12 June 2018
Press release - British Red Cross and the Grenfell Tower Fire
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The British Red Cross will be standing in solidarity with the people of London as they come together in remembrance one year on from the Grenfell Tower fire.
Last year saw one of the largest humanitarian responses by the British Red Cross here in the UK since World War Two. In the aftermath of the fire at Grenfell Tower we deployed over 630 volunteers, who supported over 1,700 people affected by this terrible tragedy.
Our volunteers worked alongside and in solidarity with the emergency services and local community to provide first aid at the scene, give emotional and practical support to bereaved families and those affected by the fire, manage a 24-hour support line, reconnect families and sort through 200 tons of items generously donated by the British public.
After Kensington and Chelsea Council were replaced to lead the Grenfell response, the British Red Cross became the primary source of public information, at the request of and on behalf of the authorities.
Through the generosity of the public, the British Red Cross raised £7.3m through its London Fire Relief Fund to help those who had been left injured, bereaved, or homeless by the disaster.
Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross, said: “The Grenfell Tower fire brought incalculable trauma and loss to so many people. It was a tragedy that shocked the nation, and the suffering of the victims and their families is by no means over.
“The events of last year were some of most challenging times in our recent history. The British Red Cross responded on an unprecedented scale, providing 24-hour support to victims, reconnecting families, raising £7.3m for those in need, and sorting through some 200 tonnes of donated goods.
“Our experience not only at Grenfell, but also in responding to the terror attacks in Manchester and London, taught us that in times of national emergency, we must form common cause with community organisations and statutory services to coordinate help to those in need. They need ease of access to support and the public needs to know how to best to share their kindness.
"For all of us in the charity sector, it is our duty to come together to make this whole process as simple and effective as possible. By moving to establish a national fundraising appeal and a single support line for those affected we can ensure people in crisis know where to go for information and the public feels confident their donations will make a difference.”
Our role supporting victims, families and the emergency services at the Grenfell Tower Fire
- In the aftermath of the fire at Grenfell Tower, the British Red Cross deployed 631 volunteers, who supported over 1700 people.
- Our staff and volunteers helped set up and were based at the Westway Community Assistance Centre providing emotional and practical support to those who lost loved ones or were affected by the fire.
- We were part of a multi-agency team, which developed and ran the Family and Friends Assistance Centre to support bereaved families and their friends in a safe and secure environment.
- Our Family Reunion teams helped families from abroad connect with their loved ones or attend funerals.
- We successfully asked the government to offer a 12-month amnesty to those Tower residents without leave to remain in the UK, to give them time to recover from the trauma.
- Our teams worked with the NHS to perform outreach work to identify people who had not yet accessed support.
- At London’s hospitals our support included assisting discharges to make beds available for victims and providing emotional and practical support in the hospital.
Our role in raising money for the victims
- The British Red Cross set up the London Fire Relief Fund raising £7.3 million in total to date, thanks to generous donations from the public and organisations.
- The funds have been distributed to the bereaved and injured through the London Emergencies Trust (LET), a grant-giving body, and the Rugby Portobello Trust who distributed some of the funds to the households from Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk.
- The British Red Cross has, to date, transferred £6.9m to the LET and Rugby Portobello Trust, and made £100,000 available for family reunion.
- Payments have now been made to all bereaved families, apart from a few more complex cases that are taking a little bit longer due to their nature, for example involving minors. We’re working with LET to determine how to spend the remaining funds in the best way possible.
Our role sorting and selling donated clothes to raise money for victims
- In addition to the London Fire Relief Fund, we also sorted through over 200 tonnes of donated items – enough to fill three football pitches.
- 41 tonnes of items were sorted and returned to the community for distribution.
More than 100 tonnes were sorted and sold in 140 British Red Cross shops across the country, labelled as ‘Shop for Grenfell’.
- One hundred per cent of the £226,000 raised from the sale of these items in our shops went to our London Fire Relief Fund to support the victims of the fire.
- 66 tonnes of items were recycled and all money made was put back into the fund.
Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives. www.redcross.org.uk