At least 17 people have died and scores more were injured and displaced yesterday morning, after a “truly shocking” and “unprecedented” fire spread through Grenfell Tower in West London.
Firefighters battled to control the blaze, which swept through the 24-storey building near Notting Hill in the early hours.
Authorities warned that the death toll was likely to rise, as Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “deeply saddened” by the loss of life.
As is often the case in such tragedies, those in London and beyond were quick to rally round and offer help.
Crowdfunding pages such as this one have raised over £1million in 24 hours to help residents left devastated by the fire.
People have rushed to donate anything that might be useful to those whose homes have been destroyed, from clothes to food and toiletries.
Local community centres opened their doors and launched coordinated efforts to support families forced to leave all their worldly possessions in fleeing the blaze, many dressed in just pyjamas.
Londoners also offered up their homes to those in need, with some even booking hotel rooms for people rendered homeless.
Make a cash donation
A number of funds have sprung up in wake of the tragedy, to raise the much-needed cash that will support victims both in the short-term, and as they look to rebuild their lives.
- The Kensington & Chelsea’s foundation page is raising money locally; “they will coordinate the distribution of funds where they are most needed,” says the Rugby Portobello Trust.
- This JustGiving page is aiming to raise £200,000 to help residents “get back on their feet”. They’re urging people to give generously.
- JustGiving has confirmed that these fundraising pages – set up to raise money for Grenfell residents – are all verified too, so you can be sure your money will go to the right place
- The Big Give has set up an emergency appeal for the Grenfell Tower fire and is doubling all donations made via the site.
- You could also donate to the British Red Cross, whose volunteers are out in force today, “providing practical and emotional support” to residents affected by the blaze. The organisation is also working with Tesco to donate and distribute items of clothing, hygiene packs, food and drink on a larger scale.
- The Salvation Army is on scene at Grenfell, supporting emergency services. You can donate here.
- The firefighters responding to this blaze are undoubtedly making great sacrifices to bring people to safety; you could donate to the firefighters charity, which provides physical and psychological support to the UK firefighting community.
Gather clothing, dry food, toys, bedding and toiletries
Westway Sports Centre on 1 Crowthorne Road (nearest tube Latimer Road) has suspended normal sports activities and is providing “showers, refreshments and support” to those affected by the Grenfell fire.
Journalist Dolly Alderton has tweeted that this is now the place to bring your donations, rather than smaller venues in the area previously mentioned on social media – including St Clements Church, the Rugby Portabello Trust and Tabernacle Christian Centre - who’ve been overwhelmed with donations.
Kensington Town Hall on Hornton Street (nearest tube High Street Kensington) is also taking donations.
Volunteer your time
You could volunteer your time at makeshift rest centres. Participants here are distributing water, food and bedding, as well as providing logistical and emotional support to residents impacted by the fire.
The following bases are all involved in relief efforts, but it’s worth phoning ahead to see whether they are in need of volunteers (and what kind of support they require) first. Call Kensington Town Hall on 020 7361 3008 and let them know your skills.
- The Salvation Army, 205 Portobello Road, W11 1LU
- Westway Sports & Fitness Centre, 1 Crowthorne Rd, London W10 6RP
- St Clement Church, Treadgold St, W11 4BP
- Rugby Portobello Trust, Walmer Rd, W11 4EY
Members of the public who are concerned about friends and relatives should contact the police Casualty Bureau on 0800 096 1233 or 020 7158 0197.
Images: Rex Features