An update on The Kensington + Chelsea Foundation’s Grenfell Tower Fund

Set up on the morning after the fire, the K+C Foundation’s Grenfell Tower Fund raised a total of £7.1 million. Of this, £5.5 million was distributed as quickly as possible to the survivors, bereaved and hospitalised, as well as being used to provide immediate support to local organisations responding to the tragedy, including those who lost their premises as a result of the fire.

The remaining £1.6 million was used to create the Grenfell Community Development Fund. Launched in September 2018, these funds have been being invested in community programmes in North Kensington to support those affected by the fire on their journey to healing.  This funding has now been fully distributed within the community through three distinct strands, enabling us to support the community in a variety of ways:

  • Green Shoots - for small, short-term, one-off projects and events
  • Organisation Champions – investing in organisations which played a key support role 
  • Community Investment Programmes – for projects with longer-term benefits and impact for the North Kensington community

Green Shoots - 144 projects funded.  Total £215,000.

Green Shoots was an easily accessible small grants fund of up to £1,000 for one-off projects which brought hope and joy to the North Kensington community, such as a street party, a series of workshops, a community barbecue or planting a new green space. This fund allowed us to respond flexibly and quickly to ideas and needs and was open to local constituted voluntary and community groups, faith groups, residents’ associations and community interest companies (CICs). Examples of projects supported include:

Minds United FC’s weekly football sessions for adults in North Kensington with mental health issues. The team participate in a mental health league once a month and provide transport via minibus for players who would otherwise struggle to travel to the games due to limited means or lack of confidence.

minds united team

“I didn't feel like I belonged to anything or anyone, I felt like a misfit in society. I feel like the bond we’ve built in Minds United FC is a family. You come and you're accepted.” Adam, team player.

Age UK Kensington + Chelsea’s Notting Hill Carnival Party for local older people, which was held on Portobello Green a few days before the bank holiday weekend in August 2019. Delivered in partnership with the Venture Community Association, the event celebrated the history of the Carnival and featured live salsa and calypso music, dancing, steelpan performances and Caribbean food.

Organisation Champions - 10 organisations funded.  Total £570,000.

This strand of the funding was used to support 10 organisations who stepped up and responded exceptionally to help the survivors, bereaved and others badly affected by the fire, and who continued to provide invaluable support to the community. Some of these organisations have a long history in the area and took on extra work as a result of the fire, whilst others were set up by local people to respond to new and urgent needs. The grants ranged from £10,000 to £30,000 for three years (Dec 2018 – Dec 2021) and were supported by an additional £50,000 a year from the National Lottery Community Fund. Examples of our Organisation Champions include:

Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre incorporates a mosque with a community hub and is one of the most frequented community centres in North Kensington. After the fire, it was one of the first organisations to open its doors to people seeking shelter and soon after became one of the five main centres where survivors and those affected by the fire could receive emergency support. The funding was used to provide a range of services including specialist individual and group therapeutic counselling sessions.

Latimer Community Art Therapy (LCAT) was set up on 17th June 2017 and began delivering clinical art psychotherapy services to local children out of the community centre on the Henry Dickens Estate, close to the Tower. It now provides art therapy services to children, adolescents and adults at the centre, as well as delivering in 11 primary schools. The funding was used to support  core costs which includes therapists’ salaries and the support of a finance assistant.

LCAT told us that the easily accessible funds were much needed during that time, when organisations were so incredibly focused on supporting people at a time of crisis – “We continue to be very grateful for all the help and support received from the Foundation. We are not skilled at fundraising and as everyone in the team also does delivery, we have found it difficult to really get to grips with finding alternative funding streams.”

Community Investment Programme - 16 projects supported.  Total £833,958.

The remaining funds were invested in projects which have longer-term benefits and impact for the North Kensington community, especially collaborative projects which saw organisations coming together with new and innovative ideas to respond to the priorities listed above. Examples of projects supported include:

The second phase of the Grenfell Community Memorial Mosaic which is located on the hoarding at the foot of the Tower and is a central focal point to honour those who lost their lives in the fire. The project is a collaboration between Al-Manaar MCHC and ACAVA. The Community Investment Programme funding supported the continuation of this project for a further two years, enabling 26 local schools, groups and organisations to take part, creating the leaves that will surround the flower.

grenfell mosaic with hand

Core support for Kids on the Green (KOTG), who started as an emergency response project within 24 hours of the fire. Initially the project was delivered outside on Norland Green and served as an outdoor respite for the community in the immediate area surrounding the Tower. It quickly grew into a larger scale project that was accessed by the wider community, delivering a fusion of arts, play and therapy. KOTG now have a permanent base on Latimer Road and offer a wide range of activities including under 5s stay and play, a youth club, music, dance, gardening, drama and fashion workshops. The grant was used to fund a part time Finance + Business Manager role to support organisational development.