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Grenfell Tower Families Call For 'Manchester Model' Overhaul Of Fire Donations To Speed Up Payouts

'Why are they holding on to this money?'

16/08/2017 11:10 | Updated 16 August 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Grenfell Tower residents have said goodwill donations and emergency funds should have been award in a similar way to the Manchester bombing

Frustration is building among Grenfell Tower residents over delays in distributing goodwill donations and emergency funds after millions was allocated to victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Those affected by the devastating fire in west London have seen little of the £18.8million raised on their behalf since the 14 June blaze, which killed at least 80 people and left hundreds more homeless.

Grenfell campaigners are now demanding donations be organised and awarded using the Manchester model.

Records published last week by the Charities Commission found that just £2.8million has been distributed so far, around 14% of the money raised.

Meanwhile, victims of the Manchester bombing will have in the coming weeks received over half the money raised to help them with no conditions attached, with families of the 22 people killed at the Ariana Grande concert to receive £250,000. 

Most of the funds given to Grenfell survivors so far have been emergency grants from Kensington and Chelsea Council or the Evening Standard newspaper’s dispossessed fund.

Joe Delaney, from the Grenfell Action Group, told HuffPost UK that residents are becoming frustrated at the delays.

“I’d like to see us mirror the Manchester model as that’s been so successful. I think something like that needs to be done down here.

“We’ve seen nothing since the initial money.

We’ve seen nothing since the initial money. Joe Delaney, Grenfell Action Group

“Given how appallingly the Gold Command [group of London councils] and Chelsea and Kensington [Council] have handled things, I won’t be holding my breath.”

Bur Zita Holbourne, national chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, which makes up part of the BMELawyers4Grenfell coalition, told HuffPost UK that the Manchester model “should have been adopted as it is a central model without conditions”.

“What we’ve seen with Grenfell is lots of different pots collected, with some organisations like the Red Cross overseeing the large ones, and deciding when they will be allocated and how.

“Who is deciding people’s needs? They are homeless, they’ve lost everything.

“All the money that was donated by ordinary people [was so] survivors would get what they need. They are being treated like beggars.

“Why are they holding on to this money?”

Why are they holding on to this money? Zita Holbourne, BMELawyers4Grenfell

Interim payments from the London Emergency Trust to survivors include a £10,000 Fresh Start grant, with those who spent more than six hours in hospital given £3,500, one week £10,000, and who lost relatives in the blaze £20,000.

The Evening Standard reported that beneficiaries of its £6.7m Grenfell fund had begun to receive additional payments - two months after the fire.

It said affected families will be entitled to £25,000 each from the fund, with £4million in total allocated to be distributed directly to survivors.

While the Red Cross was forced last week to review information given to its volunteers after a Grenfell survivor was allegedly told he wouldn’t receive more than £10,000 from the charity’s £5.7million fund.

The Charities Commission wrote of funds raised to help Grenfell survivors on its website: “Charities are now trying to work with the survivors and those affected to discuss how the rest of the funds should be distributed to meet the short, medium and long term needs of those affected by this awful tragedy.”

It was announced on Tuesday that an additional £180,000 would be made available from the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund for the families of the 22 people killed in May’s Arena bombing.

Victims’ relatives will be entitled to £250,000 in total - with no conditions on the use of the money attached and with assurances donations will not affect benefits claims.

Manchester’s £18million fund was coordinated early on after a mammoth fundraising effort by the Manchester Evening News garnered public attention across the UK and the world.

The newspaper partnered with Manchester City Council and the British Red Cross, with a board of trustees established to oversee donations and organise their distribution.

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