Grenfell: Six months on : Yesterday’s Silent Walk

Yesterday many from our community  and beyond came togeether to show support for all affected by Grenfell. Not only was there the Silent Walk, but also a fundraiser put together by friend of THINK, Crispin Flintoff – we thank all who took part

In the show of remembrance, solidarity, strength, unity and resolve,  THINK are encouraged after a very difficult and long day, to further campaign towards getting justice for those who are no longer with us and the bereaved and  to  get the council and the Government to ensure that all survivors, bereaved  and many others in the vicinity of Grenfell are not ignored and are provided with  the right level of  help and support.

We thank everyone who has given their  their time, money, thoughts and donated items to all affected by the fire.

We also hope many of  our readers would like  to help many of the survivors and bereaved and bring some much-needed cheer at Christmas  – and donate to Christmas for Grenfell here:

https://www.gofundme.com/christmas-for-grenfell

Yesterday was a difficult but important day for us and we are in need of some time out for a day or two to restore ourselves back to usual so we have enough strength in order to campaign for our community effectively.

We also ask people to sign this petition to parliament to restore public confidence in the inquiry :

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206722

We also would like to say  thank you to so many for the wonderful and kind messages of support that we have received.

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Grenfell: Six months on. Silent march tonight – please join us

It is is six months since the Grenfell Tower fire occurred on the 14th of June  and at least 71 members of our community lost their lives. We ask all on this day to remember everyone affected; those who are no longer with us and their relatives, friends and neighbours.

Join THINK this evening for the silent march at 6:30pm at Notting Hill Methodist church, Lancaster Road, W11.

This is a day of remembrance, and one that is filled with sadness and anger, but also hope and resolve.

We must ensure that a disaster on this scale never happens again, we must find answers to all the questions we have and hold those people responsible  to account. Above all, our community needs to stand together and stay strong as we remember those who are no longer with us.

This was our post on the following day:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/grenfell-tower-fire/

We also thank many others from across London, the U.K. and all over the world for your support and encouragement.

Today will be the last silent march before Christmas and we ask all to think of the many survivors who will be spending the festive season living in temporary accommodation.

For those of you who cannot make it to North Kensington this evening,  we ask our readers to please either donate or share to Christmas for Grenfell and help bring some much-needed cheer to many members of our community.

https://www.gofundme.com/christmas-for-grenfell

If some if our readers cannot make it and they are on Twitter, our community invites them to light a candle, write #ACandle4Grenfell on a piece of paper and #Silentwalk and share on a picture:

Lets stand together united in remembrance and peace and pledge to do everything we all can to ensure the wellbeing of others and that no other preventable  disasters of this scale ever take place in this country ever again.

 

THINK  are  today not our usual satirical acerbic selves as today  is for  remembering Grenfell, the victims,the survivors, the bereaved and  neighbours and all who care about our  North Kensington community. We are a  local community blog and would not be anywhere without the support and kindness of others.

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Grenfell: Six months on – a personal account from one of our THINKers

“There had been a positive change in the area, an election win that the North of the borough had achieved. I had been up for numerous days and nights in my efforts to work for this and was very exhausted. I went to bed and then woke up in the early hours and realise I had forgot to put the rubbish out.

I do not recall what time it was, but when I went out to the bins in my back garden, my sleep-deprived mind thought it was playing tricks on me – but did I really see Grenfell Tower on fire? Did I see people or debris falling from there? Did I hear lots of noise? I was so over-tired – it was impossible to know.

I went back to bed, thinking “oh, you’re just seeing things” and slept. In the morning, I was woken up by friends phoning me up saying “Grenfell Tower is on fire” and asking after friends there.

I just bolted out of bed in shock, and ran out of the door and round the corner, to see the burning ember of a building where some of my friends lived. Some of this I don’t remember in the right order, but do remember running down the street in various directions, going into the then very crowded Rugby club, Harrow Club and Latymer Centre and attempting to ask for my friends to no avail. I recall being in tears and dropping my keys just outside my door and bending down to pick them up only to find someone shoving a camera in my face – guess they just wanted a picture of a “grieving local” or something.

I went home. The scenes outside were now virtually apocalyptic, with helicopters constantly going,  huge crowds in quiet residential streets media everywhere and at least five news vans parked in my little street alone.

I remember receiving some calls and messages to know that some friends were alive – but were now homeless. I even put on the television to check that I hadn’t gone completely mad and that this was really happening. There were people I knew personally in my neighbouring streets, being interviewed on the live news.

Most of that day and quite a few days afterwards I can only remember in patches – sometimes  you don’t want to know where you were when you hear that friends and neighbours needlessly lost their lives and you just go “why?” – but I don’t think most people can relate to living by what is a disaster zone and losing many friends and neighbours like this.

The one  positive  thing I saw from day one was the sight of many good people from our community and beyond, donating things , bringing practically everything you can think of here. I remember a family trying to get me to take some of the food they had cooked – but I certainly wasn’t up to eating anything.

As days went past, it got easier when the media  presence in the area lessened but more personally difficult to hear of friends missing or deceased.. There were  also people I just knew by seeing them around regularly and some I also remember chatting to in the street. It doesn’t feel real or right to then see them on a missing poster or hear  that they passed away in the Tower.

Some of us would just burst into tears and wail in the middle of the street or randomly hug each other – we just cared about our friends and neighbours and to hell with what anyone else thought.

I had night terrors about it for ages and even had to replace a mattress after constantly wetting the bed – which sounds ridiculous for a grown adult.

It was around a week later when my shock also took on anger and a huge rage took over me and I had trouble containing it. There is also a memory of me walking miles without any purpose – it ended with an unplanned visit to hospital after falling over  and no, I have no idea of how or why I walked to North London.

These days I get by throwing myself into my work and not stopping. I’m very proud of my community which came together to support each other  and ashamed of a council and a system that condemned so many innocent members of them to death. If something you can do can make any sort of difference, then it is the least you can do.

Now it feels as if there is  a charred shell of the Grenfell Tower where once peoples’ homes and families’ lives used to be  and also this huge empty space in our local community and sometimes you walk down the road and almost expect to see someone walking their dogs  or doing their shopping and remembering the children’s play area outside Grenfell Tower and you know those people, young and old, men women , children – are not here anymore.

If people from outside do not exactly  understand why a close-knit community has become closer than ever –  let me try to explain – the way that some relatives and friends still act towards me : many still do not know how to speak to me – it’s almost as if there is a line that some are afraid to cross -“don’t do this or say that in front of her” and you just want to be treated as a normal human being. I do not blame them of course – it is just that some do not simply know what to do or say.

Today still, all my friends who survived are still living in hotels, there are some mysterious “Grenfell command” Police who do not appear to be accountable to anyone guarding what we all around here regard as a crime scene, the council are still in charge and they appear to be propped up by the Government purely  for party political reasons.

Most of us here will never forget what happened and we intend to hold our local authority and government to account over this. We will always remember many in our community who lost their lives in a needless and entirely preventable disaster and myself and many others here will not let anyone ever forget.”

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Save Wornington College campaign press release and petition to stop the merger


This is our friend Edward Daffarn, he is a survivor from Grenfell Tower and he is also a former student of Wornington College. He is a passionate and dedicated campaigner and friend who alerted us to the possible closure of the college which changed his life.

Regular readers of our blog will know that we care deeply about our local community college and we at THINK believe that keeping the KCC Wornington Road site open  will help  many in our North Kensington community, particularly after Grenfell Tower.

The Save Wornington College campaign, which we support, have  informed us that Givernment ministers have intervened and now the FE commissioner has been sent in. requested that we post their press release on here – we ask all to read  it and also to sign the Save Wornington College petition. here:

https://www.change.org/p/mary-curnock-cook-chair-of-corporation-of-kcc-and-the-board-of-governors-save-wornington-college

We stand with the Save Wornington College campaign and say that the proposed merger with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College will likely mean the end of provision of further education in North Kensington, which will affect the lives of many in our already. traumatised community.

We also believe that the future closure of our College could severely affect many local small businesses, particularly in Golborne Road, and such as loss of  what is a valuable and popular community hub would have a negative impact on the area as a whole. Please support the campaign to save Wornington College and to stop the proposed  merger with EHWLC:

12 December 2017 Save Wornington College Campaign​​​URGENT

Ministers intervene in the fight for North Kensington College in the wake of Grenfell

“This is unprecedented in the history of FE that a government minister has intervened as a result of pressure from a campaign group.” Margaret McDonald Save Wornington Campaign

Members of the North Kensington community have met with Further Education Commissioner, Richard Atkins, in an attempt to halt a merger that they insist is neither good for provision nor legal. Following an emergency meeting on 21st November between Kensington and Chelsea College campaigners and Anne Milton, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, the Commissioner was asked to conduct an urgent review of the proposed merger with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, taking the community’s many concerns into account. Atkins is due to make his recommendations by the end of the week, having met with representatives of both colleges, RBKC and the MPs and local organisations, who the campaigners claim were not consulted, in breach of statutory guidelines.

 

In a further blow to the governing bodies claims of an “unprecedented” 172 responses to their consultation efforts, students at the college appeared to have only discovered the possibility of the merger as they faced the Commissioner at last week’s visit to the college. Many of those students who were aware of the merger are already part of a petition to stop it, with well over one thousand supporters. That is due to be handed to the KCC governing body ahead of a critical meeting on the 18th December.

 

‘The lack of proper procedure with regards to the merger, alongside the lack of positive management have caused outrage amongst all students at KCC. As a smaller college with a well established track record far exceeding that of Ealing College, the fear is that this unique learning environment serving a real need in the local community will be swallowed up by the larger institution. Listen to our voices, we value our college in North Kensington’

Carina Sjunnesson, student

 

On the 18th of December the board of KCC will either vote to dissolve and hand all assets and liabilities to EHWLC – or not. If KCC votes to dissolve, on the 21st of December, the board of EHWLC meets to accept all assets and liablities – or not.

There is no legally binding guarantee that EHWLC will maintain and grow education provision in North Kensington. EHWLC has a track record of cutting provision.. FE is underfunded, so this merger appears to be just a slower death of provision in RBKC.

The community, staff and students are hoping Richard Atkins will put forward a better way in his recommendations, because this merger is destructive for education, training, the community and equal opportunities.

 

If the decision to merge does go ahead, the campaign have instructed a solicitor with a view to commencing a Judicial Review. There will be a demonstration outside the Hortensia Road site on 18 December. Please contact the Save Wornington Campaign for updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tory Chainsaw Massacre

Cllr Julie Mills (pictured above) in her role as chair of the Kensington Chelsea and Fulham Conservative association has been culling many of the RBKC Tory councillors recently.

Many of our readers will have heard the very good news that Daniel Moylan is quitting.

His statement here:

http://www.danielmoylan.com/?page_id=297

Today some of our local friends have also spotted  “Dinosaur Dave” David Lindsay going into Julie Mills’ house looking very glum – is he next we wonder?

Maybe Catherine Faulks might consider downing a few espressos before the next meeting of the Grenfell Response scrutiny committee  so as to not be caught falling asleep  there again?

Here are a few others  we suggest that Cllr Mills may wish to consider for the chop in order to restore any confidence within ranks and to not have a total collapse of the Tory vote next May:

– Cllr Malcolm Spalding

– Cllr Mary Weale

– Cllr Quentin Marshall

– Cllr Anne Cyron

– Cllr Matthew Palmer

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry needs to give survivors and the bereaved more involvement: Please sign the petition: 

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The procedural hearings for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry took part yesterday and today.

There have been many concerns in our community raised about the inquiry and about judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick himself. See this Grenfell Action Group  blog post here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/grenfell-tower-public-inquiry/

There are also concerns about diversity and equality on the inquiry panel. See this by Justice 4 Grenfell here:

https://justice4grenfell.org/press-release/j4g-press-release-12th-dec-2017/

There have also been concerns raised that many of the bereaved are not being directly involved in the inquiry.

THINK believe  that while it  is important up fully investigate the building, material used in the refurbishment and the cause of the fire, we say it is crucial that our community have their voices heard in the inquiry.

Last week we heard that some survivors may boycott the inquiry. See this Guardian article here:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/01/grenfell-survivors-public-inquiry-bigger-role

We believe that the survivors and bereaved families deserve some input into the  inquiry as many in our community are losing confidence in it.

THINK  therefore give our full support to this petition calling for Theresa May to take action to build public trust in the inquiry
We urge all our readers who care deeply about our North Kensington community and all affected by Grenfell to  please sign it. Our community more than fully deserves  respect , truth, accountability,  and justice.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206722

In the words of Michael Mansfield QC who is representing many families at the inquiry : “People have given warnings about this before. In a community that has been ignored, what has happened since then has not restored their confidence. There’s a distinct feeling that they have not been involved”.

Not only Daniel Moylan, but Catherine Faulks also appears to be falling asleep on the job

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We published  the disgraceful pictures of Daniel Moylan sleeping at the Grenfell Scrutiny Committee – he is vice chairman and we say he should resign.

But now someone has just sent us some pictures of RBKC’s Tory Cllr Catherine “Lady False” Faulks appearing to be just about nodding off too.

It must be so much of an  exhausting ordeal when her personal shopper at Selfridges brings her the wrong  choice of outfits or when she cannot get a table at her favourite Michelin-starred restaurant that it must simply take a toll on her ladyship!

THINK reminds her that only 42 Grenfell survivors have been permanently rehoused and many now face spending  Christmas in temporary accommodation, many survivors, bereaved and traumatised members of our community are still not receiving all the help they need –  maybe she should spend some more time around here and meet some people who really know what stress and exhaustion is like.

We previously posted about  Faulks and her “responses” to our community back in August:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/cllr-catherine-lady-false-faulks-the-shaming-of-the-shrew/

We say to Lady False  who gets off lightly for not actually sleeping there – that if we ever catch you not giving the  committee your full concentration again, we will call for your resignation, just like we are calling for Cllr Moylan’s. We also notice that fellow Tory councillor Sarah Addenbrooke appears to be more concerned with her sleepy colleague!

Maybe some who have more consideration for those affected by Grenfell than Rotten Tories Moylan and Faulks would like to donate to Christmas for Grenfell and ensure that the survivors and the bereaved have something of a decent Christmas here:

https://www.gofundme.com/christmas-for-grenfell

We warn all involved that this is a very serious issue  and deserves local councillors’ full attention. Maybe also Cllr Faulks can reach into her designer handbag and contribute? We also say that  an apology is in order – our community deserves better.

Greg Hands – get your hands off our Carnival and our constituency!

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Greg Hands, Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham who is also minister of state for international trade and also minister for London, back in July this year wrote to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan asking that the Notting Hill Carnival got re-routed citing Grenfell Tower  and his fears of crime  as a reason.

This was met by criticism from many including Yvette Williams from Justice For Grenfell who pointed out that ” the Carnival route does not go that near Grenfell” and from  rapper Stormzy, who in fact is from Chelsea who called Hands a “scumbag”

We should point out that Greg Hands’ constituency isn’t even on or  near the Carnival route  – unfortunately for Mr Hands,  Sadiq Khan has more sense and  ignored his rude intervention in another constituency’s affairs.

Greg Hands frequently puts his foot in it on Twitter like this nonsense about a kebab shop chain:

His stupid joke was met by these responses:

And then he stood in front of a piece of graffiti that said “Jeremy Corbyn is” for a photo and invited people to complete the sentence too.

Recently he blamed deselection of Labour councillors in Haringey on the “loony left” . Well no actually, – let us mention the HDV regeneration scheme  (which amounts to social cleansing ) and that those who have been deselected were either proponents of or supporters of it!

We have also heard reports that Greg Hands is one of the people behind the smear campaign that some of the Tories have mounted against our Labour MP Emma Dent Coad too.

Some have also pointed out to us that while Mr Hands is busy in his ministerial role negotiating trade deals, he has refused to renounce his US citizenship (he was born there). He also has a German wife and while he is busy negotiating away our freedom of movement when leaving the EU – his own children will retain their rights as they have dual UK/German citizenship and the rights to become US citizens too.

THINK say Greg Hands and many of his Tory friends do not understand our community and our isssues, we also question his position as a trade minister too. The deadline for submissions to the boundary commission  regarding  merging Kensington with Chelsea as a constituency ends tomorrow. We suggest any readers who share our concerns about having Greg Hands  as our MP  and  Labour-dominated North Kensington being completely ignored,  please make their voices heard and submit their views here:

https://www.bce2018.org.uk/node/6485?postcode=W105UQ

We also say that Greg Hands after such a series of gaffes on social media is in no place to criticise Emma Dent Coad and her blog posts past or alleged comments in the first place!

Grenfell and the local community: Nearly six months on

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It has been nearly six months since the Grenfell Tower fire. Our community is strong and close-knit but we are still traumatised by the tragic loss of so many in North Kensington and many are still without a home.

As far as THINK know, 136 households in  Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk  have accepted an offer of permanent or temporary accommodation, 118 households remain in emergency accommodation, 49 households are in interim accommodation and only 42 households have moved into permanent accommodation.

Health and wellbeing was discussed at yesterday’s Grenfell recovery scrutiny committee and many in our community pointed out that being placed in temporary accommodation and without a permanent address,  is an obstacle to accessing health services in the first place.

Some survivors told the council that they shouldn’t have to be begging to get the help that they and their families need. On top of so many being traumatised, they are being put through further stress.

Some survivors are also not receiving the help they need as some are being discharged from health services too early. One survivor told the meeting yesterday that she had been discharged from a service she had not even been offered. Also there appears to be some confusion over providing help and support to many in our community who lived nearby and are severely affected.

Kim Taylor-Smith, RBKC Deputy Leader told the committee that they were looking to purchase 300 homes – well that’s a start we suppose, but many are beyond frustrated with how long the council has dragged their feet over this.

THINK ask our  all readers, our council and all who provide help and support and vital services to  not forget our community. Some survivors  will now be spending Christmas in temporary accommodation, which in our view, is completely unacceptable.

With Christmas soon approaching, we ask those of our readers who are able to help to please donate to Christmas for Grenfell and to help bring some much needed Christmas cheer to many in our community who have suffered so much:

https://www.gofundme.com/christmas-for-grenfell

THINK will stand with our local community and remember our friends and neighbours who needlessly lost their lives in Grenfell Tower – they deserve justice. We’ll also remind those in charge of  both RBKC and the Government  that actions speak louder than words.

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Daniel Moylan asleep on the job….

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Here is Daniel Moylan (in the brown suit)  asleep at the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Commitee meeting yesterday.

We are yet to receive the video in full  as had meetings on at the same time yesterday and sadly were not able to attend.

Among all the serious concerns and questions that many in the community  have to raise about Grenfell, we are  also now left with the very real concern that some of the Conservatives desire that an unscrupulous individual who cosies up to developers and has no concern for residents, is an appropriate candidate for leader.

Some of those who attended informed THINK that Cllr Moylan  who in fact is vice chair of the committee, spent the entire meeting either sleeping or playing with his phone. We say that he should resign from the committee now and that some who consider him to be the next RBKC Conservative leader really ought to reconsider.

Many survivors, neighbours and bereaved will have to forever live with this disaster and we do not believe that any individual who shows our community such a level of disrespect should be on the council at all…..

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