Grenfell donations 'not reaching survivors'
11 August 2017 National News
Less than 15% of the money raised in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire has reached survivors, it has been revealed.
Nearly two months on from the tragedy, which left at least 80 people dead, campaigners say donations are not reaching those affected by the tragedy quick enough.
Charity Commission figures show £7.25m of the £18.9m raised has been handed to organisations on the ground to distribute.
But only £2.8m has so far been given to survivors, the figures show.
The London Emergencies Trust, which is in charge of handing out millions of pounds to bereaved families and survivors who were in hospital, said it had only received applications from families for £1.47m worth of donations.
But Yvette Williams from the campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell told the Press Association many survivors had found the application process difficult, particularly in cases where English is not their first language.
“Some of these people are still heavily traumatised,” she said.
“So they’re supposed to leave their hotel rooms, get down to wherever, fill in this application – they already feel like they have been put in a position where they’re begging for money.
“Once decisions have been made about how it’s going to be distributed, the key workers attached to those families should be bringing those forms and doing it with them.”
Ms Williams said the distribution process has “definitely not been fast enough”.
“Information isn’t transparent. They have to beg for information and it’s still not clear the background of it, or how they’re going forward with it,” she said.
The donations have been divided up into several forms by charities, including cash specifically for the bereaved or those who have been treated in hospital.
There is also a “fresh start” grant of up to £10,000 for all displaced families.
The Red Cross and the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation both raised £5.75m, while a fund set up by the Evening Standard newspaper collected more than £6.7m.
Smaller donations from other organisations brought the total to £18,856,206.
A total of £4.8m has been given to the London Emergencies Trust to distribute, with bereaved families to receive £20,000, those who were treated in hospital for a week or more being given £10,000 and £3,500 handed to those who were in hospital for six hours or more.
A spokesman for the trust said it had paid out £664,500 to 59 out the 116 applicants and explained the process of verifying the claims was complex and took time.