Brent marked the first anniversary of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire by turning the Civic Centre green in a gesture of remembrance and solidarity with all those affected.
Along with other public buildings across the UK – including Wembley Stadium and the SSE Arena – Brent Civic Centre was lit green on Thursday 14 June and council staff observed a nationwide 72-second silence at 12 noon to remember the victims of the devastating fire.
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform said:
“The Grenfell Tower fire was an appalling tragedy in which people were horribly let down at local and national level, by the very people who were supposed to keep them safe. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and everyone affected. This tragedy will cast a long shadow for years to come.”
In the immediate aftermath of the fire, Brent Council staff and residents joined the relief effort to support the communities around Grenfell Tower in neighbouring Kensington & Chelsea.
Volunteers offered food, clothing and kindness to neighbours and helped provide essential support to families.
Although there are no council owned high rise blocks with Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding in Brent, the council continues to make fire safety in council housing a top priority.
As residents would expect, all Brent Council housing has up to date fire risk assessments – including all 39 high rise blocks. The assessments, which are carried out by suitably qualified risk assessors and checked independently, are updated and reviewed on a regular basis. Dozens of fire safety drop-in surgeries have been held with residents across Brent and council housing staff have received fire safety awareness training.
The council is set to go above and beyond current regulatory requirements by providing additional fire safety measures so that tenants have extra reassurance. The council has earmarked £10million to further improve fire safety measures as part of an integrated block refurbishment programme.
Councillor Southwood added:
“The right to feel safe and to be kept safe in your council home is fundamental. There are small things we can all do to help, for example keeping halls and stairs clear of obstacles, and we will play our part in making council blocks as safe as we can.”