in News June 14, 2018

Grenfell: How Interfaith Groups Responded

A terrible tragedy occurred one year ago today – one that sent ripples of dismay throughout the country. Over 70 people lost their lives and many more people suffered physical or psychological injuries when a fire swept through a tower block – Grenfell Tower in west London.

In the confusion that ensued, different people reacted in various ways. We decided to respond in a practical way – by helping those on the ground and by strengthening the bonds between different parts of the community. And we weren’t the only ones; Theos, a Christian thinktank, released a report last week – titled After Grenfell: The faith groups’ response – which concluded that faith groups responded “rapidly, compassionately and holistically” to the tragedy. It outlined how “at least 15 faith centres in the vicinity of Grenfell Tower helped”.

Amid the grief that immediately followed the tragic event, you could see faith groups in the community sticking together and being practical with their response. According to the report, faith communities and centres opened their doors or in some cases their homes, to people affected by the fire, helped to meet the immediate needs of those who have suddenly found themselves homeless by supplying food, water and clothes, supplied pastoral care; faith-sensitive support and, in some cases, professional counselling and collected receiving and distributing donations. It was true community spirit, people of all backgrounds came together and offered their support, in an act of unity, in light of the tragedy.

The community spent the days following the tragedy drawing up lists of those missing and continued to provide support for survivors who needed access to counselling or housing services. Different faith communities came together to feed 6,000 people affected by the blaze and offered them an interfaith safe space for prayer and reflection.

At Faiths Forum for London, we also felt that it would be pertinent to strengthen bonds within various parts of the community and unite people, and have therefore developed the Interfaith Social Action, Employability and Youth Leadership Workshop – an interfaith mentoring programme, aimed at 15-18 year olds from various faith centres near the Grenfell area. The programme will run this summer and aims to create a long-term impact and to build their confidence and skills which will boost their employability.

Nothing we can do will change the harrowing events of last summer, but it certainly doesn’t mean that we will ever forget the victims.

If you would like to know more about the Faiths Forum for London Interfaith Social Action, Employability and Youth Leadership Workshop? Contact us by clicking here.

in News June 14, 2018