It is a miserable day beneath the railway arches at Loughborough Junction in south London. The rain pours unceasingly as a steady stream of women arrive to pick up a bag of groceries and a free Costa sandwich from a temporary food bank. It is being run by volunteers who, until August, were paid employees of the now defunct charity Kids Company. Those collecting the bags of food are former clients …Former what..?!?
As expected, the dependency and conspiracy theories come thick and fast.
“It’s not about this food,” said Oluwatosin Jenmi, who is in tears. “It’s about the future of the children.” There have been a number of stabbings in the area – Jenmi said some of the victims were known to Kids Company - and children who would once have been safe at the charity are now at risk on the streets.At risk from other clients of this ‘charity’, perhaps? Not that they are all that safe while there!
Another woman who turned to the charity because of domestic violence said: “A lot of people are suffering. A lot of people don’t have food. The Tory government ganged up on Kids Company because it helped immigrants.”*rolls eyes*
“When I was told I almost fainted,” said Ade Adesile, who doesn’t know how she will manage without her Tesco vouchers. “No, this can’t be true. I think Kids Company should carry on. We are praying for it to carry on.”Oh dear, did someone turn off the free money tap? Well, instead of praying, why not do something useful, like find a job?
Sorayah, 11, was looking forward to going away on holiday with the charity this summer before it closed. “My dad died when I was around six. I was in a bad position. Then I went to Kids Company and they used to help me with that.
“We used to have talks and I found that very helpful. They used to give me nice meals, because my mum couldn’t afford to cook for me. It was like a second family to me, a second home.”How come she couldn’t afford to feed you, then? Was she not claiming Child Benefit? Still, maybe they are right, maybe the closure of this free food and parenting network has caused massive probl… Oh.
One newspaper reported this week that a telephone helpline set up by the government’s children’s commissioner after Kids Company closed had received just two calls.
The charity’s founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, is dismissive. “Our kids don’t know who the children’s commissioner is, let alone have the commissioner’s telephone number or access to phone credit to be doing the call.”Well, maybe you should be teaching them these things, instead of maintaining that only you can save them from poverty??
Kids Company says it has referred 1,500 cases to local authorities involving an estimated 3,000-4,000 individuals, taking into account family groups.
Both Southwark and Lambeth councils say the number of people requiring their support has turned out to be less than Kids Company suggested.I wonder why? Is it truly ignorance, or is it a desire to be ‘off the books’, where officialdom is concerned?
Or is it simply the thought that official sources aren’t so easily swayed by a sob story?
Peter John, the leader of Southwark council, said “a few hundred names” of young clients deemed vulnerable by Kids Company were handed to the council around the time of its closure.
“It has been a huge task to identify, process and make contact with these young people, but to date the majority have not required support from the council.
“Anyone vulnerable and in need has of course been provided with the support they need from us and other local services, and the government has given the council £82,500 to help with this additional support, and the administration required.”So…did KC truly meet a need, or was it just a cash-cow to be suckled dry by the UK’s ever-present dependency cultists?