Kids Company stays silent over reports of imminent closure

The children's charity Kids Company has offered no comment today over reports on the BBC's Newsnight programme last night that the charity had told ministers it would be closing today

Kids Company website
Kids Company website

The children’s charity Kids Company has made no comment today after the BBC’s Newsnight programme reported last night that the charity had told ministers it would be closing its services at the end of today.

Kids Company staff answered calls at its London head office this morning, but referred all enquiries about the reports of closure to the press team.

The charity’s press team had not returned requests for comment by midday  despite widespread reporting of the closure claims. It had told Newsnight that the speculation was "dangerous and irresponsible".

The Daily Mail reported this morning that staff had been told yesterday the charity would be closing imminently.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office, which is key to the immediate funding concerns of Kids Company but is reported to be trying to recover the £3m it gave the charity last week, said it had "absolutely no comment to make at this stage".

Newsnight claimed the Cabinet Office was trying to retrieve the money because conditions attached to its use had not been met.

The Charity Commission, which yesterday said it had been in regular contact with Kids Company since early July, had no comment to make on the reports.

A statement from Southwark Council said that it had been in discussion with the Department for Education and other local authorities "preparing for the closure of Kids Company".

It said: "Although Southwark doesn't refer any children to the charity, some will have sought out their services. We are ready to support any vulnerable children and young people in the borough who are affected by the closure of Kids Company."

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, told BBC Radio 4 this morning that voluntary organisations and local authorities in London would have to provide a "safety net" for the charity's beneifciaries if it closed.

Thje NSPCC said it had not been approached about any plan to rescue Kids Company.

Kids Company has been under intense scrutiny this year amid allegations of financial mismanagement, a protracted struggle with the Cabinet Office over the terms of further funding, and, last week, news that the Metropolitan Police had begun an investigation into alleged child abuse at the charity.

Kids Company received £18m of public money as part of an overall income of £63m between 2010 and 2013.

It is believed much of its funding (around 55 per cent in 2013, the latest year for which accounts are available) comes from donations from individuals, trusts and foundations, and corporations, as well as gifts in kind.

Internal emails published by The Spectator suggest the charity’s founder and president Camila Batmanghelijdh is concerned about the impact of the child abuse investigation on donors.

"Obviously this sort of highly toxic coverage will have an impact on our donations and, therefore, on our sustainability," she wrote to staff on 1 August, according to the magazine.

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