©MattPercival/BritishRedCross

©MattPercival/BritishRedCross

Responding to emergencies in the UK is at the heart of British Red Cross work.

Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers and staff have helped people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire since the immediate aftermath.

How has the Red Cross been helping since the Grenfell Tower fire?

British Red Cross volunteers have been helping people affected by the fire since the early hours of Wednesday 14 June.

Our initial response saw volunteers help those affected at four rest centres in the north Kensington area.

This involved providing practical and emotional support to those injured, bereaved or traumatised by the tragic events.

We then stepped up our role at the Grenfell Community Assistance Centre, providing services and support around the clock.

Experienced Red Cross volunteers were part of the team providing advice and support at the centre. At the busiest time, we had an average of 40 volunteers on site each day. 

Since the fire broke out, we have deployed over 1,000 volunteers, who have supported over 1,700 people – this includes support through our support line, at the assistance centre, at Safe Spaces and through outreach work. 

Are you taking over the council’s role?

Not at all. On Saturday 17 June we increased our role in response to the levels of need that were becoming apparent and a direct request from Gold Command.

The response is being managed by the Grenfell Fire Response Team, made up of representatives from central government, the British Red Cross, the Metropolitan police, London-wide local and regional government and the London Fire Brigade.

What exactly have you been doing?

From Wednesday 14 June:

  • Red Cross emergency response volunteers from around the country were on the ground providing 24/7 practical and emotional support.
  • We deployed trained psychosocial support workers who can provide more in-depth support and are experienced in extremely traumatic situations.
  • Our volunteers worked with the local community to help sort donations.
  • We launched a fundraising appeal.
  • We have been staffing a helpline to provide people with support (details below).

From Sunday 18 June we stepped up our role to include:

  • Expanding our support line to be the single point of contact for people needing help.
  • Helping to coordinate the Grenfell Community Assistance Centre.
  • Having a Red Cross volunteer trained to give practical and emotional support as part of the team for each household affected.

We also issued free wheelchairs, walking frames and crutches to support the needs of the local community.

Mobility aids team distribute wheelchairs, walking frames and sticks.

From 28 June the Red Cross was asked to help turn some of the excess donated clothes into cash for people affected by the fire. We launched ‘Shop for Grenfell‘ which has raised £100,000 so far and will continue rise. Every penny will go to victims of the fire via our London Fire Relief Fund. 

What is the London Fire Relief Fund?

The Red Cross started this fund to help people in need after the fire.

Hundreds of people have lost everything in the fire. By donating to our London Fire Relief Fund, you can help support those who have been left injured, bereaved, or homeless by this tragedy.

The London Fire Relief Fund has raised more than £5.75 million so far. Of this, £2.4 million has been transferred to the London Emergencies Trust (LET) which is making the grants to the most seriously affected people now. 

The LET has awarded 76 grants totalling close to £1.5 million. A further 37 applications are currently undergoing checks. 

People can donate by visiting our website or by calling 0300 023 0827.

What will the money be spent on?

Donations will help to alleviate immediate suffering and ensure that victims and their families do not face short-term financial difficulties.

The London Emergencies Trust is co-ordinating and distributing all of the funds raised by the Red Cross and other major Grenfell Tower appeals.

People can apply for the funds via our Support Line on 0800 458 9472 (open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).

Will all the money go to the victims?

Yes. The British Red Cross takes the issue of donor funds very seriously and is always vigilant in making sure all donations reach those who are most in need.

The money raised will be used to assist the victims, their families and dependents. We will not take any of our administration costs out of the money raised – no staff salaries or such costs will be deducted.

Absolutely no administration costs will come out of the fund. All net proceeds will go to the victims and those affected by these terrible circumstances.

What’s happened to people’s donated items?

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, the general public showed extraordinary generosity by donating tonnes of items. Now, there is more than enough for people affected by the fire with enough excess donations to cover three football pitches.

Starting on Wednesday 28 June, the Red Cross launched Shop for Grenfell to help turn some of the excess donated clothes into cash for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

To date we have sorted through around 93 tonnes of donated items. Around 76 tonnes are either in shops, in transit to shops or are being held for later distribution to shops. Around 16 tonnes of new product (mainly new clothing, toiletries and new bedding) have been sorted and isolated to be sent back on demand to the community. The distribution of goods is organised by Kensington and Chelsea council.

Every penny raised from the sale of donated goods labelled ‘Shop for Grenfell’ in Red Cross stores will go to our London Fire Relief Fund.

This is a great opportunity to ensure people’s generosity will support those affected by this tragedy.

Where can I get more information?

The Red Cross helpline is available for anyone who has been affected by the Grenfell Tower fire and is in need of support – 0800 4589472 (free from landlines and mobiles) open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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You can also find out more about getting the right support here.

If people are concerned about a family member they should call the Metropolitan Police Service Incident Room number – 0800 032 4539.

If you would like to support the victims, find out how you can do so.

Read more

This blog was updated on 6, 14, & 21 July, and 11 August 2017