Grenfell Tower Disaster
Soon after the fire broke out in Grenfell Tower in the early hours of Wednesday 14 June, a number of Muslim charitable organisations and independent volunteers came together as an informal coalition to support survivors and evacuees of the Tower and surrounding buildings. This group came to be known as the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit (GMRU) and represented a large proportion of the Muslim community's response to the tragedy. NZF was a key member of this coalition and its main contribution was the disbursement of emergency cash grants (previous updates in this regard are contained in the links further below).
As of 1st August, as a result of a consultation process with the involved organisations and individuals, it was decided for the GMRU's continued efforts in the post-emergency recovery phase to be hosted within National Zakat Foundation. Locating the efforts of the GMRU within a specific registered charity has the benefit of clarity of structure, accountability and transparency.
The families affected by the incident continue to suffer from trauma at this difficult time and we are committed to providing them with support. Consequently, the focus of the GMRU under NZF will continue to be on working directly with families and victims at this distressful time to bridge the gaps in service provision and signpost appropriately to various service providers, particularly in a manner which is faith-sensitive.
The past and ongoing contribution of GMRU has been, and will be, as follows:
Emergency Response Line
Within 48 hours of the fire, the GMRU set up the first dedicated Emergency Helpline to reach victims and families. The Helpline has now taken over 1,500 calls to provide assistance and support to the families, as well as from the public on ways they can provide support to victims. The emergency response line is open between 10am and 6pm (previously 24 hours) and will respond to queries within 24 hours.
Most of the families are now housed in hotels or temporary accommodation. GMRU’s family representatives will be supporting efforts to find more permanent accommodation.
Cash Grants & Assistance
National Zakat Foundation has distributed £148,080 directly to affected victims and families and an additional £105,000 of £1,000 grants on behalf of the Evening Standard's Dispossessed Fund. The Dispossessed Fund was set up in 2010 to help grassroots charities tackling poverty, inequality and exclusion across the capital.
Although the requirement for cash grants has come down significantly, NZF will continue to provide grant funding to families via GMRU as and when required.
Bereavement and Emotional Support
The GMRU co-ordinates various forms of emotional support for survivors and those affected by the tragedy. In the initial weeks after the fire, GMRU provided a platform for professional emotional support workers based at Al Manaar mosque and Westway Sports Centre to provide basic listening support as well as providing additional comfort and support to families seeking emergency aid. Those involved in providing these services included independent counsellors, psychologists, therapists and members of our key operating partners, Children of Jannah and the Muslim Bereavement Support Service (MBSS).
GMRU has provided immediate bereavement and burial support to those who have lost their loved ones, remaining on hand to provide holistic support to families. Since the fire, GMRU has carried out 16 funeral consultations and family visits. Taking into consideration families' needs at this difficult time, GMRU has also carried out eight burials in a faith-sensitive manner through Eden Care, Muslim Burial Fund and Gardens of Peace Cemetery. With the number of burials expected to increase in the coming weeks, GMRU will be on-hand to support all families through our key delivery partners with an ongoing response team available for support and funeral arrangements within 24 hours of receiving a call.
Grenfell Legal Support
With many families concerned about their rehousing situation and concerns raised about legal housing issues, GMRU has referred victims and families to Grenfell Legal Support which is a third-party independent legal counsel of firms providing support to Grenfell victims.
GMRU has delivered Art therapy sessions at the Al Manaar Mosque. Designed to deliver a safe space for children and families, the sessions run each Saturday between 2pm - 4pm. The sessions have seen an increased demand with over 50 children in attendance to date. Sessions are delivered by qualified art therapists, each of whom are DBS checked.
Key service areas include:
- Provision of emergency cash grants to families.
- Provision of supplies (clothes, toiletries etc).
- Provision of therapists, doctors and translators.
- Provision of legal representation.
- Provision of meals.
- Short term emergency accommodation.
- Burials and bereavement support (via Eden Care 07434 505 591)
Call the Hotline 0203 670 6004.
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