Camila Batmanghelidjh

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Camila Batmanghelidjh
Camila Batmanghelidjh plenary.jpg
Camilla Batmanghelidjh in 2011
Born c. 1963
Known for Charity executive and author in the United Kingdom
Camila Batmanghelidjh's voice
Recorded January 2013 from the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs

Camila Batmanghelidjh, CBE (/kəˈmɪlə bætmænˈɡɛlɨ/; Persian: کامیلا باتمانقلیچ‎‎ Kamylā Batmanghelych; born c. 1963) is an Iranian-born author and charity executive in the United Kingdom. She is best known as the founder of Kids Company, a charity which, until its financial collapse in August 2015,[1] worked with inner-city children and young people in the UK.

Early life[edit]

Batmanghelidjh was born in Iran. Her mother was a Belgian, whilst her father was the Iranian doctor Fereydoon Batmanghelidj. She was born two-and-a-half months premature and claims that as a result this made her severely dyslexic.[2]

She attended Sherborne Girls School, an independent school in Dorset.[3] She attended the University of Warwick where she received a first class degree in Theatre and the Dramatic Arts.[4] At the age of 25 she was employed as a part-time psychotherapist in a project in Camberwell, south London, funded by Children in Need.[4] She has claimed to have been practising psychotherapy for more than twenty years, although she has apparently no formal qualifications on or membership in professional self-regulatory organisations with regards to psychotherapy.[5][6]

Charity work[edit]

Place2B school charity[edit]

In 1991, Batmanghelidjh established The Place to Be (now Place2Be), a charity working with troubled children in primary schools.[7][8] Place2Be had originated from a Southwark Family Service Unit (FSU) "The Place to Be", placing a counsellor in a primary school.[9]

Camilla resigned from and left the charity in 1995.[8] She was replaced by Benita Refson.[9]

Place2Be now reaches 80,000 children, working in 235 schools across the UK.[10][10]

Southwark's Urban Academy[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′51″N 0°04′59″W / 51.4974°N 0.0831°W / 51.4974; -0.0831 The Urban Academy was a post-16 educational and life skills academy at 34 Decima Street in, Southwark, south London. It was founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh and was run by her Kids Company organisation. The college ended on 5 August 2015 due to allegations Kids Company has faced in recent years.[11][12][13][14]

Kids Company[edit]

Main article: Kids Company

In 1996, after leaving the Place2Be, Batmanghelidjh founded Kids Company, a charity that provided care to children whose lives had been disrupted by poverty, abuse and trauma. Originally a single drop-in centre in Camberwell, Kids Company claimed that it helped some 36,000 children, young people and families, although this figure is disputed and the organisation is said to have reached only 1,600 children.[15] The charity operated through a network of street level centres, alternative education centres, therapy houses and with over 40 schools in London and Bristol as well as a performing arts programme in Liverpool.[16]

Deborah Orr, in an interview with Batmanghelidgh, reported in 2012 that fifteen independent evaluations of Kids Company had found that 96 per cent of children assisted return to education and employment and an "impact on crime reduction" of 88 per cent.[4]

In July 2015 a report by Newsnight and BuzzFeed revealed that public funding for Kids Company was to be withheld unless Batmanghelidjh was replaced.[17] On 3 July it was reported that Batmanghelidjh would step down as chief executive in the next few months and continue in a "presidential" role.[18][19]

On 5 August 2015, Kids Company closed its operations[20] less than a week after receiving a government grant of £3,000,000. The charity was given the money against the advice of officials, who had raised concerns about value for money and how it would be spent.[21] The charity had announced that it was closing down because "it is unable to pay its debts as they fall due”.[22]

Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper in August 2015, Camila Batmanghelidjh said she hoped Kids Company could make a comeback after some restructuring and once the media storm had died down.[23]

In mid-August 2015, Batmanghelidjh announced that she would be opening a food bank in Lambeth, south London. She said fifty former staff had volunteered to help run the pop-upKids Dining Room in Loughborough Junction to provide food for up to 3,000 children and young people. Approximately 200 people used the service while it was open. [24][25]

Recent investigations[edit]

As part of a greater investigation by the Charities Commission, the National Audit Office (NAO) and PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC UK) were commissioned by the Commission to investigate the collapse of Kids Company. Mrs Batmanghelidjh was reported to have had a £90,000 salary at Kids Company for 2014-2015.[26][26][27][27] Camilla blamed a media and civil service led smear campaign for the demise of her charity and its "exceptional value" on 29/10/2015.[27][27]

Awards and honours[edit]

Batmanghelidjh receiving an honorary degree from the Open University in 2008

In 2009 Batmanghelidjh was named Businesswoman of the Year by the Dods and Scottish Widows Women in Public Life Awards.[28] She has also received Ernst and Young's Social Entrepreneur of the Year award (2006),[citation needed] Third Sector magazine's Most Admired Chief Executive (2007)[citation needed] and the Centre for Social Justice's lifetime achievement award in 2009.[citation needed] Batmanghelidjh has been awarded honorary degrees and doctorates by several universities including York St John University,[29] the Open University,[30] Brunel University,[31] London South Bank University[32] and Nottingham Trent University.[33]

In February 2013, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[34] In the same month, she was appointed an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to children and young people.[35] In September 2014 she became an Honorary Fellow of UCL.[36]


  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (2007). Shattered Lives. London: Jessica Kingsley. ISBN 1-8431-0603-5. 
  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (2013). Mind the Child. London: Particular Books, Penguin Random House. ISBN 1-8461-4655-0. 


  1. ^ Rothwell, James (2015-08-07). "Kids Company boss Camila Batmanghelidjh turned HQ into private 'Aladdin's den'". Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-10-16. 
  2. ^ Interview by Deborah Orr (3 January 2009). "Colourful character: Camila Batmanghelidjh on her unique approach to charity work – Profiles – People". The Independent. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "How to Make a Difference". 3 August 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Deborah Orr, "Colourful character: Camila Batmanghelidjh on her unique approach to charity work" The Independent, Saturday 3 January 2009
  5. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh". UK in Albania. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "QUENTIN LETTS on colourful Kids Company questioning in Parliament". Mail Online. Retrieved 2015-10-16. 
  7. ^ Sally Williams (27 September 2007). "Place2B: It's Goood to Talk". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "The early years of Place2Be". Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "The early years of Place2Be". 
  10. ^ a b "What We Do". The Place2B. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Mirror Online: The intelligent tabloid. #madeuthink". Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ [2][dead link]
  14. ^ "Kids Company's Camila Batmanghelidjh Paid Greater Proportion Of Income Than Britain's Top Charities". Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  15. ^ "The inside story of how The Spectator broke the Kids Company scandal". The Spectator. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  16. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh: ‘I chose the vocation’". The Guardian. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Chris Cook (3 July 2015). "Kids Company's Camila Batmanghelidjh asked to step down by government". BBC News. 
  18. ^ Patrick Butler (3 July 2015). "Camila Batmanghelidjh to leave Kids Company, citing political 'ugly games'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  19. ^ John Bingham (5 July 2015). "Kids Company under new Charity Commission scrutiny amid fears for its future". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "Kids Company: '£3m donation withdrawn amid police probe'". BBC News. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  21. ^ "Kids Company charity in closure warning – BBC News". Retrieved 2015-10-16. 
  22. ^ Oliver Wright (5 August 2015). "Kids Company: Camila Batmanghelidjh lashes out at 'ill-spirited ministers' as she announces the organisation is about to go bankrupt". The Independent. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  23. ^ "Kids Company could return after a 'restructure’". The Daily Telegraph. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  24. ^ "Camila opens food kitchen as taxpayer faces £25m Kids Company bill". The Sunday Times. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  25. ^ "Is-start-Kids-Company-2-0-Volunteers-closed-charity-open-pop-dining-room-handing-food-parcels-150-people.html". The Daily Mail. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "Kids Company's Camila Batmanghelidjh Paid Greater Proportion Of Income Than Britain's Top Charities". The Huffington Post UK. 
  27. ^ a b c d "Kids Company: Ministers had report on charity's spending". BBC News. 
  28. ^ "Past winners 2009". Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  29. ^ Haydn Lewis (14 November 2013). "York St John University degree results – Day 2". The York Press. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "Honorary Graduates 2008". The Open University. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  31. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh – 2011". Brunel University London. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  32. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh Honorary Fellowship". London South Bank University. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  33. ^ "Charity leader Camila Batmanghelidjh to receive honorary degree". Nottingham Trent University. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  34. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Woman's Hour – The Power List 2013". Retrieved 2015-10-31. 
  35. ^ "2013 Honours List" (PDF). Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  36. ^ "Honorary Fellows of UCL". Retrieved 2015-10-16. 

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