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How many people did Kids Company help?

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Camila Batmangeildjh, formerly of Kid’s Company: Charity lived hand to mouth

Camila Batmangeildjh, formerly of Kid’s Company: Charity lived
hand to mouth

THE NOW-DEFUNCT charity claimed to reach 36,000 people in London, Bristol and Liverpool.

And if you look at Kids Company’s 2011 annual report, you’ll find the same claim there, and in the reports for 2012 and 2013.

But over the same period the charity claimed that demand for its services was increasing, and accounts show frontline expenditure was rising.

So either the 36,000 figure for earlier years was too high, the 36,000 figure for later years was too low, or there was a dramatic rise in the cost of helping the charity’s clients.

It’s also not clear who was being helped. While the charity’s annual reports say the 36,000 were “children, young people and vulnerable adults”, it’s been reported that the number may also include school staff.

The charity’s own annual reports for 2011, 2012 and 2013 each said that demand for services was rising.

In each year, they show Kids Company hiring more staff and spending more on frontline services.

And in each year the number of people helped is listed as 36,000.

From 2011 to 2013, the wage bill at Kids Company rose from a bit over £7 million to almost £12 million. The average number of employees rose by 166 people (full-time equivalent).

It seems unlikely that there’d be no increase in the number of clients served at the same time as rising demand, a £7.4m increase in spending on charitable activities, and 166 more workers.

The charity was still using the 36,000 figure in the days before its demise. The 2013 report was the last published.

Even assuming that the 36,000 figure is accurate, it’s not immediately clear who the 36,000 people helped were and where they might be found.

The 2013 annual report said that ‘Kids Company currently supports some 36,000 children, young people and vulnerable adults’.

However, the Spectator reports that this might not quite be a full accounting. It quotes an email sent to Miles Goslett which said that: ‘When we refer to clients they include children, young people, young adults with special needs, carers, i.e. foster parents or parents who predominantly have mental health difficulties, and school staff’.

In addition to this, Kids Company itself was not consistent in how it described the figure, sometimes saying the 36,000 were ‘vulnerable children across London’, and sometimes saying they were children, young people and families spread across London, Bristol and Liverpool.

Kids Company policy was ‘not to turn away any child in need’.

In the context of a paragraph outlining how a combination of cuts to government services and lower incomes had pushed children and young people towards poverty, it is hard to square this with no increase in total users.

The section of their 2013 Summary Information Return in full: ‘In 2013, the continued effect of the recession and local authorities’ pursuit to comply with the government public spending cuts have led to significant cuts in their provision of frontline youth and children’s services. These frontline services are essential for most children and young people, particularly the vulnerable, to survive and become resilient. The cumulative impact of the rise in cost of living, cuts to services and reduction in household income have continued to push children and young people towards poverty.

‘Total income raised in the year was £23.1m, representing growth of 14% compared to the previous 12 months. Service provision has grown in line with demand for services, as Kids Company policy is not to turn away any child in need. 2013 saw continued increase in demand for Kids Company services, leading to a 23% increase in expenditure on frontline service delivery. Although the charity has grown rapidly it has kept overhead costs to a minimum.’

Since the Charity’s demise a number of stories have appeared in the national press and on television that appear to highlight allegedly inadequate financial controls.

The Charity’s onetime Chief Executive, Carmila Batmangeilidjh has claimed that the charity’s collapse is the fault of the government, civil servants, and malicious coverage in the media. She has not explained why the charity breached the terms of a £3m bailout from the government which led to the money’s withdrawal.

In addition, it has not been made clear precisely why the charity failed to build up reserves when, according to its own reports cited above, the number of children in claimed to have helped had not risen even when its income had.

Herald Deputy Editor Jon Coles writes: Back in 2000, I was working for a recruitment agency’s litigation department. Kids Company had recruited using the agency but not paid. From memory, the sum involved was around £8,500.

My employers had sued, got judgement, I decided to send in what was then called the Sheriff to get the money. The Sheriff’s man rang me to say he had been given a tale of woe by the charity’s boss about how broke they were and left empty-handed. What did I want to do?

I usually dealt with debt write offs on a Friday and this was a Thursday. I told the Sheriff I would deal with it in the morning.

Sitting at home at 10:30pm, Newsnight came on BBC2. Imagine my surprise when Camila Batmanghelidjh appeared to announce how delighted she was that so much funding was coming in to the charity. Massive funding had been received and the future, according to Ms Batmanghelidjh was indeed bright.

I rang the Sheriff in the morning, told him to go back and serve a statutory demand threatening to wind up the charity if they did not pay.

Within a matter of hours, we had cleared funds in for the full amount plus costs and interest.

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Education

New independent sixth form opens in Haverfordwest

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A NEW independent sixth form is set to open in Haverfordwest in September 2021. The latest addition to Castle School, which relocated to Haverfordwest in 2020, the new sixth form will offer 20 different A Level subjects and a BTEC in business through bespoke study programmes that include options to study online or in the sixth form. Students will also get the option to complete work and study placements abroad.

The launch of the sixth form comes after a busy year for Castle School, which relocated from Narberth to Haverfordwest in September 2020, taking over and refurbishing Glenover House, a beautiful old ‘gentlemen’s residence’ that had been empty for five years. The move enabled the school to expand and increase its educational provision.

In addition to its main building, the school has a cookery school and performing arts facility in Snowdrop Lane, and a further site on Snowdrop Lane which is being specially converted to create the sixth form centre. The site will also include an indoor sports facility for whole school use.

The sixth form is designed with flexible study in mind: as well as offering a broad range of subjects and the ability to study online from any location, it will provide instant access study support as well as face to face teaching. In addition, students will get the option to study for one of their A Levels at Pembrokeshire College, in order to experience a different learning environment.

Other milestones for Castle School this year include the opening of a second independent school, Westward House, in St Clears and the purchase of a narrow boat, which will be moored on the Avon and Kennet canal. This will give pupils opportunities for short residential trips to Bristol, Bath and beyond.

“With a floating hotel licence, our newest acquisition will enable small groups of pupils to take their studies further afield and benefit from enhanced learning, extracurricular boating skills and a look at the wider world,” said Harriet Harrison, owner of Castle School and Westward House.

“Things have been tricky over the past year, but along with many others we have seen the difficulties of a world of Covid not as an opportunity for excuses but as a time for stepping up, working harder and making things better and stronger wherever possible. Our schools are thriving, and despite being desperate to get back to normal, we have used this time to improve our facilities for all the children in our care who are coming back after these long periods of lockdown and remote schooling. We can’t wait to see everyone.”

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Education

U-turn on compulsory lifesaving lessons in Welsh secondary education

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SCHOOLS in Wales will now teach first aid and lifesaving skills as part of the new curriculum.

Wales will join England and Scotland by introducing first aid and lifesaving kills to their national secondary education curriculum.

Kirsty Williams, Education Minister had previously rejected the calls for emergency resuscitation skills to be compulsory in school.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was introduced in the secondary school curriculum in England in September 2020.

Local authorities in Scotland have also committed to introduce lifesaving skills to their secondary education curriculum.

The British Heart Foundation had backed the campaign for CPR to be taught in schools.

In a long fought battle, Suzy Davies, a Welsh Conservative Member of the Senedd for South Wales West, secured the commitment from the Welsh Education Minister in the course of debating amendments to the new Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill, which will make sweeping changes to the way Welsh children are educated.

The new curriculum for Wales is planned to come into force from 2022.

Children, parents, families and medics have long argued that regular teaching of CPR in particular will raise our children to have the skills and confidence to step in and save the life of someone in cardiac arrest if they encounter them outside a hospital setting.

The commitment was included in the Welsh Conservative manifesto for the Assembly election in 2016, and Suzy Davies, the Shadow Education Minister, said:

“After 10 years campaigning for this, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

“From securing cross-party support for this in my early days as an Assembly Member, through several debates and pitches to different Ministers, on to my own proposed legislation which found favour among Senedd Members, it was difficult to understand why Welsh Government was so resistant.

“In this country, our chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside hospital are as poor as 10%. In countries around the world where teaching CPR and defibrillator use is compulsory, those odds improve dramatically. These skills are quick and easy to learn and easy to remember.

“ Alun Davies MS – himself a cardiac arrest survivor – has rightly argued that we should be able to learn these skills at any time in our lives and that defibrillators should be a commonplace feature of our public landscape. I couldn’t agree more – but how simple it is to ingrain these skills from an early age and raise generation after generation of lifesavers.”

Under the new curriculum, teachers must follow statutory guidance made by Ministers to support various aspects of the new way of teaching. After changes guaranteed by the Education Minister, this guidance will now instruct teachers that they should teach lifesaving skills and first aid: It is no longer optional.

The mandatory teaching of life saving skills and first aid (not just CPR) has been supported by the medical profession, including paramedics and fire service co-responders, as well as charities like St. John’s Cymru, British Heart Foundation, Calon Defibrillators, Cariad and the Red Cross.

It is taught through many youth groups, including Torfaen Sea Cadets who trained Aneurin Metcalfe, the young man who saved someone’s life only this week.

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Education

Styling their way to the top

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FOUR hairdressing learners: Holly Mathias, Jenna Kilgallon, Helaina Thomas and Leah Rees, recently earned themselves a place in the next stage of the Concept Hair Magazine Learner of the Year Competition.

The candidates were invited into the College to show their fully presented entries as evidence and then submitted them remotely to the Concept Hair Magazine judges in December.

The categories for the competition were: Festival Hair, Red Carpet, Old School Barbershop, Celebration of Colour and Safari.

The unique styles allowed the learners to show off their creative hair styling skills from plaits to updos, to bold colour creations.

Charlotte Jones, Hairdressing lecturer was over the moon with the learners’ success; “We were all so impressed with the creativity, dedication and enthusiasm of all the students who took part in the competition. Also, the students who supported the entries during the day and the models who gave up their time to be involved. They should all be very proud of what they have achieved. The results were amazing!”

The students worked to COVID regulations ensuring all the correct PPE and procedures were followed.

Finalist, Holly Mathias entered three categories which included; Styling Level 2 – Festival Theme, Hair Up Level 2 – Red Carpet and Avant Garde – Safari.

Holly shared her experience; “Taking part in the Concept Hair competition, has really boosted my confidence and proved that hard work really does pay off. The support from the staff at Pembrokeshire College is outstanding. I would recommend everyone to take part in this competition as not only is it an amazing experience, but it really allows you to think outside the box and be as creative as you can! I would 100% take part in this competition again.”

Holly plans to go into full-time employment when she completes her course and hopes to one day work on cruise ships or even own her own salon.

The next stage involves the candidates submitting photographic entries on the 12th March where six will be shortlisted for the national finals which is set to take place virtually in April.

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