Thursday, 15 June 2017

Grenfell Tower - How Can Our Community Help?

Rev Anne Cowley
The one redeeming feature of the appalling Grenfell Tower fire yesterday has been the way our community has spontaneously come together, with remarkable displays of generosity from local people, offering money, food, blankets and comfort to those displaced and injured by the disaster.

In this guest post Anne Cowley, Associate Vicar of St Stephen's Church on the Uxbridge Road, writes about her experience of yesterday's fire. She also writes about what local people can do to get involved and help out.

"This comes at the end of a day which has seen the devastating fire in North Kensington - about half way between where I live and St Stephen’s. This meant I was able to simply go down to one of the centres and sit with people as they talked and processed what had happened. 

Some had escaped from the building itself, with different stages of shock, relief, worry for friends and neighbours, the dawning realisation that they had lost everything and anger at what they felt was a known risk that had been ignored and sidelined and had been a significant factor in this catastrophe. Most had only the clothes they stood up in - often nightclothes. 

The huge, immeasurable positive was the way the community was pulling together. There were Christians, Muslims, Hindus and those of, I am sure, many other faiths and none, all working side by side to offer basic compassion and support to those in need. 

The centres were being overwhelmed by the food and clothes coming in, basic toiletries and toys. My understanding therefore is that they are now saying that we press pause on those donations of goods - but the need for financial help is huge. 

The nearest church is Latymer Community Church. This is their community and will be an ongoing presence on the ground, at the point of need, both short and long term.  Latymer Community Church have set up a fund that can take donations:

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) have also set up a line for those who want to help (020 7361 3008) Donations can go to this link
There had also been talk of people offering accommodation, but because people are in a state of shock there is a consensus that it is better for people to stay close as news comes in. There is also no official body willing to coordinate this. 

It is a situation that will take days, weeks, months and years to work through, and the need will be different at different stages. If there is a way we can help, we will let that be known - and I am sure it will be publicised locally by many means. 

Apart from donating and offering time if we are able, what we can all do is pray. And pray more!
The obvious needs are for
  • Those injured and in hospital
  • Those looking for loved ones
  • For those traumatised and in shock
  • For the emergency personnel who have worked long and hard, and are still working now
  • For wisdom for those coordinating the support and investigations
  • For political impetus for what might need to be addressed and changed
  • For community bonds to be deepened and maintained
  • For us all to look to God our Father in the midst of this tragedy and rely on Him
If anyone would like to talk, please do e-mail Bob [Mayo] is away in the north on retreat, though he has been standing by to return if needed and is ringing regularly for updates and to offer prayer. He will be back on Friday if you would like to contact him then. 

With our love, our prayers and the hope and belief that we can stand united in being God’s presence in this area. 

Anne and Bob"

The Shepherd's Bush Blog offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. If you would like to contribute a story, email us at shepherdsbushblog(at)  And don't forget to add your opinion in the comments section below.

No comments:

Post a Comment