RBKC “Resident Engagement” bouncers and their failure to recognise several RAs: “Your name’s not on the list”

Nightclubs may be closed while we are under Coronavirus Covid-19 lockdown, but perhaps (and hopefully) later on in the year , their doors will reopen again. (Please everyone, before then, be sensible and do keep safe!).

Same goes for Kensington Town Hall and our council. But later this year, things will likely get moving again. Questions of which directions things will move in and how we will benefit (or not) will be back on the agenda for many residents.

One recurrent problem is the very poor show of resident engagement from RBKC which as many of us all too well know, as gone on for far too long.

Some may have wondered which residents get acknowledged by our council and which ones do not.

Here is a list which smug, ignorant and complacent RBKC assumes is a “Full list of Residents’ Associations” :

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/residents/listing.aspx

THINK could be here all day counting the residents’ associations, compacts and groups that are NOT on this list, but let’s just mention one well known North Kensington RA, and one that is around the corner from Grenfell – yes, Bramley House RA, chaired by the formidable Samia Badani, has been omitted from the list too. Surprising? Perhaps not, as RBKC has a long tradition of ignoring North Kensington residents.

The list, which includes RAs, and groups – and these comprise of private owners, leaseholders and tenants – also omits the vast majority of RAs, groups and compacts of residents in housing association owned homes and estates.

No wonder RBKC’s “Residents Conference” back in July was attended by only 15 people …….

THINK recommend local RBKC residents of all tenures and types, to check if their RA is listed on RBKC’s not very full list. You can search for yours here.

And if your association, group or compact is not being recognised, get it registered here

Not the right time for this? Actually provided you are feeling well and up to emailing, it’s the perfect time for this, because many of the council staff responsible will now be working online from home without the music playing on the Hornton Street decks to distract them.

Residents are not getting the recognition and respect they deserve from RBKC. Enough of this “club” that either keeps serving us up watered down cocktails of nonsense or leaves us standing out in the cold.

Of course, this does not guarantee that your voices will be heard in the crowd as we know that a few RAs on the list get treated like VIPs while quite a lot of the RAs on the list still get ignored and left out of consultations by RBKC regardless ; but it is an start, and we think it’s time for more residents to get together to get the DJ to change the record.

Most of the RBKC “Resident Emgagement” or “Community Engagement ” officers do not live here, and when they are usually at work, do not venture out of their offices very often, so quite a lot of them do not know a great deal – either about this borough or its residents; which explains quite a lot. We think it’s time they got to know us better.

Oh, and just in case the RBKC needle gets stuck on the same old repetitive scratchy record and our council still fails to acknowledge you and/or recognise your organisation after lockdown when there cannot be any possible excuse, feel free to get in touch with THINK and report it to us here and we will make some noise!

Not all RBKC residents are in an RA, group or compact (this includes some THINKers), or even have the possibility of setting one up – and the vast majority of people who fall into this category are not recognised at all . This situation also has to change, and we will be coming back to this on our blog sometime soon; the beat goes on…..

Don’t be a plonker on social media: Please support the community instead

THINK are sorry to our followers for our Twitter account still having technical difficulties. We hope to get it back up and running soon.

Lots of RBKC councillors like to get on Twitter too. but a few of them perhaps ought to think about what they put on social media first, because our blog has received a few complaints about a recent rather poorly judged Tweet from Labour Cllr Robert Atkinson (and no, the Photoshop of him above, is ours!).

Here it is:

What is wrong with someone tweeting about a few indulgences some might ask?

Well, nothing if that “someone” doesn’t happen to be a councillor for Notting Dale, one of the most deprived wards in the borough posting about them on his councillors public Twitter account.

With Coronavirus Covid-19 crisis, self isolation , many residents either ill, poor, unable to work and earn a living (or all of those) and with shortages at the local foodbank, perhaps Tweeting about your “priorities” featuring several bottles of your very nice bottles of sparkling vino might not happen to be in the best possible taste when at a time of pandemic crisis, when several of your ward constituents are wondering if they will be able to afford to eat or have basic essentials ?

Needless to say, some of Cllr Atkinson’s Notting Dale Ward constituents on Twitter weren’t too impressed:

Well, quite indeed.

We know Robert Atkinson well and do not believe he meant to upset anyone but maybe he might think more carefully when Tweeting in future and we guess the self isolation and social distancing might be getting to him as it is to quite a lot of us.

Oh well, hopefully Cllr Atkinson will get his priorities right in Notting Dale and make a donation to the Kensington and Chelsea Foodbank in his ward and also to look into some of the desperate situations that a number of his constituents are facing.

We are also hearing about people on zero hour contracts who may not qualify for extra help, others not identified as vulnerable (because they are not considered to be severely ill or regular NHS service users ) and some of the poorest residents who have prepaid key meters who are now struggling to have gas or electricity for their home, as well as elderly isolated residents who do not have the support from friends or family.

THINK say a huge thank you to the dedicated local volunteers who are keeping the foodbank up and running and also to those delivering food and essentials to so many residents in need.

Our readers can support Kensington and Chelsea Foodbank by making a donation via the website here:

And by donating food and other essential supplies on Mondays and Fridays from 10am to 3pm at Notting Hill Methodist Church, 240 Lancaster Road, London W11 4AH

Here is a list of items that the foodbank urgently needs:

RBKC Leadership Question Time: Dizzy Lizzy gets busy (or not!)

Sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back with RBKC.

At times, some of our points and suggestions at first appear to have been registered, but then are taken in a differemt direction.

Take the new “Question Time” initiative where residemts put their questions to the RBKC Leadership Team for starters.

Now where did they get the idea fot this from we wonder?

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/think-halloween-special-2-a-nightmare-in-hornton-street/

But before residents get too hopeful, here comes the Rotten Borough with a large pin to burst that particular balloon. Because here, posted on Nextdoor, is what the council says:

We know our residents have a lot of questions about our response to COVID-19 so we want to help answer them with a new video series – Question time. #AskRBKC

First up is Leader Elizabeth Campbell who will answer your questions directly. What do you need to do?Email a 30 second (or less) landscape video asking a question with the subject line – Question time and your topic (housing, business, etc) to socialmedia@rbkc.gov.uk & include your Twitter social handle + name by Sunday 5 April.We’ll then select the most popular questions based on what’s asked the most to feature in a video(s) where Elizabeth will answer directly. Any specific questions about housing, business, etc will be addressed by members of the Leadership Team on video at a later date. Let us know what’s on your mind.

Well, that’s not quite what we had in mind….

Our idea back last year was for a regular meeting and that is currently impossible of course , actually what we had in mind was a format that was as inclusive as possible, and a live online webcast and with written questions from residents submitted prior to the meeting via email.

We know that many more residents regarding Coronavirus Covid-19 will be in far more vulnerable positions than ourselves, so THINKers will be sitting this one out, but definitely plan to tune in to see the questions and responses.

But as the RBKC Leadership Team read THINK regularly, here are just a few questions for them regarding this particular setup:

1. Why are they not accepting emailed questions? (not everyone is on Twitter, some people are not comfortable being on camera – especially at this time )

2. Time limits – why? (It’s not as if the RBKC Cabinet have their diary pages completely full of meetings and engagements at this time . Not many questions last under 30 seconds and there is only until this Sunday to get them in)

3. Who is picking and choosing the questions anyway? Popular with whom? (Having had more than enough of selective community engagement from Dizzy and co we are guessing that means questions which are more favourable to them).

Our council seems to have forgotten that not everyone is on Twitter (our Twitter account is still out of action – sorry!), or knows how to send landscape videos of themselves, or would feel up to it – it looks like they are excluding quite a lot of the most affected and vulnerable people in the borough – namely the elderly, the sick and the poor – by having the exercise in this video “quicksnap questions” format.

Anyway THINKers know that our readers will no doubt have plenty of questions to put to Dizzy Lizzy and her colleagues so we encourage everyone who can, to take part.

We suppose it is something and at least something is better than nothing, but the residents of Kensington amd Chelsea really deserve to be treated with more respect.

These are troubling times to say the least, and the communities of this borough will be less than satisfied with mere words, statements or PR exercises from Dizzy Lizzy and her “Team” .

When April Fools aren’t funny #2: DWP fail to acknowledge Coronavirus

Some people never cease to amaze and astound us, and not in a good way:

We thought that RBKC messes and blunders were bad enough, but it appears that some people working at the Government Department for Work and Pensions may be in need of having their heads examined, because why on earth, during a pandemic crisis when our country is in lockdown, would they think that right now of all times, is the best time to be sending out “Capability for work” questionnaires to people??!!

Look, we get it that the DWP have to send these out to those in receipt of social security benefits, that is not the issue. The issue is, er, don’t these people watch the news, read the papers or look online or something?

If not, let’s educate them shall we?

Here, for the DWP, is just a bit today’s news:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-update-live-news-cases-uk-map-latest-today-deaths-a9439711.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-52122761

Never mind the fact that of course, some of the people receiving these may indeed be too ill to work, too ill to go out or too ill to be doing anything else quite frankly. Not to mention that some people receiving these may still become very unwell . It could be weeks, if not months before anyone could be in a fit state to respond.

Seriously, we thought someone was pulling our leg until they sent us a screenshot of the letter, which was dated two weekes ago and the pillocks (we’re being polite!) who sent it have given people on Universal Credit only until the end of this month to send it back – with no thought as to how the people receiving the form will he able to not just give an up to date realistic response, but also may not be able to go out and send it back of course…… 🤦🏻‍♀️

A number of DWP staff could also be off due to the Coronavirus crisis , so how so they expect to process the thing?!!

Perhaps someone at the DWP just happens to have a very SICK sense of humour……

When April Fools aren’t funny #1: Housing Matters, but so does our health

We had thought that in very recent times, the RBKC Communications team had really stepped up. The website was being regularly updated and lots of important and relevant information was being shared with residents. Especially now, with Coronavirus Covid-19 and measures that needed to be taken – and we will also thank some of the RBKC Leadership Team for being quick and responsive on this. The latest updates on our council websire regarding the Coronavirus Covid-19 situation are here:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-service-disruptions-and-updates

Sadly this very recent good work by RBKC Communications Team appears to be undermined by some other “paper umbrellas and chocolate teapots” there who are supposed to be in charge of putting out RBKC’s publications.

For the benefit of our readers who do not live in social housing or did not get a copy of “Housing Matters” magazine, we will just show our readers exactly what we are referring to, starting with another look at the cover:

Yes – putting out that magazine out this weekend wasn’t the smartest idea……

Where do we start? The magazine clearly doesn’t portray social distancing on the cover.

It acknowledges Coronanvirus Covid-19, but advertises a “Neighbours Day” – which is apparently planned for some unannounced date in May in Chelsea Manor Street. Hang on a minute – we do not even know just how bad the Coronavirus situtation will get just yet. Aren’t these people supposed to follow the news and stay updated on such matters before they update us? Oh dear, it is hardly the right time to be even thinking about public events and celebrations:

Also the page giving dates of council meetings? (No don’t worry, all public Town Hall meetings have in fact been cancelled until further notice)

And advertising the “Great British Spring Clean” locally , which would in normal circumstances be otherwise a good initiative, but we are not living in normal times right now.

This is a very serious health situation and this is why we have a lockdown. Sorry we have to state the obvious, but someone is very clearly way off message.

And not to mention misleading families and young people into thinking that activities for young people in the borough are still up and running as usual:

While some of the other information in the publication, such as the Capital Works update, feedback from the residents summit and the new homes in the borough being planned (in Kensal Road, Acklam Road, Hewer Street and St Helens Gardens) may be very useful for residents to know, but someone still should have withheld publication until they had made some VERY important edits first.

We are also concerned that this magazine during lockdown, could in fact be sending out the wrong signls and mislead some residents into thinking that during this crisis, with lockdown and social distancing, that something like a game of football in the park, may be in some ways OK – it really isn’t.

We will remind our council that many residents in the interests of our mental health and wellbeing and the , need our parks to stay open, and say that we are pleased that so far, they have remained so, but people need to use them responsibly. Pretending nothing is happening will not help matters and could put residents’ health at risk further and our council really should be leading the way here .

Quite why someone was frankly, daft enough to give the go ahead for this edition of Housing Matters to be published and distributed to households this weekend is a mystery to us.

Interestingly, the magazine was also distributed in and around our Editor’s locality but not to the social housing flats where she lives! So it appears that someone obviously was very aware of these mistakes and did not want us to see them……

We did say to some councillors and staff at RBKC some time back, that we would like the council meetings to be publicised more widely in the community – but of course, all Town Hall business has been cancelled; so their information is completely useless.

It is also not fair to the councillors and staff who are trying to do something positive, when some reckless moron is just allowed to go ahead and undermine their public credibility and good work.

We say they should terminate the employment of whichever doofus thought it was a good idea to put the thing out in these circumstances without at least junking several of the pages first; surely they proof read their publications before sending them out?

A public statement and apology from RBKC wouldn’t go amiss either.

We also wonder how much of our public money has been wasted on this exercise?

At least residents will have something handy when the toilet paper runs out.

Talk about ” publish and be damned”!

Coronavirus Covid-19: Just a few brief words from us…..

THINK apologise for our lengthy absence and we hope our readers will understand – this is a very difficult time for everyone.

This is not a typical post for us, but these are far from typical times….

Our thoughts are with all affected with Coronavirus, all who are working in the frontline services – especially our NHS professionals, others who are volunteering in the community and everyone who is working during this difficult time.

We have made sone necessary changes to our help and infomation page – and are still updating it (our much-missed events page sadly seems like a lifetime away right now ).

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/coronavirus-covid-19-help-and-support-in-our-community/

Please also do look out for others who might not be getting necessary help. Some may be ill and its worth remembering that everyone who may need help will reach out, use social media, be known to or particularly welcome the attention from organisations or others they might not know. If some of your local friends or relatives have nor been in tpuch for some time, it’s worth checking up on them. That doesn’t mean paying a visit of course – but doesn’t hurt to make a phonecall simply to check in and see how they are.

We hope that others will be sensible, mindful and safe. It’s all been said before, but do please stay in – unless it is absolutely necessary to go out. Please, if you do go out, keep 2 metres away from others and please do no use public transport.

Many people,will also be going stir-crazy stuck indoors and the lack of work and social life can take a toll on one’s mental wellbeing.

Aa for us, we will be going into our archives, and writing about other matters relevant to tbis blog – so . – please no ranting or accusing us of forgetting that we are in a pandemic crisis – WE KNOW.

We are just hoping that our country, city and neighbourhood will be safe soon and (we can’t believe we’re saying this) actually look forward to things going back to “business as usual” – we just do not know when that will be…..

There is an increased demand for reading material after all – and not forgetting that our sanity might depend on doing something productive.

Hopefully we see you on the other side; whenever that will be, and let’s all hope we can all get through this together.

RBKC Fail #3: Piglet-Pies “Grenfell is our number one priority”

Back in July when RBKC took the decision to abolish the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee, this is what RBKC Conservative councillor for Redcliffe and former Mayor Marie-Therese Rossi had to to say: “It is not the case that Grenfell will be forgotten or that we are taking away your voice, that will not happen as long as I am chair of the Overall Scrutiny Committee. As such I will have overall responsibility for Grenfell-related matters and also responsibility for allocating work to the other four select committees

Grenfell not forgotten? Oh really?

Just 15 minutes of the last Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting were spent discussing Grenfell related-issues.

As for the committee, only committee member and Courtfield councillor Cllr Janet Evans had any thought to bring Grenfell matters to that last meeting and we thank her for this.

For further background to the RBKC committee changes and local concerns, please see these posts of ours:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/05/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-1-the-build-up-and-the-showdown/&ved=2ahUKEwii35vBuJDoAhVxlFwKHUPHD9YQFjAAegQIBhAC&usg=AOvVaw0GjN3ebMlTNtp6AJmXk_c0

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-2-grenfell-committee-gets-the-chop-as-dizzy-lizzy-and-rbkc-lose-their-heads-the-full-council-meeting/

Our local comnunity had been concerned that the committee changes would leave Grenfell matters splintered across various oher committees or not discussed at all.

And we are sad to report that this is exactly what has happened.

Look, we actually think having an Overview and Scrutiny Committee overseeing some council committees happens to not be a bad idea.

We do not think that the Grenfell Community Assembly meetings are a bad idea, but essentially they are the same apart from in name as the RBKC Listening Forums that go on elsewhere in other parts of the borough. Useful to some residents they may be, but they are in no way shape or form, an adequate replacement for a scrutiny committee. Clearly Cllr Rossi could do with doing some listening to residents as she even pathetically tried to fob North Kensington residents off with trying to make this excuse on Friday.

But their changes to abolish the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee and reduce scrutiny overall have left us for the worse…

It’s just such a pity that some councillors and senior staff did away with the GRSC and still seemingly wish to sweep Grenfell and North Kensington under the carpet at every other meeting.

That Friday, at the Grenfell Soil and Environmental Checks meeting (and we have a post reporting on this meeting in further detail coming up this week) residents relayed their concerns about the environmnent around our area, toxins and our health to Cllr Rossi.

Cllr Malcolm Spalding, who chaired the meeting and who also chairs the RBKC Environment Select Committee said he would discuss some parts of this in his committee (that was after he had gotten out of “school teacher mode”) and Rossi appeared flummoxed and merely talked of getting committee “working groups ” together , but both councillors essentially told residents that these matters had under the committee changes, to be referred separately to separate council committees – Environment and Health.

A THINKer pointed out to Cllr Rossi, that we previously had a council committee which could address these related matters together – that’s right : the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee – which our council got rid of and that separating these matters will not help, and that most residents do not have the time to go to lots of different committee meetings so under the current council process, this can never be fully explored, discussed and participated in – to no avail.

Understandably after many locals, including THINKers were left feeling even more upset and frustrated and some people even walked out during the meeting. Also noted at Friday’s meeting was the absence of RBKC Grenfell Executive members.

Anyway, because some at RBKC appear to be in the practice of regularly misleading, fobbing off and frustrating residents, THINK will finish this post with a certain practice of ours. Those unfamiliar with our “Piglet-Pie Awards” may want to see this with regards to the origins of the term:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/well-ask-nick-whos-telling-the-truth/amp/&ved=2ahUKEwj06OmBuZDoAhWCQUEAHWOeBQAQFjAAegQIBhAC&usg=AOvVaw2OQ0a6u5c4Enf8UTX2H2iQ&ampcf=1

And also this, featuring our first ever deserved recipients of the award (that “surveyor’s report” saying Wornington College was not fit for purpose never did turn up by the way) :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/kcc-board-take-our-first-ever-piglet-pie-award/

So, first of all we will go back to last Summer, and for her blatant Piglet-Pies about supposedly consulting with residents on the committee changes (she had falsely claimed to have spoken to 348 residents associations for starters ), and for continuing to tell Piglet-Pies about how Grenfell will always be this council’s number one priority, THINK present the Leader of our council, Dizzy Lizzy, with a more than well deserved Piglet-Pie Award:

But we are not quite finished yet; because for also previously repeatedly claiming that “Grenfell is our number one priority”, for telling Piglet-Pies by claiming that Grenfell would be top of the agenda at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and failing to ensure that it was, and for also falsely claiming that the Grenfell Community Assembly meetings are an adequate replacement for a scrutiny committee, THINK are also proud to present Marie-Therese Rossi with a Piglet-Pie Award too:

Shame on the pair of them.

The next Overview and Scrutiny Conmittee is at 6:30pm tonight at Kensington Town Hall. Here, for any residents who may wish to go, are the agenda and details (and at least the website is working this time):

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/committees/Meetings/tabid/73/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/669/Meeting/8043/Committee/1613/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx

Sonetimes we feel like we have had enough and are not sure if it is worth our going, but maybe sending North Kensington residents into despair, distress and leaving us emotionally exhausted to the point where we just give up, was what RBKC intended in the first place?

RBKC Fail #2: 🎶Working as a waitress in a cocktail bar…..🎶

This is Kirsty Tobin, she is both Head of content, channels and digital and also Head of Grenfell Communications at RBKC.

Some residents referring to Ms Tobin’s particular sense of style, have described her as a “Human League reject circa 1983”! But Ms Tobin clearly does not appear to pay as much attention to her duties as she does to her appearance.

On Friday, there was a meeting about Grenfell Soil and Environmental Checks . It fell to THINK to publicise this as our council failed to mention it anywhere. Not on social media, and not in the many publications that come through our doors nowadays such as “North Ken News” or “Housing Matters”.

It gets worse than that, because residents looking for details of the meeting on the RBKC website were for some reason redirected to details for a Planning Applications Committee meeting from last February instead.

As for Friday’s Grenfell meeting, some not very bright spark decided that holding the meeting at 10am when most residents are at work, would be a good idea. Furthermore, both the bad timing and the absence of publicity for a meeting of such local importance was not just an insult to the North Kensington community but also was an insult to Professor Paul Nathanial who had turned up there expecting more than just a handful of residents to be there asking questions and his disappointment in this did not go unnoticed.

It is not only residents in North Kensington and visitors however, who are being let down by Kirsty and her colleagues. The webcasts of Full Council meetings do not appear to be working at all – so much for their “improvements”

As for “channels” if that means RBKC’s YouTube page, it is not regularly updated and nor is it easy for users to find what they are looking for.

Also something ought to be mentioned about that Planning Application Committee meeting from February 4th last month – which had a very packed agenda with several items and several objections, so it was obvious that there would be a very large number of residents attending the Town Hall, but still someone thought it was a good idea to pack them into a little committee room with people crushed against the door, while both the Council Chamber and the Small Hall remained empty.

We have to tell RBKC that particularly after Grenfell, that it does not exactly look good for the council in charge to be breaching health and safety conditions publicly in their own administrative centre.

The RBKC website might at first sight look nicer, but it is still clunky, malfunctioning and hard to navigate and just as bad, if not worse than ever.

RBKC residents are now facing a 3.9% increase in council tax and tenants are facing a 5% rent increase partly to pay for such incompetence and we deserve better than people who cannot organise a p*** up in a brewery or just do not care.

We wouldn’t even trust Ms Tobin to get the orders in a cocktail bar right. ….

If RBKC really wants to improve, it is time that they stopped wasting our money on paying cosy salaries to people for doing next to nothing, and here is a venue that is more suitable and appropriate than Hornton Street, for “Kirsty Hopeless” and her non-skills:

RBKC Fail #1 Where has the lame Grenfell “Pantomime Horse” gone?

After RBKC scrapped the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee last year, most residents of our community have hardly seen or heard much from the RBKC Grenfell Team.

Pictured above, is Dr Robyn “Dobbin” Fairman the Chief Executive of the RBKC Grenfell Team, who once ( back at a time when the Committee meetings were going ) locked horns with a THINKer over which parts of our community were affected. Dobbin, who came here from Lewisham, arrogantly thought she knew our community better than its residents!

But that was then and this is now. and what appears to have happened is that the Grenfell team has decided to just leave matters of Grenfell Recovery to residents, campaigners and voluntary organisations and disappear from North Kensington.

Residents can make complaints, but here, from the RBKC website, is a list of complaints they will take on board:

  • “The application of the Grenfell Rehousing Policy in the rehousing of former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk.
  • The application of the Wider Grenfell Rehousing Policy in the rehousing of residents of Barandon Walk, Testerton Walk, Hurstway Walk, Treadgold House and Bramley House.
  • The Dedicated Service for bereaved and survivors.
  • Management of properties occupied by former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk, including complaints about repairs to properties.
  • The Curve Community Centre.
  • The Family and Friends Assistance Centre.
  • The former keywork service, discretionary financial payments or other support provided to those affected during the emergency response phase”

So thats no mention of any help other than at The Curve for affected North Kensington residents nor any acknowledgement of us at all outside the aforementioned blocks and streets ; we don’t exist

Also nothing regarding lack of provision of 24 hour drop-in quiet space provided to lone adult and older residents – that means a neutral non-clinical space where visitors will not be inadvertently interrupting a meeting , yoga session, language class, employment/training session etc. and somewhere that is free of children running around and background noise.

That also , regarding the rehousing policy, amounts to a big two fingers from the council to any other traumatised Grenfell-affected council residents in the area who are asking to be moved.

Unsurprisingly, Kirsty Tobin, another unhelpful member of the Grenfell Team, appears to be responsible for the dismissive tone of this, but we have more about Ms Tobin coming up in part 2,…

Also regarding parts of the community affected, we are sorry to sound like a broken record will just leave this here again and are sorry for repeating ourselves but RBKC still do not get it: The “wider community” term appears to attach Grenfell-related concerns to residents living some distance further away from Grenfell, most of whom with respect, do not live in the immediate community, do not see Grenfell Tower from their neighbourhood let alone home and do not necessarily relate to issues around this locality. But our council appears to spend more time and effort into consulting on Grenfell issues with residents of Royal Hospital Ward or Brompton and Hans Town Ward just for example – rather than residents in North Kensington wards. Please reconsider this term because it is causing further suffering here.

So what about the others who are supposed to be helping us? Sheila Durr is another member of the Grenfell Team who has failed our community. Here is an old post of ours regarding sonething Fairman and Durr helped to do; axe a night service for traumatised residents (this was back from when they first tried to get rid of it):

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/rbkc-does-u-turn-after-trying-to-axe-grenfell-night-service-for-traumatised-north-kensington-residents-again/

Durr the disgraceful was supposed to be the “Director for Communities and People” We have heard that she has apparently since left her post at RBKC, not that her lack of presence has been noticed or that anyone misses her “work”…

Not all members of the Grenfell Team are completely lacking in humanity and compassion, we have heard some positive feedback from some residents regarding Callum Wilson, who is head of service for Grenfell Assistance Centres .

We are glad to hear that Mr Wilson did help make sone inprovements to services at The Curve, and has listened to some of the survivors and bereaved. Though this was not a good start:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/the-curious-case-of-the-curve-the-council-and-real-causes-for-community-concern/

But at least he appears to be the only member of the team who is doing something helpful and not just putting out PR or else ignoring people ….

As for anyone else on the Grenfell Team, none of them has shown any interest in listening to and/or working with North Kensington residents and have not even bothered to attend local events related to their brief. We accept that the likes of Robyn Fairman and Callum Wilson cannot be everywhere, but all their other colleagues have done a complete disappearing act

Some could wonder if some of them are unaware of what their full brief is, but Dr Fairman is far too intelligent for that, so it leaves us with the sad conclusion that they are deliberately neglecting our community and do not see Gremfell Recovery in North Kensington as any part of their duty and instead believe it to be work purely for residents, campaign groups, charitable organisations and the NHS to be getting on with.

This is wrong and they still do not get it, but what is even more wrong is the fact that our council appears to believe that neglecting the needs of a devastated community is in any way, acceptable.

Of course, the Grenfell Team would not be turning their backs on us just by themselves and are just likely following orders. and clearly the training courses in compassion that some councillors have supposedly undertaken haven’t worked….

And since July, the Grenfell Team has been allowed to carry on its work (or not) and ignore most residents in North Kensington and be subject to next to no council scrutiny at all – what a disgrace.

Grenfell Soil Residents Environment Meeting in North Kensington tomorrow

At 10am, tomorrow Friday the 6th of March, at Westway Trust, 1 Thorpe Close, W10 5XL there will be a special meeting of the RBKC Environment Select Committee regarding Grenfell soil and environmental checks.

We are very sorry for the short notice, but it didn’t exactly help things because the RBKC website appears to have gone on the blink. We got this screenshot only today:

We have headed this post with a humourous Photoshop of the RBKC Cabinet (on the theme of the children’s “The Garden Gang” books by Jayne Fisher), but THINKers are affected North Kensington locals and sometimes a little humour keeps us going in dark times, but that does not detract from the actual seriousness of the issue (actually it helps sometimes by getting more people to sit up and take notice).

But sadly some at our local authority do not appear to be actually taking the matter seriously as we are receiving reports from upset residents looking on the RBKC website for details, only to be redirected to an agenda for an unconnected RBKC Planning Applications Committee meeting last month.

Here are the results of the first stage of the Government environmental test carried out in the Spring and Summer of 2019:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/grenfell-environmental-checks-stage-1-report

Yes, these were done over a year after Grenfell.

Just for some brief background, some of our readers may remember this back in October 2018 from The Guardian regarding the findings of Dr Anna Stec:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/12/toxins-found-in-grenfell-tower-soil-study-finds

Also our guest post for fellow North Kensington blog Urban Dandy on the matter:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/urbandandylondon.com/2018/10/17/grenfell-air-myers/amp/

Well we hope that the RBKC Environment Select Committee and the RBKC Cabinet can at last try to be more open on this, because at the time only the RBKC opposition councillors echoed the concerns expressed by our community.

Other officials ought to be there tomorrow too and answer some questions , but we won’t hold our breath…..

Our blog will remind all Committee members, any RBKC Cabinet members and any Government officials who do happen to turn up, that our local community is still very traumatised and distressed.

It also doesn’t help matters with Phase Two of the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry underway and survivors, the bereaved and North Kensington residents already having to watch a show of buck passing, fobbing off and deals being made. Unsurprisingly, trust in some of those in charge is at a particularly low point among the many affected

If the authorities involved wish to restore at least some of that trust, then some honesty, openness and taking responsibility for actions and inactions would be a good place to start, even though on this subject, with regards to health concerns affecting residents regarding Grenfell toxins, some of those in charge (and we mean the Government and Public Health England in particular here) may have already left this matter rather too late. Stable doors, bolts and horses come to mind….

Lawless, pointless, clueless and hopeless RBKC Housing: Residents made to suffer

Sometimes we are so exasperated by this council and its housing that we don’t know where to start.

Lawless

Just what sort of local authority refuses to move tenants who have been attacked previously around their building (they asked to move before – no help provided).

Then when same tenant is threatened with violence – again no help provided. RBKC Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Grenfell Recovery, but Housing amd Property Kim Taylor-Smith did tell the tenant (who lives around the corner from Grenfell in fact) to get in touch with him so they did – to absolutely no response whatsoever. As it is, the tenant’s safety is at risk but the Rotten Borough of Kensington and Chelsea do not care. There has already been one untimely death of a resident in the same block; a very cynical person could almost think that this is RBKC’s preferred method of freeing up housing stock….

The tenant that “Tailored-Sloth” is ignoring has been reporting antisocial behaviour in and around that block for years to little avail (our council expects social housing residents to live in lawless slums?)

But they are not the only tenants who are expected live with threats, violence, drug dealing amd other forms of antisocial behaviour because our council cannot be bothered to do anything. What a disgrace.

Pointless

There is no point in asking residents to go to the Police if there are hardly any local Police left (with knowledge of background and circumstances as well as the area and the Police do not have the power to move them or in other cases evict the problem neighbours. On occasions when Police try to help, their hands are tied. As housing staff fail to keep records of incidents, trying to report things or indeed having any sort of conversation on these matters with them is absolutely pointless. Not all housing staff are terrible of course, but how are some decent and hardworking staff supposed to help if they do not have enough information because some of their colleagues amd predecessors did not think it worth their bother to provide any?

Clueless

If there is a senior member of RBKC staff who appears to embody cluelessness, step forward Rachel Sharpe, Director of Housing Needs and Supply.

We have written about housing needs (and lack of support) before:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/rbkc-no-housing-support/

It appears Ms Sharpe is not only ignoring residents; she ignoring her very remit.

Disabled and ill tenants who are being inadequately housed have actually been told by her to apply for suitable housing outside London!

She might want to check the title of her job again.

Deluded and clueless Rachel “Wendolene” Sharpe actually thinks our council has a very good level of community engagement:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/12/18/a-delusional-director-at-the-sharpe-end-wendolene-just-doesnt-get-it/

With concerns of so many residents outside big estates not being listened to (and even a lot of those are ignored) Who is she kidding?

It is all very well that the council wants to improve fire safety, but they have one hell of a long way to go. Some issues that were pointed to by both residents and the Fire Brigade have still not been dealt with.

We had hopes for Doug Goldring, Director of Housing Management but he appears to have fallen into the same patterns we had at the TMO.

Where is the fresh thinking here?

Not to mention some residents and RAs being favoured over others, to the point where it is causing divisions and hostility between people. Just how does he imagine this will help matters?

Sometimes many residents are not seeing the point in attending meetings or contacting senior staff if their concerns stand no chance of being taken seriously.

Hopeless

It is hopeless of Kim Taylor-Smith to have high ambitions for RBKC and its housing if he and his colleagues are failing on the basics such as resident communication, engagement and safety for starters. We have seen a couple of steps in the right direction and heard the righr noises, but there is a lot of talk and not enough action. We remind Kim and his colleagues that putting on a PR show will not make this all go away.

A number of residents whose safety is at risk and others who are being ignored feel they are drowning in a sea of utter hopelessless and despair while the same old TMO “Pirate Ship” continues to steer the same sorry old course. Not that we hold out much hope ourselves that pointing this out will ever make a difference as it appears those in charge do not care one bit – shame on them.