Housing and Communities Select Committee to discuss Grenfell progress

Friday 17 July 2020

A report highlighting progress on rehousing Grenfell survivors and how the community programme is supporting local residents, is due to be discussed at the Housing and Communities Select Committee meeting on Monday 20 July.

This is the last in a series of updates that have been discussed at other committees looking at other elements of the Grenfell Recovery Programme.

Cllr Anne Cyron, Lead Member for Communities said: “This report highlights the progress we have made together with the local community to help them lead their own recoveries.

“We know there is still much we have to do and we will continue to listen and work with our communities to deliver services that they tell us they need and want.”

Housing Grenfell survivors

The Council has continued to work closely with survivors to find them new homes. Over 95 per cent of the 201 households who needed to be rehoused from Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk are now living in their permanent homes. There are seven households who are living in private rented accommodation but most of these have now accepted new homes and are waiting for safety and personalisation works to be completed. This work should be completed by September 2020 to allow these families to move into their new homes.

The Grenfell Housing Services team delivers dedicated housing support to former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk in their permanent homes, in partnership with the Dedicated Service. The team provides a bespoke repairs service which had a 100 per cent resident satisfaction rating in March 2020.

The Grenfell Housing Service is also about to start working with these residents on a range of environmentally-friendly initiatives to help them reduce their utility bills.

Wider Grenfell housing

There are 19 families from the wider Grenfell area (this includes the Walkways, Treadgold House and Bramley House) who are living in temporary homes, the majority in private rented accommodation. A small number of these would like to return to their homes but are waiting for improvement works to be finalised. Sixteen families have applied to move to new homes and have been awarded additional housing points through the Wider Grenfell Rehousing Policy to help with this process. Many are looking for larger three or four-bedroom properties which are in short supply in borough.

The Council is working on a number of schemes to help tackle this problem. For temporary accommodation we are working with providers to secure larger properties while for social housing we have started to work with our registered providers to look at overall supply and to meet our need for larger properties. We are also working with planning to ensure we maximise larger homes through the planning process where possible and new developments.

There are still seven families from the wider Grenfell area who do not want to return to their homes and who have not relinquished their tenancies, many of these are larger properties. This does create a delay for other families who are on the Housing Register and waiting for larger properties.

Community Programme

As part of the Grenfell Recovery Strategy, we made a commitment to deliver a Community Programme that would build on the extraordinary community response in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

The Programme is focused on supporting new and established organisations to develop their skills and build capacity so that residents can continue to lead their own recovery.

Community Leadership Programme

The Community Leadership Programme has equipped over 1000 residents and local organisations with new skills and knowledge as well as helping them prepare to bid for funding through the Grenfell Projects Fund - another element of the Community Programme.

To date £300k has been allocated to the Community Leadership Programme which last year launched with a series of workshops and courses. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the second phase of the programme has seen the Council team up with a number of voluntary sector partners to offer digital courses and workshops to all Kensington and Chelsea residents over the age of 18 from the comfort of their own homes. The virtually-delivered courses cover everything from football leadership, food safety and project management to accounting, first aid and even barbering.

The online programme will be delivered until September 2020. Once lockdown rules enable face-to-face courses to be delivered safely, we will deliver further courses until March 2021.

Grenfell Projects Fund

The Grenfell Projects Fund was developed and designed with residents and enabled local organisations to apply for up to £700k to deliver projects to support local communities. A total of 52 projects were awarded funding at two Grenfell Projects Fund Decision Days where residents voted for the projects they wanted delivered in the local area. These participatory budgeting events were a first for Kensington and Chelsea and placed the power in the hands of local residents.

The Projects Fund had to be paused due to Covid-19 but we have kept in regular contact with all successful recipients to see if they could adapt their projects to allow for current circumstances. Eleven projects have amended their plans to provide a digital offer. Those projects which can’t be delivered online, will wait to progress their projects once lockdown allows.

The Curve Community Centre

The Grenfell Recovery Strategy committed to reviewing the future of The Curve Community Centre. A full public consultation into the Centre’s future took place in 2019 and ran for 12 weeks from July 2019 to September 2019.

A total of 238 responses were received and nine individual interviews took place alongside two stakeholder focus groups.

Residents provided a clear sense of direction for how they would like The Curve to respond to current needs. As a result, the service developed an Action Plan in partnership with the Board of Governors. Work to identify priorities had to be paused due to Covid-19 but is now restarting as lockdown eases and the Curve looks to reopen its doors safely. Among its priorities will be a staffing restructure and the recruitment of new Governors.

All Curve programmes and services were suspended, which included counselling, complimentary theory, gym and fitness classes, employment and training programmes, social and cultural events. Online courses are now being offered and there was a soft re-opening of The Curve on Monday 14 July for computer use and small group activity.

The Curve has also been helping to respond to the recent pandemic by becoming a temporary London Food Alliance distribution centre supporting food banks and community kitchens across the borough.

Grenfell Recovery Fund

Read more about other elements of the Grenfell Recovery Programme:

You can also view a breakdown of how the Grenfell Recovery Fund has been allocated.