British Red Cross launches fund following Grenfell Tower fire

16 Jun 2017 News

The British Red Cross has launched a London Fire Relief Fund to raise money to support those affected by the fire which engulfed Grenfell Tower on Wednesday.

The British Red Cross is also one of a number of charities whose staff and volunteers have been offering help and support to people affected by the fire on the scene.

So far 30 have been confirmed dead after the fire destroyed the tower block in Kensington, however this number is expected to exceed 60, with police suggesting that some victims may never be identified.

Officials said today that 24 people remained in hospital, 12 of whom were in a critical condition.

The British Red Cross said it has been asked by Kensington and Chelsea council to help co-ordinate fundraising in an appeal to support the residents and neighbours of the Grenfell Tower.

It said that money donated will be given to people affected by the fire, including those who have lost everything, to “buy the things they need to give themselves and their families as much normality as they can get at this extraordinarily difficult time”.

The British Red Cross said it will be leaning on its experience of co-ordinating emergency fundraising after the 7/7 bombing and more recently in Manchester and after the London Bridge attack. It said it will be working with the local authority to “create a mechanism to distribute funds to those in most need”.

It said that the fund is likely to follow a similar model to Manchester, with the British Red Cross using its experience in fundraising and working closely to support the council to develop the best mechanisms.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “The people living in Grenfell Tower have suffered an unimaginable tragedy. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost so much.

“We have already seen the incredible outpouring of support from the local community, greater London and the whole country.

“We are now launching this national appeal, together with Kensington and Chelsea Council, to support those people who have lost everything, so they can receive financial help as soon as possible.

“As well as launching this appeal we are also keen to use our convening power to bring partners together to work out the best way to raise funds and distribute them.

“We thank the UK for their continued generous support and overwhelming show of humanity in this time of need.”

Charities working on the scene

Yesterday the British Red Cross said it had volunteers on the scene, offering support there.

Jon Pewtner, Red Cross senior emergency response officer, said: “Nine volunteers from the British Red Cross are providing practical and emotional support, including breakfast items, at a rest centre for residents affected by the terrible fire this morning.

“More are on standby to provide further support to emergency services throughout the day.

“The atmosphere here is tense – people are worried about loved ones and many are coming to the realisation that they have lost their homes.

“The community is rallying round, with residents collecting food, drink and clothes, and everyone is asking each other if they can help, or if they need food. There is a good, strong community spirit.”

Muslim Aid said yesterday that it was responding to the situation and volunteers had already gone to the area, to offer help to the nearby Almanaar Muslim Centre and churches which are taking in those made homeless by the tragedy.

The Salvation Army was also one of the charities offering support on the ground. It had its emergency response vehicles on site to offer “support to all emergency service crews and provide guidance to members of the public looking for places of rest and safety”.

It said that Salvation Army volunteers were on hand to man its emergency response van while local Salvation Army corps (church) members were coordinating donations of food and refreshments for emergency services and donations of items such as toiletries for use by the designated rest centres.

It has also opened its own emergency appeal.

Homelessness charity Shelter said its priority was to work with partner organisations to offer free housing advice sessions to anyone whose home had been lost or damaged. It also encouraged anyone affected or in need of free housing advice to call its helpline.

Fundraising elsewhere

Justgiving announced yesterday that over £1.6m had been raised from victims of the fire, a number which has continued to rise considerably.

The Big Give is match funding donations raised for victims of Grenfell Tower Fire through the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation, in order to provide emergency and ongoing support to residents. It says it has raised over £1m so far, with over £60,000 of matched funds remaining.

Meanwhile, producer Simon Cowell has said that he intends to record a charity single to help the victims of the fire.

Cowell, who lives in the same London borough as the tower, tweeted yesterday: “We hope to confirm a record tomorrow which will raise some money for the many people affected by this tragedy,”

A special Night of Comedy will also be held at the Hammersmith Apollo in aid of people affected by the fire, it has been announced.

The line-up for the event which is due to take place on 27 June includes Jo Brand, Kevin Bridges, Alan Carr and Michael McIntyre.

Composer Hans Zimmer has also said he will donate proceeds of his London concert that took place last night at Wembley Arena.


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