June 2018 – Remembering Grenfell
The horrific scenes we all witnessed on Wednesday 14th June 2017 has stayed in our minds long after the flames were extinguished. At Grief Encounter we knew that such a traumatic event would have a huge and profound impact on the community and families involved. In the days immediately after the fire we set about providing our services, completely free of charge, to help the children directly affected. We were in the local schools, present at community gatherings and survivors’ meetings, making sure that those whose lives had been turned upside down knew Grief Encounter were there to support them.
Over the last year we have continued our work in the area, in partnership with local survivor associations such as Grenfell United and other community groups. Here are some examples of what support we have been providing;
- In local schools we provided immediate support in the aftermath of the tragedy, helping staff and students who were in a state of intense shock and overwhelmed with sadness. We have continued our work in several schools providing specialist training for staff on how best to support bereaved and traumatised children.
- In August 2017 we ran a two-week Summer Community Project at the local Playground Theatre, which was run by our therapists, who are all specialists in grief and trauma work. The project supported around 190 children, allowing them to explore and discuss their emotions in a safe space. One mother commented that after the project her son left feeling; “focused, wanting to return and excited about returning….He really enjoyed it and it allowed him to come out of his shell.”
- In December 2017, around 150 children affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy, spent time learning to sing and dance with several stars of West End shows. One of the families that attended had lost a staggering 17 friends in the fire, and were still processing their trauma and loss. The arts workshops provided a safe space for children to come and make friends, and share their experiences. We also had a separate space for parents to sit and talk and speak to our therapists, so that they too felt supported
- On May 13th 2018, in partnership with Action for Children and the Metropolitan Police, we held a memorial called Remembering Together, at the foot of the tower. The Memorial was an opportunity for the grieving children to have their own occasion to remember their loved ones. Overseen by faith leaders from North Kensington, the day began with multi-faith prayers, followed by tributes to those that had died. The bereaved youngsters created a “tree of life” made up of their hand prints, performed a song dedicated to the West London community and created a heart-shaped wreath of flowers that was placed (by a police officer) on the roof of the tower. Designed by the children themselves, the service was their unique way of remembering the loved ones they have lost.
The last year has been a traumatic and tumultuous time for those children affected by the fire, and the mental scars left by the tragedy will take time to heal. It is our aim, that with our continued commitment and support we will help these youngsters as they come to terms with their grief.
We want to say a HUGE thank you to all of those that have already donated to our Grenfell Appeal, which has helped fund our services to date. To continue our vitally important work with the children and families affected, we need continued support.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you require any more information on our services and our work with the Grenfell survivors community.