Grenfell Tower Fire Response

On the morning of the fire and in the days following ClementJames was a rest centre, providing crisis support to those who were made homeless: collecting and distributing clothing, food, water, mobile phones, emergency funds and other essentials.

In the weeks after the fire we continued to distribute emergency cash and physical donations and we created a safe space for survivors and the local displaced residents to gather and receive comfort and reassurance.  In addition, the centre provided advice and guidance, disseminating the latest information and made available safe spaces for traumatised residents and grieving relatives.  Since then, we have resumed our day-to-day operations whilst still providing support to those directly affected as detailed below.

Staff with specialist roles

Howard Taylor (a member of our senior leadership team) has been seconded to Grenfell United, the official organisation representing the survivors and bereaved, to support the group.

Tess Barkhan (a member of our delivery team) worked between ClementJames and the Rugby Portobello Trust between December 2017 and June 2018, providing a Community Links service – to support Grenfell survivors to access financial support and wellbeing services, to resettle into new permanent accommodation and to rebuild their lives.

Specialist services offered at the centre

In response to the fire and the local community’s needs, we are hosting a number of specialist services on site:

  • Crosslight debt advice & guidance
  • Citizens Advice Bureau – for those in receipt of charitable funding
  • Child Bereavement UK – Adult and Children workshops
  • Latimer Art Therapists
  • NHS Cognitive Behaviour Therapists

We also:

  • have recently employed a Young People’s Counsellor to deliver counselling support on-site twice a week.
  • have extended our weekly drop-in Group Wellbeing Clinic – providing NADA ear acupuncture, relaxation and health and wellbeing advice with a qualified practitioner.
  • offer regular therapeutic Gardening sessions in our beautiful community gardens
  • provide a weekly Coffee Morning for local adults

What we did to support local residents during the months after the fire

We organised holidays, day trips and outings – including a day trip to Margate, holidays to Cornwall, cinema trips, Star Wars premiere etc.

To support local kids during the summer holidays we expanded our young people’s summer provision and Carnival Arts programme.  We also provided a Young person’s art programme in partnership with the Rugby Portobello Trust.

Leading up to the six-month anniversary of the fire, we helped with the organisation of and distribution of tickets for the National Memorial Service at St Paul’s Cathedral on 14th December 2017.

We have facilitated numerous meetings on site, including:

  • Nick Hurd MP drop-in
  • Councillor Meetings
  • Grenfell United Meetings
  • Listening Project

In addition, The ClementJames Centre provided access to funding for survivors and displaced.  This included initial cash distributions (funds from our own donors, K&C Foundation and the Evening Standard’s Dispossessed Fund totalling nearly £80,000) and we have completed Family Action grant applications and Turn2Us applications for over 200 households totalling over £500,000.  We have also held and administered funds for Grenfell United (until they are fully established and able to hold funds themselves). We continue to report on the receiving and distribution of funds to the Charity Commission.

We continue to provide counselling for ClementJames staff as tragically we lost 24 students and their families from our centre.

How else we remain involved

We are currently supporting the Grenfell Heritage Project – looking at the preservation of notices of condolence etc. and we have produced a book of photographs of the hundreds of notes that were placed around the ClementJames premises.

We have provided support and run focus groups with children and young people at the centre considering the Lancaster West redevelopment. A series of sessions were held at the centre for children and young people to express their thoughts and ideas and our staff ran an engagement activity at the Ideas Day held at the leisure centre. We also helped coordinate the making of the children and young people’s film which focused on the future of the Lancaster West estate.

We have been involved in civil contingency discussions including a meeting of charities with Tracy Crouch MP, the Charity Commission round table at the Ministry of Justice, and an NCVO round table.

We are involved in the development of a local Legacy Project to establish a Tech Hub with the K&C Foundation and other local partner organisations.