In the past 6 months the team here at Portobello Business Centre have continued to work with the local businesses affected by the tragic events at Grenfell Tower on 14th June.
In that time there has been lots of news coverage about the cause, what happened, the victims, those affected and who’s to blame – but if you think back over this time period there has been very little mention about how the tragedy on 14th June has affected the local small business community.
You won’t have heard about the self-employed victims, the survivors who’ve lost family members, the local businesses who’ve lost valued friends and customers or those who continue to work in close proximity to the tower every day. You won’t have heard in the news that some 50+ small local businesses were unable to trade for periods of up to 3 weeks because their businesses were behind cordoned-off areas, or were inaccessible where roads were closed.
These businesses are small, family-run local traders – and if you know anything about enterprise, you will know just how devastating a forced closure like this might be to the owners and the staff they employ.
The businesses have started to receive specific compensation funding from RBKC and the GLA for the time when their businesses were disrupted or forced to close – this is not funding from the millions of pounds of public donations, that rightly is for the victims – it’s funding that Portobello Business Centre had to go out and fight for and the sums involved aren’t huge either. The businesses applying for compensation funding have to prove their loss of earnings while they were closed and all decisions are taken by an independent panel.
Six months on with so many people having been moved out of the area, the impact on the business community and the businesses through lack of footfall and loss of custom continues. Businesses are witnessing a significant loss of trade, seeing downturns of up to 70% of their normal turnover and this will continue while the tower is demolished, roads are closed off for access, and decisions about the site remain unresolved.
Local and family businesses are now starting to fail or move out of the area and the loss of a whole new community – the business community – is starting to become a reality.
So here’s what you can do to help:
We need you to go and use these businesses if you can – details of some the businesses affected can be found on our Twitter page: @PortobelloBC.
We are looking to raise funds to provide the much-needed business support to help these businesses survive; this would pay for dedicated resources over the medium term. If you can donate a small amount to help us put resources in place, then please do so here.
If you can help us raise funds then, we want to hear from you: 020 7460 5050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We and the businesses also need your skills: if you have business skills and the time available to come and “do” (we don’t need consultants) and are prepared to give those skills, then download the Skills Register – Volunteers Grenfell form, complete it, and send it to email@example.com.
Lastly, we need you to tell other people – to share, post, share and share again so that more and more people get involved and help us make a difference. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and share our updates.
Thank you on behalf of the businesses at Grenfell.