SOS/GRENFELL PRESS RELEASE – 30/7/17 – REPUBLISHED
SOS Silence of Suicide, founded by Michael Mansfield QC and his partner Yvette Greenway, have hosted two ‘Safe Space To Talk’ meetings for the benefit of all those affected by the Grenfell atrocity.
In order to provide these meetings, we have have worked with a host of excellent volunteers, who have years of experience dealing with victims of trauma, including one Red Cross professional who helped organise our second meeting.
The SOS meetings have been extremely well received, with a 100% support for more, regular meetings on a long term basis.
The affected communities need consistent, constructive support as they deal with multiple emotions – trauma, depression, PTSD, grief, isolation – there are too many to mention. These issues affect all age groups, with children traumatised either through what they saw or the fact that their friends died in the atrocity.
SOS was asked, on both occasions, to offer those affected the chance to come together as a group to discuss how Grenfell has affected their mental wellbeing. It should be noted our work has also been endorsed by Duncan Bew, who himself treated some of the victims of Grenfell.
So, imagine our disbelief, dismay, horror and sadness, and that of our colleagues, when a request made to display our flyers, which advertised our meeting last Thursday, was DENIED. Yes, that’s right, DENIED. Why would a group meeting designed to help those at crisis point (and yes, there are hundreds) not be allowed to display its information?
Below is the email our Red Cross Volunteer received back when he posed the question about spreading the word to the vulnerable and traumatised. We are making this public because the Grenfell Response Team is made up of local authority figures and the volunteers we are told, are ‘preferred’ volunteers – we’ll leave you to decide what that may mean!
‘’On Thursday, July 27, 2017, 15:00, Grenfell Tower <Grenfell.Tower@hounslow.gov.uk> wrote:
We have spoken with the Community Volunteers and I am afraid it has been agreed that it is not possible to display the flyers in the centre.
Kind regards, Grenfell Response Team, The Curve’’
Following an email from myself, requesting a reason for this decision, (which remains unanswered as I type), I then rang to speak to someone at the Town Hall, but there was no answer from the extension number they gave me.
No explanation. And clearly no consultation with the affected communities. An in-house decision which took away the CHOICES AND RIGHTS the WHOLE community should have had.
We’re equally concerned to discover from reliable sources that survivors have been warned that if they contact, or engage with, 3rd party agencies (of which SOS is one), on any issues, their re-housing opportunities could be in jeopardy and they could be deemed to NOT have the best interests of their children at heart!!! A group of people due to join us last Thursday did not attend because ‘they’re too frightened of the consequences’ of engaging with third parties.
Such infringements are reprehensible and ill founded.
So far, we have one confirmed death by suicide as a result of Grenfell, with a further 21 attempts which, thankfully, were not successful, reported to us. The situation could become much worse. We are thankful to all the people who’ve spoken to us. They want the truth out there and they will not be stopped.
A veil of fear and mistrust is everywhere.
But SOS WILL CONTINUE. FOR THE PEOPLE.
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EVERYONE – SHARING IS CARING – Please do so – thanks.