Oasis Charitable Trust considers association with Camila Batmanghelidjh

The former chief executive of Kids Company will meet the charity's founder early this year

Batmanghelidjh: doesn't want to be a trustee because she 'likes doing'
Batmanghelidjh: doesn't want to be a trustee because she 'likes doing'

The Oasis Charitable Trust is to meet Camila Batmanghelidjh, the former chief executive of the collapsed children's charity Kids Company, to discuss how it might continue to work with her.

Batmanghelidjh worked with Oasis on a voluntary basis recently to help it run a Christmas party for underprivileged children and their families. Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis, told Third Sector a meeting was scheduled with her early in the new year.

Oasis, founded by Chalke in 1985, is a Christian charity involved in education, housing, youth work and anti-trafficking. It had an income of £271m in the year to August 2014, £263m of which was for its 47 academy schools.

Chalke, who does not hold an executive position at the charity but attends board meetings, said Oasis was excited about working with Batmanghelidjh and exploring the future with her. It was keen to capitalise on her significant experience and expertise in the field of child protection, he said.

Batmanghelidjh, who first met Chalke four years ago, told Third Sector that her aim was to help Oasis develop its fundraising operation and secure more partnerships and pro-bono support from corporates.

She said she wanted the charity to work with the "high-risk" children Kids Company had worked with, whom she said were abandoned when the charity she founded closed in August. "Doing that will make me feel like I’ve found a home for everyone that Kids Company helped," she said.

She declined to confirm whether she was considering accepting a particular job, but ruled out the possibility of becoming a trustee of Oasis. "I don’t want to be a trustee," she said. "I like doing.

"All I’ve ever been interested in is working in a socially creative structure – that is, working with vulnerable children and families and finding creative ways of meeting their needs, both emotional and practical, and Oasis shares that mission.

"There’s an incredible amount of learning that Kids Company can share with Oasis, and if it’s going to benefit children and families, that’s all I’m interested in. I’m very happy to do it because Oasis is very dedicated and it wants to do that."

Asked if she planned to start another charity of her own, Batmanghelidjh said she did not. "No, because I feel like I did it," she said. "I did Kids Company for 20 years. The next thing that needs to happen is a systems change at government level."

Batmanghelidjh said her future ambitions included reviving Kids Company’s former plan to build a "virtual local authority". This would develop an economic model of social care that matched the clinical delivery model for child protection services and had been one of the aims of the Independent Children's Task Force, which was announced as part of the charity’s See the Child. Change the System campaign, begun in 2014.

Batmanghelidjh said she intended to pilot the scheme in a local authority and had been talking to Lambeth Council in south London about running it there. She said that before Kids Company’s collapse she had made an appointment, which she had not been able to keep, with the Big Lottery Fund about launching a society lottery that would dedicate its proceeds to child protection services in the local authority selected for the pilot.

She said she had raised funding of £1.5m from a philanthropist to launch the virtual local authority initiative and wanted to appoint a chief executive in the coming year.

This story was corrected on 4 January 2016: it originally said that Batmanghelidjh had been "in discussion with" the Big Lottery Fund about launching a society lottery.

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