Free healing sessions for all affected by Grenfell

At The Village Healing Circle 

Acklam Village, 4-8 Acklam Road, Portobello, W10 5TY

Every day

Drop in for a cup of tea and a chat at 2pm every day. Grenfell residents are welcome to pick up New essentials from the village.

Tuesday 22nd August

3.30pm African Yoga for children with Pablo Imani

4.30pm Creative Writing with Zikko

5.30pm Fashion and Sewing Workshop with Jennifer and Rose

6.00pm Chanting with Nichiren Buddhists

Wednesday 23rd August

4.00pm Overtone Chanting ‘Love your unique sound’

5.30pm Yoga with Donna

Thursday 24th August

1.00pm Painting From Life! with Janet, Allison & Honey

2.00pm Children’s Singing Class with Emzee

3.00pm Creative Writing and Spoken Word Performance Workshop

5.00pm Boxercise with Micah

Friday 25th August

Info on pre-Carnival events coming soon

 

J4G’s response to the Terms of Reference publication

Justice4Grenfell Campaign notes the publication today of the recommended terms of reference for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the response of the Prime Minister Theresa May.

Judge Moore Bick had stated previously that the remit of the Inquiry would be narrow and that he felt it would not satisfy the demands of survivors or residents and the local community. We therefore welcome the fact that the inquiry has been broadened to examine such issues as “the response of central and local government in the days immediately following the fire”, however we remain of the opinion that the remit does not go far enough and that Kensington and Chelsea Council are not specifically named, when they are clearly culpable.

We believe that from the start of the process of announcing and setting up the terms of reference of the Inquiry, that the greatest consideration should have been given to the broadest remit possible to ensure all aspects of this avoidable disaster could be examined and lessons learnt to ensure such a disaster never occurs again. The broadening of the Inquiry terms of reference has only been announced following a massive amount of public pressure and this reflects the importance of the community never remaining silent and ensuring that their voices are heard.

J4G make the following comments:

  • It is disappointing that the question of social housing especially social cleansing/gentrification will not be addressed in the Inquiry as this remains a critical issue not just for the community of North Kensington but across the country and goes to the heart of a changing ideological approach to social housing and the pursuit of profit rather than provision of safe, affordable, appropriate and adequate housing
  • The Inquiry must have the ability and power to make recommendations regarding compliance in relation to a range of regulations; should this not be possible under the recommended terms of reference, then they will need to be broadened as the Inquiry unfolds, this will ensure that perfunctory answers are not given and that critical issues as they arise are addressed appropriately
  • Community Advisors should be identified and contacted as soon as possible to be included on the Inquiry panel from the start of the Inquiry.
  • The role of Dame Judith Hackett as chair of the Independent review is untenable given the building standards that are being challenged are those that she endorsed, such a major conflict of interest requires nothing less than her removal from the role
  • Undocumented survivors must be granted a life time amnesty as they are not likely to participate in the Inquiry and their crucial evidence may not be included if they are only given a 12 month amnesty

The Government has the power and opportunity to ensure this Inquiry is meaningful, transparent and robust and that some justice is provided for the victims, survivors and their families, and the local community. In order for this to happen the Government must listen to and involve local community advisors. This will be the litmus test for community trust and confidence in the Inquiry process.

Music video project

As mentioned we are working with young people aged 11-19 on a music video project  around issues that are important to them and will be bringing them to Harrow Club on Friday to record in the studio at 2pm.  We are hoping  young people from the area will join us to show that young people from all over London can come together to have one voice in a powerful visual statement. We will be filming dance too and have permission/parental consent  forms available for those who want to take part.
The content of the song is being written by youth today, 15th August, and tomorrow, Wednesday 16th August. If anyone wants to join we are meeting at Southwark Lewisham college campus opposite Southwark station  12-4pm Tues-Thurs. We have a pineapple dance tutor creating a routine, vocal coaches and a drama coach and will be creating content for the track.
And please get permission from one of your parents/guardians with this online form

Ghosts of Grenfell

Lowkey, a North Kensington resident affected by the Grenfell disaster, brings the community together to call for justice with his latest release, Ghosts of Grenfell. Many of the local residents, key players in the community generated relief and support efforts, are featured in the accompanying video, demanding to know where are all those friends and neighbours who are still “missing”. Powerful, emotive, apposite.

Most Grenfell survivors still without housing

Seven weeks after the apocalyptic fire at Grenfell Tower, the majority of survivors and evacuated residents remain without housing, despite all assurances to the contrary.

The official Grenfell Response newsletter of 1st August 2017 contains stark figures demonstrating the scale of the failure.

“So far, 174 offers of accommodation have been made, 45 offers have been accepted and 12 households have been rehoused.”

These figures are testament to the continuing misery and suffering people are enduring, people who’ve had such horrific and damaging experiences that even with exemplary care and rapid re-housing, it will take many years to recover.

The council’s approach to rehousing need – prioritising survivors from the Tower without taking into account individual circumstances of evacuated residents – whilst understandable, is proving too inflexible, causing some very vulnerable, evacuated residents great distress.

One such case is that of an 89-year-old disabled woman evacuated from Testerton Walk, her home since 1974. Bed ridden as the result of a stroke 3 years ago she had been cared for by her live-in son, Curtis, supplemented with a care package that provided 4 visits a day at home. Since being evacuated she’s been separated from her son, placed in 3 different care homes and hospitalised twice, the second time due to dehydration. This confirmed the family’s concerns about the level of care and attention she was receiving, since being evacuated she’s become very depressed and has lost a considerable amount of weight.

Despite being deemed a priority based on the housing needs points system, Curtis and his mum haven’t received a single rehousing offer. Returning to their previous home in Testerton Walk has been made impossible due to flooding caused by the temporary boiler. Their lives are in limbo, Curtis is deeply concerned about the serious impact this is having on his mother’s health

Another family of four also evacuated from Testerton Walk have been living in a hotel room for the last 7 weeks with no form of communication from the Council or other relevant authorities. The mother told J4G that, whilst she recognises these are extraordinary circumstances,

“It feels as if we’re forgotten, that our issues are not important; we’re made to feel that we should be grateful, but how can we move on with our lives?”

Whilst J4G recognises the complexities of the situation, leaving severely traumatised and disabled people unsupported in inappropriate accommodation that only serves to increase the severity of their trauma is not acceptable. Everything is taking too long, there remains a distinct lack of empathy and care from many of those in authority, rebuilding trust is more or less impossible in such toxic conditions. The Council must do better.

Council – Still No Internal Investigation into Grenfell

Six weeks since the Grenfell disaster and RBK&C Council has yet to start any internal disciplinary proceedings, suspend any officers or begin any internal investigations into allegations of gross misconduct and/or negligence.

This is despite the recent Police announcement that both RBK&C Council and the TMO could face Corporate Manslaughter charges.

The continuing inaction from the Council on this issue suggests an abysmal lack of concern and level of complacency amongst senior managers, mirroring what the community has experienced from the Council Cabinet and the majority political group since the horrendous Grenfell disaster.

Samia Badani, a Social and Public Policy Expert and Chair of Bramley House Residents Association, said:

‘Residents have expressed concerns that some officers are still in post and are making decisions that may impact on their lives. This is despite the fact that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a duty of care was breached. I don’t understand why RBKC have failed to invoke their internal code of discipline, irrespective of the outcome of the criminal investigation. I find their position untenable. What we need now is reassurance, to regain trust in our Local Authority we need them to send a clear message’

J4G concur with Samia’s concerns, it is unacceptable and suggests that individuals at the top of the Council, be they elected officials or senior staff, still don’t understand the enormity of their failings or what it has cost.

Justice 4 Grenfell demands that named individuals are held accountable and face both internal investigation and criminal proceedings.

RBKC’s Disciplinary Policy: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/wamdocs/3employeedisciplinarycode.pdf

Justice 4 Grenfell Campaign Response to Police Announcement re: Corporate Manslaughter

J4G welcomes the Police statement that they have enough evidence to proceed with corporate manslaughter charges, not least because this is evidence of progress being made in the criminal investigation. Trust in the authorities across the entire community has been seriously undermined by events since the fire, to say nothing of everything that happened in the years before the disaster. This announcement will go someway towards the rebuilding of trust; it is to be welcomed for that reason too.

However, corporate entities don’t make and enact policies, people do and for that reason, J4G wants to see individuals named, charged and put on trial in addition to the corporate manslaughter charges. It’s not a case of either one or the other for justice to be done and to be seen to be done, we want both.

Survivors, bereaved families, evacuated residents and the wider community have been demanding arrests be made. J4G hopes that this latest statement from the Police is a precursor to that actually happening as any arrests made will be seen by all those affected as tangible evidence that they are valued members of society and are being listened to.

J4G Calls on the Government to Waive Probate fees

As the enormity of the Grenfell Tower disaster and its impact continues to unfold, the crucial issue of how many people died in the fire remains unresolved and the true scale of the loss unacknowledged by the authorities. Survivors, bereaved families, evacuated residents and the wider Ladbroke Grove community are being re-traumatised everyday as a result.

It’s clear that many relatives of the deceased in the Grenfell disaster need to obtain copies of probate documents and copies of wills. To access these vital documents people are required to pay a fee for each document, even those on income support type benefits now have to pay – a change introduced by the Conservative Government and enacted in October 2013.

J4G is calling on the Ministry of Justice to waive fees for copies of probate documents and wills for ALL Grenfell bereaved families and survivors as a matter of urgency.

“It would be a small gesture by the Government but it would make a big difference to us and the other bereaved families who already have so much to deal with

…said one bereaved family member who wishes to remain anonymous.

Much more needs to be done by the Government to counteract the impact of the casual, thoughtless cruelty that the survivors and bereaved families are subjected to on a daily basis. Removing fees for probate documents and wills for bereaved families would be a small step in the right direction.