Hackney's generous volunteers and donors do borough proud after Grenfell Tower blaze
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 June 2017
The generosity of people in Hackney has been praised after a community group was inundated with donations for victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze.
At least 79 people died in the fire which ripped through the 24-storey building in the early hours on Wednesday last week.
That morning FountLondon, which has a nursery, restaurant and shop, announced it was opening up its railway arches in Westgate Street as a drop-off point for people who couldn’t make it over to west London to bring clothes, food, toiletries – or even offers of accommodation.
Fount’s founder, Rachel Munro-Peebles, told the Gazette: “We had a massive response, and the community was amazing.
“Lovely local people who wanted to help were bringing in things like cribs and we filled up a quarter of our big outdoor space.”
Because Kensington and Chelsea Council had so many donations it asked people to donate cash rather than goods.
Ms Munro-Peebles said: “We had to stop donations on the Friday by noon.
“Maybe 50 people donated, and they would have just kept coming. People were still turning up in transit vans.
“We didn’t have anyone to deliver it for free, but Fount paid for the Addison Lee vans – that was our contribution, and I’m glad we did it.”
Fount is now considering whether to open up the appeal again in a fortnight or so once the victims have been re-housed. “That’s when they might need things,” she said.
Meanwhile Captain Ruth Gray, from the Salvation HQ at Clapton, has been living on-site with her husband Karl in a camper van, along with another volunteer from the Hoxton office.
The church and charity has drafted in its volunteers city-wide because of the need to provide five people at a time working four to six hour shifts.
Ruth said: “We drove to Shoreditch fire station, where our emergency response van is located, and that is permanently stocked with food – chocolate bars, crisps and cans of pop.
“We picked up items for sandwiches on the way from local shops so we can support the emergency services and anyone at the incident who needs our help.
“It is horrendous. I have never seen anything this tragic. People are really glad to have someone who is just prepared to listen to them.”