Coram CEO Dr Carol Homden interviewed for ‘How to Lead’ feature in today’s FT

Published: Monday 30th March 2020

In an extended interview in today’s Financial Times, Coram CEO Dr Carol Homden explains how Coram has grown from being a relatively narrow focused charity which concentrated on providing alternative care for children into a Group that has grown by amalgamation, containing nine (soon to be ten) organisations all working to create better chances for children.

Dr Homden was the subject of the FT’s ‘How to Lead’ feature, examining how charities can expand while avoiding the risk of smaller organisations coming in and suffering loss of identity as a consequence. 

Setting out how Coram has avoided such pitfalls, Dr Homden said: “We’re extremely clear about what we are trying to do. We are trying to create better chances for children. It’s not about taking out the competition, which M&A (mergers and acquisitions) very often is, nor asset stripping . . .[we are] bringing in distinctiveness and innovation, and then changing the receiving body as a result of that new injection into its DNA.”

To achieve this, she says, you have to be very clear about the common strategic goal and the values. “We are the oldest children’s charity in the world [founded in 1739]; we are not merging with anyone. It’s not about the money, it’s about the benefit. There is no ‘us and them’ — there is only ‘us’.”

Dr Homden also addresses how Coram is dealing with the impact of coronavirus. My immediate priority is keeping the operation focused on delivery. It’s a very challenging time now for the nation, but no doubt we shall together come through that and recover. The virus should not distract from the work in hand.”

She concludes by setting out that Coram has just launched its “Call for Change”, marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and there is a long way to go to secure a better future for children. “Life chances are better for children than ever, but children are still dying of hunger, children are still being bombed, children are still being abused and trafficked around the world, despite the UNCRC being the most ratified convention in the history of conventions. As Nelson Mandela said, the true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children.”

To read the full interview, visit Financial Times (£).