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The Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund today announced a £2 million top-up package to Grenfell Tower survivors.
It brings the total paid to each family from our fund to £25,000.
The extra payments came as Theresa May promised “justice” for Grenfell victims and their families as she unveiled the terms of reference of the public inquiry into the inferno.
The inquiry, which officially starts today, will cover the cause and spread of the fire, the tower’s design, building and safety regulations and whether they were followed – and also the response to the tragedy by the London Fire Brigade, Kensington and Chelsea council and the Government.
The Prime Minister said: “It is vital that there is justice for the victims of this appalling tragedy and for their families who have suffered so terribly.”
Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the inquiry’s chairman, will hold a preliminary hearing on September 14 and is aiming to publish an initial report on the fire’s cause and how it spead with such devastation by Easter next year.
Of the £6.2 million raised by our appeal, £5.2 million has been allocated within two months of the fire. This comprises £4 million direct to survivors and £1.2 million to the London Emergencies Trust for payments to next of kin and the injured as part of a joint initiative overseen by The Charity Commission.
Survivors praised the Evening Standard for the “speed, rigour and humanity” of response. Nicholas Burton, 50, who lived on the 19th floor of the tower, said: “The Dispossessed Fund has been the driving force in getting money to us.
“It has minimised the bureaucracy and made it smooth and easy. At a time when everything else is difficult, I can’t tell you how important that is.”
At a meeting in Kensington attended by more than 100 survivors, the Charity Commission and the charities, the Dispossessed Fund received repeated applause from former tower residents, as did our partner, The London Community Foundation, and the two community groups we work with to disburse the funds, the Rugby Portobello Trust (RPT) and the National Zakat Foundation (NZF). “You consulted, you listened and you acted quickly and with humanity,” they said.
Survivor Paul Menacer added: “I want to thank readers of the Standard who have been so generous and the Dispossessed Fund in particular for the fantastic job it is doing for us survivors at this tremendously difficult time.”
Further payments from other charities due to go out later this week include £10,000 per family from the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation and £2,000 from Artists for Grenfell.
It means that each of the 158 survivor families will be paid a further £25,000 this week and will have received relief totalling £37,000 to help rebuild their lives.
All the latest payments will be distributed, as before, by RPT and NZF.
Mark Simms, chief executive of Rugby Portobello Trust, said: “This will be welcome news for the people of Grenfell Tower and we will ensure that the incredible generosity of Londoners reaches the families swiftly so that they can start the process of rebuilding their lives.”
He reiterated that families would not need to physically present themselves to receive payment. “Together with Zakat, we have most of the families’ bank details. We will contact each family about the grant and arrange to effect a bank transfer.”
Russell Delew, chief executive of The London Community Foundation, said: “Since the start of this tragedy, the Dispossessed Fund and The London Community Foundation have distributed public donations for the immediate need to overcome hardship suffered by survivors of Grenfell Tower and to give them a fresh start.
“These top-up payments will offer further relief. We will continue to work in partnership with the charity commission and the survivors to make sure we take into account all of their needs.”
The remaining unallocated £1 million will be retained to allow for due consideration of special cases, including those of children orphaned in the fire and next of kin for people killed.
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