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Grenfell: The Long-Term Response

The response to the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund Grenfell Tower Emergency Appeal has surpassed all our expectations. Members of the public, corporations and charitable foundations have all been moved to donate. Musicians have come together, with the help of Simon Cowell, to record a single under the banner ‘Artists for Grenfell’. Over £5 million has been raised to date.

The immediate response from funders like us has rightly been on getting support quickly to the residents of the tower. In the week following the fire, the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund had committed over £1.4 million to them directly.

The sum of money raised means that, whilst we cater for the immediate needs of residents, we must start thinking about our long-term approach.

This has occupied my mind over the past few days. I don’t yet have the fully formed answers, but I can make one cast iron commitment: residents need to be centrally involved.

One of the salient themes from this disaster is that local people weren’t listened to by a host of different agencies. This systematic disempowerment cannot continue.

What might this involvement look like in practice? We’re in the very early stages of discussing this with residents of Grenfell Tower. It could mean residents working with funders to design and conduct a community consultation, the results of which will tell us what the money should be spent on.

It will certainly mean that residents will be directly involved in decisions about grant-making, through local committees or other mechanisms, such as online voting.

As you can imagine, the community will be immersed in this tragedy for the foreseeable future and the process of working with residents will take time. But our commitment to this principle is steadfast and we’re in it for the long haul. 

- Manny Hothi, Director of Programmes and Strategic Partnerships 

Published on 30 June 2017

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