain their accuracy or meaning.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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