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Can we talk about Camilla Batmanghedjh?

(184 Posts)
HarveySpectre Sun 05-Jul-15 05:24:47

Everywhere I look, she is getting totally crucified. Including on MN chat.
I don't get it. Even if she has been bad at financial accounts, she has still done amazing work for kids, for the last 19 years.

People are saying the money could have been 'better spent'. What the fuck do they know about what those kids need??

People are calling for measurable benefits I.e. Improved exam results, employment, reduction in offending/criminal activity. You cant link those things to whether a child should be fed! There is no 'measure of improvement' to providing basic need

To my mind KC thought outside the box and catered for those that absolutely needed help the most. You cant always do that effectively, by conventional methods

HarveySpectre Sun 05-Jul-15 05:26:32

And she is being criticised for being too charismatic confused

VikingVolva Sun 05-Jul-15 05:36:04

She's being criticised for not ensuring the charity for which she is near synonymous actually has a normal standard of governance.

Organisations don't get a free pass to fail to observe sector standards because of the sex of their founder.

AuntieStella Sun 05-Jul-15 05:41:22

Unfortunately, the long and active thread on this is in chat and will go pfft, but it's here if anyone wants to look at it:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/2416795-Government-cuts-hit-Kids-Company-and-Camila-Batmanghelidjh-is-stepping-down

The way she dismisses the fund-raising from the general public saddened me considerably. For that alone, I've crossed this charity off my list. My DC had supported it by selling the cakes she derides. Fortunately, I do not think they have seen that comment.

LassUnparalleled Sun 05-Jul-15 13:12:07

Harvey you said on the other thread "I'm a bit confused as to what people thought KC did?"

I looked at KC site sometime ago as I was unsure of what they actually did and wasn't any clearer afterwards.

Why are you posting this in FWR?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 05-Jul-15 13:17:32

But has she done "amazing work"?

I'm not being facetious but the issue seems to be that her work can't be quantified because the accounts aren't very good and there has been. I efforts by the charity to measure deliverability

That's absolutely fine if you're using your own money or private doners' cash and they're happy with that. Not acceptable with taxpayers' money.

And that is nothing to do with CB's sex, I feel sure a make charity head would have been treated exactly the same way

HarveySpectre Sun 05-Jul-15 13:24:26

My opinion is that CB probably is in a better position than most, to know what is the priority for the funds that the charity receive. I also, don't think she is unhinged or so version of meglamaniac and think her judgement is sound. I also think that there really shouldn't be measurable improvements in offending/exam grades etc attached to funding provisions like this

BUT, Regardless of my opinion; I still don't understand the vitriol. The nation has turned on her very quickly and easily. With no actual proof of any wrong doing. Its my understanding that she is standing down as well?

I think everyone has to move aside at some point. But why is she getting such a lashing?

LassUnparalleled Sun 05-Jul-15 13:38:38

The article below is from a few months'ago. Perhaps she is "getting a lashing" now because before she was untouchable.

www.spectator.co.uk/features/9437932/the-trouble-with-kids-company/

HarveySpectre Sun 05-Jul-15 14:28:38

That article is just she said-she said; with a woman who sold her house and donated the money?? confused

LassUnparalleled Sun 05-Jul-15 14:39:30

Not following your "she said comment"

The woman who sold her house is the woman CB has been talking about in the last few days as having mental health issues. Which seems irrelevant to the points being raised.

HarveySpectre Sun 05-Jul-15 14:46:18

Whether that woman has mental health issues is relevant, given what her claims are

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AlpacaPicnic Sun 05-Jul-15 14:53:21

The thing is, if it boils down to how well the money us being spent then any head of any organisation demanding funding from the government has to justify their demands. Nothing to do with that persons sex.

If someone is hungry and needs feeding, is it better to give them £10 and directions to Nandos, or is it better to spend that £10 on a days worth of healthy and nutritious meals.

Kvetch15 Sun 05-Jul-15 14:54:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LassUnparalleled Sun 05-Jul-15 14:57:08

One of her claims, if the Spectator article is accurate, that a proportion of her donation could not possibly have been spent in the the charity claimed.

Even if she has mental health issues a simple "I do not agree with Mrs x's interpretation of the facts" would have sufficed on national media.

Who knows, Mrs x may have mental health issues and still be correctly interpreting the situation.

In any case the issues raised by this woman are not the only ones.

HarveySpectre Sun 05-Jul-15 15:01:42

buffy ive never heard of Foucault before. But that is precisely my feelings around this. I haven't been able to articulate it though...tell me more

LassUnparalleled Sun 05-Jul-15 15:06:52

My motive is to offer another way of thinking about what's going on with all this, and to ask people to wonder who is actually benefiting from what's happening to this charity and whether they think what's going on is really OK

Well one of the questions being asked was "^who is benefitting from this charity?^". And one of the answers was "^36,000 people per annum^ " . A figure arrived at by methodology which has been challenged.

One of the issues raised by the donor alleged to have mental health issues is that it would be physically impossible to have spent the sum in the way claimed.

So as to who is benefitting from what is happening, well depending on your starting point - no-one if you think there is no case to answer or all users of its services, donors and tax payers if there is.

Kvetch15 Sun 05-Jul-15 15:10:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

almondcakes Sun 05-Jul-15 15:15:20

To feed 3,000 people a week, you would have to write up plans to order food and cook the right quantities at the right time on the right day

So it cannot be a massively complex task for that charity to give a breakdown of how, in a sixty seat dining area, they are feeding that many people in a week, what they are feeding them and when. They must already know this information!

It is either outright fraud or the whole thing is an utter shambles.

And they should give that woman her money back.

Garlick Sun 05-Jul-15 16:37:55

What a fantastic post, Buffy. Thank you for explaining so well.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 05-Jul-15 16:47:28

I said on the other thread that something about her puts me in mind of Erin Pizzey (but I realise quite a few people wouldn't know who EP is): charismatic, noisy, good at raising awareness but massively self-aggrandizing and inclined to seek flattery and admiration and believe in own super-powers.

Another comparison might be with Bob Geldof, whose charity work was also well-intentioned but didn't end up doing much good - and who also became percieved as a bullying ego-tripper.

It's starting to look as though Kids' Company, for all the noise and attention, hasn't actually been doing much good at all: trying to treat alienated, struggling, possibly-having-MH issues teenagers with magic beans and aromatherapy and 'love' was unlikely to work very well for very many, and if the supposed 'safe space' is full of them duffing one another up then it may not be that safe or therapeutic.

Garlick Sun 05-Jul-15 16:51:05

Kids Company deals with the most distressed; the most abused and confused. A huge amount of what it does is ongoing therapeutic work, both as 'therapy' and in providing a sane, balanced, supportive environment. That is staggeringly expensive - compare it, for example, with The Priory where confused rich kids get the same level of care.

Local authorities and the NHS refer children to Kids Company when the kind of highly structured and cost-accountable support they can provide is insufficient. I think that says a great deal about the quality of its services.

PipAndPosey Sun 05-Jul-15 16:58:29

As someone working in charity, and desperately trying to obtain grant funding for much needed services, I find this whole thing depressing. CB was clearly exploiting her relationships with government (which is her privilege and even her right) but this only makes things harder for new, unknown charities to get established. And I'm sorry but there has to be accountability when it comes to public money - she can't expect special treatment.

MehsMum Sun 05-Jul-15 17:00:31

Buffy, hats off for making Foucault make sense.

Suddenly a lot of waffle in an academic paper I read ages ago (and which has bugged me ever since) falls neatly into place.

Garlick Sun 05-Jul-15 17:04:02

No academic papers for me, Meh, but an overwhelming frustration with what I've been calling management by spreadsheet! Suddenly I have the exact explanation & language required smile

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