The Charity Commission has said that only 15 per cent of the total money raised by multiple fundraising organisations for the Grenfell Tower disaster has been distributed to those affected.
According to figures released last night by the Charity Commission, over £2.8m has so far been distributed by a number of different grantmaking bodies and charitable foundations to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.
This figure is around 15 per cent of the more than £18.8m which has so far been raised by fundraising charities overall. The Commission’s figures show that, of that £18.8m, a further £7.2m has been sent to “distributing organisations” by fundraising organisations.
The Charity Commission also released a table showing how much each organisation involved in the Grenfell Tower appeal have raised. Both the British Red Cross and the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation have so far raised in excess of £5.7m, while the London Community Foundation, in partnership with the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund have raised in excess of £6.7m.
Those organisations have distributed all but £17,000 of the total funds which have so far been distributed to grantmaking bodies working directly with the survivors and those affected by the disaster.
Charity Commission working to ‘coordinate’ the charity and grantmaking response
David Holdsworth, registrar of charities in England and Wales at the Charity Commission, said the regulator was working closely with these charities and others to help coordinate the response and get those affected access to the funds.
"We have been working to help charities coordinate their response so that those affected know where to go to get access to the funds that have been raised for them. As the regulator, we also ensure that funds are protected for those they are intended for.
“It is unusual for us to be involved in this way as regulator, but because of the urgent need of the victims of this tragedy, and because of the great generosity of the public who have given millions to different charities, it was right that we stepped in and helped charities work together in the best interests of those affected.
He said that charities involved in the relief appeal had found “initial difficulty” in contacting everyone affected and that there had been some confusion amongst residents as to how they could access the funds.
"Charities did find some initial difficulty in contacting everyone affected and we are aware that there has been some confusion amongst residents about the different funds. Partly this has been down to the unique circumstances and the difficulty in accessing accurate information to identify those who had been affected and need support.
“We have been working hard trying to ensure what is available, and how to apply, is communicated as widely as possible. However, the funds are there and they are available. We believe that these early difficulties are being overcome, the charities are now reaching people and further applications are being submitted and received.”
Many of those eligible ‘not yet ready to come forward’
Holdsworth also said that many of those who would be entitled to receiving financial assistance from the various funds “have not yet been ready to come forward to make applications”.
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“It is also important to bear in mind that some of those affected by the fire, who may be entitled to financial help from the charities, have not yet been ready to come forward to make applications. It is really important that this is handled sensitively and that people can come forward when they feel comfortable to.
“The charities are now trying to work with survivors and those affected to discuss how the remaining money should be distributed in order to meet the short, medium and long term needs of those affected by this awful tragedy."
Civil Society News understands that the Charity Commission has also been working behind the scenes to bring the various grantmaking and fundraising organisations involved in the appeal together with a group of surviving residents, who have called themselves Grenfell United.