Camila has been a bit of a personal heroine of mine for a while now. We live close to the estates in and around Peckham where Camila and Kids Company (which she founded in 1996) do most of their youth out-reach work.
Kids Company has gone into some of the most deprived areas of London and made a genuine movement of social change. Working with what she calls "lone children", children with effectively no functioning parent, Camila has inspired and empowered a generation. It was really eye-opening talking to her about the kids that she works with. She talked about Maslows hierarchy of needs and the fact that the majority of families that she works with are functioning at the most basic Survival level - worrying about paying the rent, if the bailiffs are on their way and whether their kids will be stabbed when they play outside.
I am interested in VCCP becoming a partner to Kids Company - offering financial support, but also providing work opportunities. One of the things that Camila was talking about was the fact that these kids need to have the opportunities to engage with a wider social and working world outside of their estates. We talked about offering kids the chance to come and do work experience in VCCP. I think its a brilliant idea. When we pitched the School Food Trust we had two teenagers from a Comprehensive in Deptford working with us on the pitch, it helped to keep us creatively and strategically honest and they provided a constant stream of brilliant ideas. They were also the people that we used to do research with other kids as we felt that teenagers open up much more honestly with other teenagers. They helped us win the pitch no doubt about it.
I'd be interested to know if any other agencies do something like this either with Kids Company or other organizations like Kids Company.