FOUNDER: Camila Batmanghelidjh
PLANS ARE being put in place to provide appropriate support for children and young people in Bristol who visited the former Kids Company drop-in venue, The Island.
Since the closure of Kids Company on August 5, local organisation Creative Youth Network has been commissioned by Bristol City Council to keep The Island open while it oversees a managed closure. Consequently, the facility will no longer be providing open access as the focus moves to one-to-one support where necessary ahead of its final closure on Friday, September 4.
Kids Company, created by Camila Batmanghelidjh, had 213 children and young people in total on its books at The Island. Of these, 110 were actively using the service over the past few months.
During the managed closure, the main focus has been on assessing the needs of young people which Kids Company reported as having complex needs. They are in the process of being assessed and offered the opportunity of alternative support from a range of agencies and charities.
George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol, said: “The sad closure of Kids Company left many questions unanswered, but now we are seeing a much clearer picture. Over the past few weeks many dedicated professionals have spent their time working with young people and thoroughly checking Kids Company records to make sure that appropriate support will continue to be available in Bristol to those who need it.”
He added: “Many of these professionals are former Kids Company staff and volunteers, along with others from many different charities and organisations. I am very grateful to all of them. Along with council officers and Creative Youth Network they have shown true dedication to supporting young people in the city.”
Cllr Brenda Massey, assistant mayor for people, explained: “Together we’ve taken every reasonable step to identify and provide future options for those who visited The Island, including ensuring appropriate support for vulnerable young people. The value of this - as opposed to a sudden overnight closure - cannot be underestimated. I am very grateful to everyone who has made this happen in such a short time.”
John Hirst, chair of Trustees for Creative Youth Network, noted: “We have been very pleased to provide continuing support and a tightly-managed assessment of the young people’s needs. Together with a great many other organisations in the city, we will continue to provide valuable services for young people in Bristol as we look collectively to the future. We are grateful for Bristol City Council’s support to enable us to effectively manage the closure of Kids Company.”
Wendy Stephenson, Chief Executive of Voscur added: “There was an understandable sense of concern when Kids Company closed, but right from the start organisations across Bristol have pulled together to respond. There is a thriving and dedicated voluntary sector in the city, with a large range of organisations offering all kinds of services. The reaction has been calm, positive and pragmatic, with many offers of longer-term help and support for young people.”