Where to shop this weekend to help London children

Jennifer Howze with Camila Batmanghelidjh

Me with Kids Company's Camila Batmanghelidjh

When you go out shopping for affordable, thoughtful and delightful gifts for family and friends this weekend, you can also help give to Kids Company, the charity that helps disadvantaged children.

The usual sidewalk scrum at Oxford and Regent Streets will be replaced with a completely pedestrianized experience, with the streets closed to traffic. It’s called the American Express Shop West End VIP (very important pedestrian) Weekend, and every time shoppers use their Amex card at retailers in the area over the weekend, American Express will donate ¬£1 to Kids Company.

At the centre of the weekend is a 30-hour West End Christmas Carol-A-Thon  (featuring singers named Carol), also raising money for Kids Company.

I met Camilla Batmanghelidjh, the inspirational founder of Kids Company, recently and she spoke movingly of the work Kids Company does. Many of the 4 to 18-year-olds they help look after has suffered severe emotional or physical neglect. It provides meals, counseling, activities and support for children that they don’t get at home.

While Kids Company works with children throughout the year, over the holidays its work is especially vital. These children often are left out of holiday celebrations, some looking after themselves or siblings on their own. It organises a Christmas Day meal and activities all through that day – including transportation for the children to come, games, gifts and friendship.

Last year's West End VIP DayIt’s impossible to read about the work the charity does and the children it helps without being moved. You can sponsor elements of the Kids Company Christmas party (turkey, baubles, stockings), then give additionally while doing your shopping in the festive and fun atmosphere of West End VIP Weekend.

Kids Company

American Express West End VIP Weekend



I’m a journalist and blogger. Previously I was The Times’s online lifestyle editor and Alpha Mummy blogger. Now I’m co-founder of BritMums and BritMums Live! – our annual blogging conference that draws hundreds. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google Profile+


  1. December 8, 2011 / 6:50 pm

    What great work they are doing. We do a couple of toys drives here, donating toys to a number of children in Oakland including refugee children.

  2. December 8, 2011 / 7:18 pm

    What a fabulous idea! The mighty Amex doing something super-worthwhile is something I can definitely subscribe to. I will try and make it into London, it sounds like a lovely event too.

      • April 10, 2013 / 4:50 am

        Right on-this helped me sort tihgns right out.

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