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Grenfell Tower Disaster

Muslim third sector ensures ongoing response to Grenfell 

After the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in the early hours of Wednesday 14th June, independent volunteers and a number of Muslim charitable organisations came together as 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. GMRU has been a key support service, serving over 400 people at a crucial time of need.

Charities come together for the future of Grenfell support

As a result of a consultation process, it was decided that GMRU's efforts required continuation beyond the post-emergency recovery phase, and that the unit would be hosted within National Zakat Foundation (NZF) from August 2017 onwards. Locating the efforts of GMRU within a specific registered charity would have the benefit of clarity of structure, accountability and transparency. The families affected by the incident continue to suffer the after effects of trauma. Consequently, GMRU continues to work directly with families and victims to bridge the gaps in service provision and signpost appropriately to various service providers, particularly in a faith-sensitive manner.

Wider support and funding

We are pleased and proud to announce that Aziz Foundation, Islamic Relief and Muslim Aid have united to support the ongoing work of GMRU. The funding has allowed the recruitment of key support staff and the continuation of services such as funerals and resettlement support. We are also grateful to Ramadan Tent Project for funding food provisions which have been distributed to survivors, evacuees, volunteers and neighbouring residents.

This is what the representatives of each organisation had to say about their involvement in GMRU: 

"Hosting and operating the GMRU from within National Zakat Foundation over the last few months has been both a challenge and a privilege. Our ongoing collaboration and commitment to providing support stems from our belief that the very least God would expect from us is to continue serving those affected by the fire until their affairs are  settled, to the extent that they can be given what they have experienced. I commend the GMRU team for their sterling efforts and thank our institutional funders for their unwavering support. Finally, I pray for the solace and continued steadfastness of the survivors, whose remarkable courage in the face of such tragedy continues to be an inspiration for us all.” 

Iqbal Nasim, Chief Executive of National Zakat Foundation 

“The Aziz Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit in their work with affected residents in the area. The fire on June 14th 2017 left a community without their homes and resources and the consequences have not yet been resolved. The situation requires a holistic, long-term and co-ordinated response from the charity sector. We are glad to see that GMRU will take into account  the range of needs of the Grenfell community and plan carefully for the future care of former tower residents and all those affected.” 

Nazmul Toropdar, Deputy Director of Aziz Foundation  

"It was very moving to see all the faith communities coming together in the aftermath of Grenfell to provide immediate and ongoing support to the families affected by the tragic fire. The spirit of solidarity and humanity which developed between British Muslim agencies, other faith groups’ organisations and local community volunteers, all at the frontline of the response, strived to provide great comfort to those directly affected and the wider society in this national disaster. The Grenfell Muslim Response Unit is a lifeline which continues to provide support in meeting the needs of the families and victims of this disastrous event.”

Jehangir Malik, Chief Executive Officer of Muslim Aid 

“Islamic Relief is proud to be a key funder of the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit (GMRU). The repercussions of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy continue to be felt by thousands of men, women and children who lost family members and friends as well as their homes and  possessions five months ago. The local community is still coming to terms with the shock and trauma of the fire and it may take years, if not decades, to do so. This is why it is so important that Islamic Relief continues to support GMRU to provide practical help and support to these people and families."

Imran Madden, UK Director of Islamic Relief 

Looking ahead

GMRU is currently serving 104 individuals with the majority being from the tower itself. The next six months will focus on supporting families move into temporary and permanent accommodation, including support with transportation and any work needed for the new places of residence. GMRU’s Family Support Representatives will be on hand to ensure families feel secure, safe and settled in their new homes.

Having facilitated a large portion of funeral and burials, the team will continue to support bereaved families with funeral arrangements as families receive further news of their loved ones. Services will remain open to all those affected included those from the tower and surrounding households.

Grenfell Muslim Response Unit key facts and figures:

- Directly and indirectly has facilitated the distribution of Evening Standards Dispossessed Fund to a value of £700,000+,

- Directly distributed £148,000 cash to survivors within days of the fire,

- Provided safe shelter to 38 unique individuals in the immediate days after the fire,

- Supported over 40 funerals and burials, including those of the Muslim and non-Muslim 

- Distributed vouchers, clothing, gifts, and education resources,

- Answered 1,342 emergency response line calls with a response to within 24 hours,

- Completed over 600 needs assessments in the immediate three weeks after the fire,

- Has supported the application process of bereaved families accessing funds from 
London Emergencies Trust,

- 3,000 meals have been funded by Ramadan Tent Project, providing food subsistence meals to survivors, residents and community volunteers.

Notes to Editors

The Grenfell Muslim Response Unit provides support for all those affected by the fire including those from the tower, walkways and surrounding blocks, irrespective of race, religion or gender.

For further press information, please contact Zain Miah, project manager for the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit. 

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