Volunteer warns of ‘devastating effect’ should Kids Company Treehouse centre close

Paul Waldmann volunteered for Kids Company for nine years

Paul Waldmann volunteered for Kids Company for nine years - Credit: Archant

A long-serving volunteer at a children’s centre has warned its sudden closure will have a “devastating effect” on the lives of the vulnerable children it helps.

The Treehouse in Fordwych Road. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Treehouse in Fordwych Road. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Paul Waldmann, a furniture maker from Cambridge, has run workshops at the Treehouse in Fortune Green for years.

The centre was run by Kids Company but closed last Wednesday when the charity was shut down amidst financial troubles.

Mr Waldmann says he was “shocked” to hear of its closure, telling the Ham&High: “It will have a devastating effect on the young people we were helping.

“A major part of the work we did was building up trust with some of the hardest to reach kids. These are kids who come from broken homes and gangs, or who may have mental health problems, and we offered a sanctuary to them. And suddenly that’s not there anymore.

Coldplay has been in talks to rescue the centre

Coldplay has been in talks to rescue the centre - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images


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“These are young people who have been badly let down in the past, often by adults. And if they keep getting let down, it will tarnish their outlook on life. I fear all that work we did to build back their trust will have been blown away for good by this closure.”

He added: “I was gutted to hear the centre, and Kids Company, were closing. We’re all still going through a bereavement process as it was such a shock. We knew things had to change but the problems were in the background of an increasing number of young people coming through the door, some of which was due to government cuts.

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“The main problem is that in this kind of work, it’s difficult to quantify outcomes. We often won’t see the rewards five to 10 years down the line and we couldn’t provide a nice, neat paper trail for those who wanted it.”

Coldplay, a band which has been providing millions to help fund the Treehouse over the years, is currently in talks to rescue the centre.

Mr Waldmann said:“It would be fantastic if they could. They have been tremendously supportive to us over the years.”

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