©MattPercival/BritishRedCross

©MattPercival/BritishRedCross

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

Dozens of Red Cross volunteers and staff have been helping people affected by the fire since the immediate aftermath. We have now stepped up our response.

How has the Red Cross been helping after 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.

Since the weekend, we have stepped up our role at the Grenfell Community Assistance Centre, providing services and support around the clock – 24 hours a day.

There are a range of services available, including:

  • Housing needs
  • Emergency funds
  • Health and social care services
  • Food

Experienced British Red Cross volunteers are part of the team providing advice and support at the centre. 

To date, 176 Red Cross volunteers have been involved in the response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Are you taking over the council’s role?

Not at all. But we are increasing our role in response to the levels of need that are 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 are you doing?

Since Wednesday 14 June:

  • Red Cross emergency response volunteers from around the country have been on the ground providing 24/7 practical and emotional support.
  • We have deployed trained psychosocial support workers who can provide more in-depth support and are experienced in extremely traumatic situations.
  • Our volunteers have been working with the local community to help sort donations.
  • We have 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 24 hour 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 have 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.

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.

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.

This may involve giving cash grants to those affected by the tragedy. We will also be supporting community organisations who can distribute the funds.

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 is the most important thing – cash or goods?

Giving people cash as a form of humanitarian aid can address people’s basic needs, such as food, health and shelter.

The flexibility of cash transfers gives people the autonomy to choose what they buy and this helps preserve dignity and independence.

People’s donated items will also help – this is not a one size fits all solution. Currently the council is urging people not to donate items locally as they have a large amount to distribute.

Where can I get more information?

The Red Cross helpline is available 24/7 for anyone who has been affected by the Grenfell Tower fire and is in need of support – 0800 4589472 (free from landlines and mobiles).

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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 Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. This is open 24 hours a day.

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

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This blog was updated on Thursday 22 June 2017