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The Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund today announced a £1.6 million package to be paid directly to Grenfell Tower survivors — as the Government confirmed that grants from our fund will not affect benefit claimants.
As the total raised by our fund soared past £6 million, it was determined that each of the 158 families who escaped the fire will be eligible to receive a £10,000 fresh-start grant to help them rebuild their lives.
The panel of the Dispossessed Fund agreed the package as Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke gave the clarification “that all payments made by the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund to Grenfell survivors will be disregarded for the purpose of benefits eligibility and have no impact on the benefits survivors receive”.
Payments will be made starting today by our partner, The London Community Foundation (LCF), and will be distributed to survivor families via two community groups, Rugby Portobello Trust (RPT) and the National Zakat Foundation (NZF), based at the Al-Manaar mosque. All payments will be by bank transfer only.
Where the money is going
Funds raised: £6.02 million (cash £5.25m and pledged £0.77m)
Money already paid out or committed: £3,140,000
£10,000 fresh-start grants for survivor families: £1,580,000
£2,000 emergency payments £260,000
Transferred to London Emergencies Trust for next of kin and injured: £1,200,000
For community groups: £100,000
Money yet to be allocated: £2,880,000
Mark Simms, chief executive of RPT, said families would not need to present themselves to receive payment: “Together with Zakat, we have all the families’ telephone numbers and bank details. We will contact each family over the next week to see if they want to receive the grant and if they confirm, we will effect a bank transfer. We are going to make this as safe and easy as possible.”
The package comes on top of emergency cash payments of £2,000 per family already disbursed from our fund by RPT and NZF in the first few weeks amounting to £260,000. A further £100,000 has been given to local community groups working to help survivors and families of the deceased.
This means that £3.14 million of the £6.02 million raised by our Grenfell Tower appeal has been allocated within five and a half weeks of the fire. It includes £1.2 million transferred to the London Emergencies Trust (LET) as part of a £2.4 million joint initiative with the Red Cross overseen by The Charity Commission in which £20,000 will be paid to next of kin for each person who died in the fire, and up to £10,000 each to people seriously injured.
So far LET has received 98 applications and 18 awards have been made, with applications coming in at a rate of 10 a day. A LET spokesman said: “About 35 of the applications are injury claims and we are pushing very hard to get a definitive list of those hospitalised from the Government’s Gold Command. With that list, we could make payments for verified claims in a matter of hours. We are frustrated that despite pressure this hasn’t been released yet.”
The Standard has been told that the Government will soon publish a definitive list of survivors, which will ensure payments go to eligible families only.
This leaves almost £3 million of the £6.02 million raised by our fund unallocated. The fund has met the leadership of Grenfell United, a group representing the majority of survivors, and begun a dialogue how cash donated by Evening Standard readers can be used to help survivors and forge a lasting legacy to honour those who died and bring succour to the community.
Inside Grenfell Tower
Russell Delew, chief executive of LCF, said: “The partnership between the Dispossessed Fund and The London Community Foundation has ensured donations are going directly and immediately to the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. It’s part of our long-term commitment to the people who have suffered unimaginable distress. This has only been possible thanks to the tremendous generosity of the public.”
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