The strange story of Kids Company

For much of last summer, the news was dominated by pictures of a large, bespectacled lady, swathed in vibrantly coloured robes, and dripping with jewellery.

Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company
Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company

Camila Batmanghelidjh was the founder and head of charity Kids Company, an organisation which seemed to be imploding amidst a swirl of allegations encompassing financial mismanagement, sexual abuse and Government incompetence.

Incredibly, while all this was going on, film-maker Lynn Alleway had been invited – by Camila herself – to document the whole sorry affair.

Camila’s Kids Company: The Inside Story (BBC1, Wednesday, 9pm) was fascinating viewing, as it seemed to both praise and damn the larger-than-life charity boss.

By the end of the film, Alleway was clearly left disenchanted, seeing a woman she admired brought low by the actions of others, but who was unwilling to admit her own failings.


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We saw Camila deny financial mismanagement, but also saw the swimming pool in the five-bedroomed, art deco, North London house which was available for the children to use. We saw 34-year-old Annie, who had depended on Kids Company since arriving in the UK more than 1o years earlier. We heard about key worker Tony – definitely not the chauffeur – and heard discussions about the other driver who costs tens of thousands a year.

But we also saw the children Kids Company had undeniably helped, and the dedicated staff left devastated by the charity’s closure.

Ultimately, they were the ones who mattered, and they were the ones left to sort out the mess created when Camila had seduced Governments and been seduced by her own success.

If Camila wants to resuscitate her reputation, she could do worse than go on The Great Sport Relief Bake Off (BBC1, Wednesdays, 8pm), after all, it’s the first port of call for our despised political classes.


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This week, former Labour big cheese Ed Balls (Cheeseballs?) created a ski jump out of sponge cake, and told us how he loved creating birthday cakes for his kids.

Last week, Samantha Cameron ‘revealed’ how hubby David was a whiz in the Downing Street kitchen, but always left a mess behind (sound familiar?)

What next? Jeremy Corbyn sculpting a bust of Marx out of red velvet cake?

Victoria Coren Mitchell – who can do no wrong in my eyes – had the right idea. Getting blotto with a few Bloody Mary muffins and a vodka chaser.