‘It’s incredible the amount of people who responded’: Organisers praise scale of Grenfell Tower donations

Donation co-ordinators in south west London have been overwhelmed by the response to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

Una Jack, from Raynes Park, instigated a donation drive on Wednesday at the Lantern Arts Centre, which is now at full capacity.

Ms Jack said: “I’m so proud of our community, speechless, so taken back. We’ve been absolutely inundated.”

Ms Jack used a local community app to inform people in the area about where to bring items such as clothes, food, baby essentials and toiletries.

Several donations arrived on Wednesday, but most were brought in on Thursday, from those living in Raynes Park, Wimbledon, Motspur Park and even Surrey.

Other donations were directed to Ms Jack’s home, which she drove to the arts centre.

Ms Jack co-ordinated with building company Space 2 Build to collect the donations and drive them to Latimer Road, north Kensington, for victims of the fire.

One driver, a man called Jemel, has a sister who lives adjacent to Grenfell Tower and was moved from her accommodation.

As the siblings know close friends and families who lived in the block, Ms Jack hopes Jemel’s connection will ensure the Raynes Park donations go to the right people.

Three vans of donations drove to Latimer Road on Friday morning, with two more due to be filled up on Friday evening.

Ms Jack said: “Without Space 2 Build, we wouldn’t have been able to do this.”

Phone chargers, gift cards and vouchers can still be donated and Ms Jack recommends keeping an eye on the Next Door app for updates.

She said: “It’s our community helping their community. We’re all London.”

David Kirkland, administrator for the Lantern Arts Centre, worked with colleague Naomi Yearwood to help Ms Jack organise the donations and said the range of items was staggering.

Mr Kirkland said: “People were coming in throughout the day, constantly, there were dozens, scores of people.”

He added: “By the end of the day we received more than expected. It was impossible to keep track of who was donating.”

Mandy Hargreaves, who works at south west London children’s charity Jigsaw 4 U, was one of three colleagues managing donation drives and praised the big community effort.

The Lantern Arts Centre agreed to take their donations, which amounted to several cars-full.

Ms Hargreaves said: “We diverted our toys and resources collected at different times throughout the year such as Christmas. We know our partners, friends and family would think this is a suitable thing to do with them. Anything we had we took immediately.”


The charity also appealed for items to be taken to a primary school and to a colleague’s relative’s Collier’s Wood home.

Ms Hargreaves added: “It’s incredible the amount of people who responded.”

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