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14 August 2015

Friday 14th August 2015

As with many people, my last two weeks have been dominated by the closure of Kids Company and how we ensure that the children, young people and families affected by the service get the support that they need. We have been working alongside Kids Company, Local Authorities, Cabinet Office, London Youth member youth clubs and other voluntary sector agencies to ensure a quick and collaborative response to need.

As well as learning about the workings of the media the overriding insight that I am taking away is a positive one: I have been so impressed by the positive, practical and collaborative way that all agencies have worked together at speed and through complexity for the good of young people and communities.

These are just some examples…

  • The Kids Company Staff who are volunteering with absolute professionalism to ensure local organisations understand the need and services that were being provided and can be best placed to fill the gaps.
  • The Local Authority Commissioners and Youth Service teams in Southwark and Lambeth who are working seamlessly at speed across departments with a lack of bureaucracy and a real focus on the needs of the communities they serve.
  • London Youth member youth organisations and other local services who are coming together at short notice to offer up their (already stretched) resources – venues and minibuses and food and a plethora of opportunities for young people to access support and activities.
  • Larger voluntary sector organisations offering their resources to support the smaller ones and help smooth the process.
  • Concerned private funders asking how they can help.
  • And the civil servants from the Cabinet Office doing their best to understand exactly what the situation is and facilitate locally led responses that meet children and young people’s needs.

As far as I have seen, all of these players have come together without ego or agenda and are working quickly and collaboratively to ensure young people are safe, supported and stimulated in the coming weeks and months.

This is a very sad time for all those involved in Kids Company and the families they served. My hope is that if we can take something good out of this it is a shining example of how care, commitment and collaboration across the public and voluntary sector can deliver real impact for communities.

This builds on the collaboration and commitment we have already seen from organisations in developing the Vision for Young Londoners.

If you're a young person or know someone affected by the closure of Kids Company, you can find a list of alternative services here