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Age charities for under-fire

by on February 8, 2016

It has not been a good time for the charity sector in the UK recently – particularly it seems if you are a charity involved in helping out at either end of the age spectrum.  Both Kids Company and Age UK have, for very different reasons, been under scrutiny for their financial activities.

Kids Company was the subject of a lot of media coverage in the last few months and the subject of a recent BBC documentary which followed the last weeks and days of the charity’s operations.  There have been many reactions to this programme in the press, and I found it both interesting and disturbing in equal measure.  While the passion for the cause did not seem to fade among many staff and volunteers, there were some difficult questions to ask about the potential creation and continuation of dependency through the actions of handing out cash.  In some cases that this seemed to go on for years and well beyond childhood made me feel uneasy, though of course I recognize that we have only seen a very edited account.  Certainly those involved in Kids Company have strongly defended the charity and its aims in the media.

At the other end of the age scale are the recent commentaries on Age UK and their commercial activities, as reviewed here in the Guardian.  This issue also brings to the fore the extent to which actions by the charity were in the best interests of those who they are seeking to support.  It should be highlighted that Age UK have strongly denied any wrongdoing and provided a response on their webpages.


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