We have abandoned boys to a surreal and terrifying landscape where gang life offers protection A former gangster was returning home after dropping off his daughter at a play date. Suddenly he stiffened. Ahead, three boys in tracksuits and gloves — “Gloves mean a gun,” he explained — bounced up and down outside a friedContinue reading “Teenagers are dying from our failure to confront London violence”
Too many prisoners rejoin society with no education, stable housing or job prospects. No surprise that more than half reoffend within a year. I was walking through Soho with a friend, an ex-con from south London now in his 40s. Suddenly what looked like a pile of old clothes rose up from the pavement and hailedContinue reading “How Top Boys topple down crime’s ladder”
‘Drillers’ have turned death into a money-making industry A young man in a grey tracksuit and silver mask looks straight at the camera. He is flanked by others in black anoraks, heads jabbed sideways, moving to the beat. The young man raises his hand and curls it into the shape of a gun. ‘Bang, bang,Continue reading “Drill, the brutal rap that fuels gang murder”
The rise in rough sleeping is a complex cocktail of immigration, crime and despair. On the streets of Manchester on a bitterly cold day, I met a teenage couple, in love but on the streets. Both had been in care. His leg was in plaster after a punch up. She was on the way toContinue reading “The homeless are not all helpless victims – and their needs are more complex than we admit”
They Trustees share the same legal obligations as company directors, writes Harriet Sergeant. Whose job is it to regulate the angels? When Kids Company, which helped deprived inner-city children, imploded last year, one of a slew of recent scandals in the charity sector, it became clear that none of the regulatory bodies — the government,Continue reading “Charity trustees should know when things are going wrong”
How do you know if a charity is changing lives? The government clearly has no idea. How do we judge a charity? Very badly, it turns out. Until The Spectator revealed the full horror of Kids Company in July, not even the press had asked hard questions of the charity or its founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh. The subsequent politicalContinue reading “How to spot a charity snake”
To children, MPs and celebrities, Kids Company head Camila Batmanghelidjh seemed every inch the mother-figure. But is she a saint or sinner? Harriet Sergeant, who’s reported on the charity for a nearly decade, explains all. Charismatic, warm and cuddly in bright dazzling clothes, she cut an exotic but nurturing mother figure – as far awayContinue reading “Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh: How the world fell for this ‘ultimate matriarch’”
A genius for seducing the rich: Kids Company founder was expert at convincing wealthy to help vulnerable youngsters, says HARRIET SERGEANT
Nearly a decade has passed since I first met Camila Batmanghelidjh. She was holding a meeting with a dozen businessmen, and I watched astounded as she dazzled them with a lecture about her theories concerning emotional development and violent behaviour in young people. When she excused herself to take a call from one of theContinue reading “A genius for seducing the rich: Kids Company founder was expert at convincing wealthy to help vulnerable youngsters, says HARRIET SERGEANT”
There is no doubt that many of Kids Company’s staff do a heroic job. But to succeed, charities need scrutiny as much as public support. Camila Batmanghelidjh, the flamboyant founder of Kids Company, is stepping down after 20 years as its chief executive. It is a dramatic departure: the Cabinet Office refused to hand overContinue reading “Kids Company: Did good PR mask deeper failings?”
Tuggy Tug declared: ‘I can’t wait to get out of this place because I won’t be coming back’. I was standing on a street corner last week with a young man called Tuggy Tug. His face displayed an emotion I had never before associated with this 21-year-old leader of a south London gang during theContinue reading “The big idea that may redeem Tuggy Tug”
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