Category: Appeals

‘We all have to work together’ – teaming up with local volunteers after Grenfell Tower fire

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Photo credit: Matt Carter / British Red Cross

Tanya Hedges sorting through donations at the Westway Centre. Photo credit: Matt Carter / British Red Cross

In the shadow of the Grenfell Tower is Westway Sports Centre, where people affected by the fire have been receiving support.

Two weeks after the fire, families are still coming to the centre to get the emotional and practical help they need.

Standing side-by-side with them are community volunteers like Abraham Chowdhury, who have helped collect donations and distribute to help the victims and their families.

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Shop for Grenfell: Why we’re turning donations into cash

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Items donated in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire - ©BritishRedCross/MattPercival

Items donated in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire – ©BritishRedCross/MattPercival

The local community response in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire has been awe-inspiring. Tonnes of clothes and other items have been donated to help victims of the London fire.

The council asked people to kindly stop donating as they soon had more than enough donations.

Now the British Red Cross has been asked to help turn some of the remaining donated clothes into cash for people affected by the fire.

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Meet the former heroin addict helping Grenfell Tower fire victims

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Carl volunteers for the Red Cross

Photo credit: Lexi Finnigan / British Red Cross

“If you saw me walking towards you at night you would be scared. The tattoos, the shaved head, the missing teeth. I get that, I understand that. People judge me by the way I look but once they speak to me I can explain. I’ve done a lot of taking in my life and now it’s time to give something back.”

Carl Chant is a 43-year-old ex-heroin addict from Llanelli, near Swansea. After being abused at the age of 12, he ran away from home and after living on the streets spent 13 years on and off in prison for robbery, drug dealing and burglary.

Today he sits at a British Red Cross table outside the Westway Sports Centre in west London – registering and supporting those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

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Mosul: snapshots from a city in torment

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In darkness, light shines on a man carrying another person with a leg wound on his shoulders as they flee Mosul at night

Escaping by night © A. Liohn/ICRC

For centuries, armed conflicts were fought by armies on vast battlefields. Even if cities were besieged or sacked, fighting rarely took place in the streets.

In the 21st century, wars are being fought in cities.

From 2010 to 2015, half of the civilians who were killed in armed conflict died in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

And 70 per cent of these people lived in cities.

Almost nowhere is worse affected than the Iraqi city of Mosul.

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‘There’s no normal life’ – Grenfell fire victims share their stories

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grenfelltowerfire-20

Every day a steady flow of people pass through the doors of the Westway Sports Centre seeking help in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. Each person has a story to tell. Three local residents share their stories and how the British Red Cross has helped them.

James Woodley

James lives opposite Grenfell Tower. Shortly after the fire broke out, he saw smoke filling the windows of residents’ homes.

“I saw three young children, all aged four to five, screaming for help. It was extremely distressing,” James recalls.

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Why I’m volunteering to help victims of the Grenfell Tower fire

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The incredible generosity in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire has seen people from all walks of life volunteering to help. The British Red Cross drafted in trained volunteers from across the country to help. Three volunteers share their stories. 

Red Cross volunteer Debie

Debi Haden, 50, a psychosocial support team member, from Norfolk

When you see the enormity of the situation, you can’t be anything but compelled to do something. I can’t change what has happened, I can’t take away the feelings people are experiencing, or what they’ve seen.

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