Collaboration to Support the Children & Young People Affected by Grenfell 

We are approaching the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire and there is no lessening of anger or the feelings of hurt in the North Kensington community. Emotions remain raw and a febrile atmosphere can emerge at times. Previously innocuous events take on a whole new meaning. The recent opening of a Pret-A-Manger on the site of a former community advice centre has been met with street protests and calls for a boycott.

Trust in the local authority and authority in general has been badly damaged. Mistrust and disbelief abounds. The young people we work with feel these emotions keenly. A sense of disenfranchisement and not being heard or valued is prevalent. Nothing new for young people, perhaps, but the disaster has amplified their resentment.

One hesitates to talk about positives in the wake of such a dreadful event, but the response of the community and local organisations in the immediate aftermath has rightly been praised. At Epic CIC we were in every sense overwhelmed by the volume of donations, volunteers, and offers of help from local people and businesses. Local partners the Rugby Portobello Trust, the Harrow Club, Clement James and others had similar experiences and we worked together to do what we could to provide support to survivors. That spirit of solidarity and cooperation survives.

Coming together

Also very welcome was the leadership shown by John Lyon's Charity in establishing a network of funders willing to short circuit their usual funding processes in order to get money on the ground quickly. It was really encouraging to witness how local organisations came together to support each other with funding applications, ideas for projects and sharing resources.

This ethos provides a challenge to the orthodoxy that local providers constitute a market pitted against each other in competitive tendering. We neither think nor behave like that. Through the John Lyon's initiative, Epic CIC is working with partners to develop a community leaders programme (Community Youth Action Programme) for young people affected by the disaster. Funded through the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the project aims to give voice to young people's anger and disenchantment and to channel it into social action.

Helping young people to take an active role in bringing about positive change in North Kensington is the essence of the project.

Local youth workers are redoubling their efforts to provide not only the usual engagement activities, but support and counselling as well. Indeed the trauma visited on the community has required an increase in mental health and wellbeing support with the council, health authorities and specialist providers coming to the fore.

Upcoming Events

NORTH KENSINGTON COMMUNITY YOUTH FESTIVAL 

Last year youth services from Kensington & Chelsea held the North Kensington Community Youth Festival to bring the community together and show support for those affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster. Due to its success the festival will be taking place again this year on Saturday 30th June 2018, from 12pm – 6pm, at the Westway Sports & Fitness Centre located at 1 Crowthorne Road, W10 6RP.

The festival which is a totally free event will include a 6-a-side football tournament, a talent competition showcasing a variety of artists, local talent, surprise guests and more.

Find out more about the event: www.epiccic.org.uk/nkcyf

Events & Campaigns 

Support services on offer 

Anyone who would like to speak to the police in relation to the investigation into the fire is asked to contact the Met Police on 0800 032 4539. 

Cruse Bereavement Care  - Call the Freephone helpline on 0808 808 1677 or email [email protected] The helpline is open Monday–Friday from 9.30am–5pm. Extended hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, until 8pm
 
Replacement UK passports, visas or immigration queries - Call our advice line on 0300 303 2832. The line is open 24 hours. 
 
Air quality and smoke exposure - If you have concerns about any symptoms, please see your doctor or call NHS 111. 
 
Housing support - If you have any questions about housing or want to find out who your housing officer is please call 0800 137 111 or 020 7361 3008. 
 
Victim support - Call 0808 1689 111 for practical and emotional support, or visit victimsupport.org.uk The line is open 24 hours a day. 
 
The Grenfell Muslim Response Unit also offers additional support. Find out more by emailing [email protected] 
 
You can also get physical and mental support at The Curve Community Centre. Call 077 1223 1133.
 
For more information visit www.grenfellsupport.org.uk or www.gov.uk/guidance/grenfell-tower-fire-june-2017-support-for-people-affected