Grenfell Tower fire money ‘not reaching survivors’

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Grenfell Tower

Donations made since the Grenfell Tower fire in west London two months ago are not reaching survivors quickly enough, campaigners have said.

Charity Commission figures show that less than 15% of the £18.9m raised has been given to people who lost their homes and loved ones.

The commission said there were initial difficulties contacting those affected, and others had yet to come forward.

The commission regulates charities and charitable funds in England and Wales.

Millions of pounds worth of donations were pledged by concerned members of the public in the days following the Grenfell fire in the early hours of 14 June, which claimed at least 80 lives.

The funds were intended to help people who has lost family members in the blaze as well as Grenfell residents who survived but had lost their home and possessions.

With so much money given, and several charitable groups working to provide immediate support for those caught up in the aftermath, the commission stepped in to advise how best to distribute funds to those affected.

The latest Charity Commission figures, eight weeks on from the fire, show only £2.8m has been handed out.

‘Not fast enough’

The body said charities now want to work with survivors to discuss how the remaining funds should be spent long-term.

But in the Grenfell community there is growing anger and frustration, as many believe some charities are not being completely transparent.

Yvette Williams, of the Justice 4 Grenfell group, said: “It’s definitely not been fast enough.

“The survivors are raising it more and more: where’s the money, who’s distributing it, why aren’t they distributing it, how have they been chosen to distribute it, what’s the criteria for distribution, and how are you communicating with the people who should be receiving that money?

“Information isn’t transparent. They have to beg for information and it’s still not clear the background of it, or how they’re going forward with it.”

The Red Cross and the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation each raised £5.75m, and the Evening Standard newspaper fund collected more than £6.7m.

The London Emergencies Trust, which was overseeing the channelling of those three funds, announced in July that it was processing four types of interim payment. They were:

  • £20,000 to the next of kin of those who died in the fire
  • £10,000 to those hospitalised for a week or more
  • £3,500 to those hospitalised for more than six hours
  • A “fresh start” grant of £10,000 per family when they are permanently rehoused

Charity Commission chief operating officer David Holdsworth said: “We have been working to help charities co-ordinate 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.”

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