Social workers have been drafted in to provide extra support to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Officials working on the emergency response to the tragedy said every Grenfell resident had been allocated a key worker to provide “wrap around care” and help them access vital housing, financial and counselling support.
The 130 key workers on site include social workers who have been drafted in from other councils. Writing on Twitter, Simon Galczynski, Hackney council’s director of adult services, paid tribute to the efforts of his staff.
A big thank you to @hackneycouncil social workers who have been working since Sunday to help those affected by the Grenfell fire.
— Simon Galczynski (@SGalczynski) June 20, 2017
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, told Community Care the council had sent two adults’ social workers and two children’s social workers to aid the response after councils across London received an appeal for help on Sunday.
He said: “Hackney Council was one of the first to respond, with some of our social workers arriving by Sunday afternoon, to be a point of contact for those in need of help. Hackney has sent staff to Kensington from across many departments including Adult Social Care, Children’s Social Care and Housing Needs support.
“Today one of our social workers is helping distribute Oyster Cards, provided by Kensington & Chelsea, to a number of families. This is just one small example of how Hackney is supporting the London wide effort, from both councils and ordinary Londoners, in supporting the residents of Grenfell Tower.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Grenfell response team said: “The Grenfell Fire Response Team has been set up to support residents affected by the fire. This includes London-wide local and regional government, central government, British Red Cross, Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade.
“Residents of Grenfell Tower have been all allocated a key worker. These include social workers. One hundred and 30 key workers are supporting people affected. The key worker provides a range of wrap around care, support and advice including ensuring people and families affected have access to critical services and entitlements such as housing, finance, counselling, schooling and bereavement.”
The disaster left at least 79 people dead. The government has faced fierce anger from survivors and victims’ families over the official response. Yesterday the prime minister, Theresa May, apologised for a “failure of the state” and said the early response “was not good enough”. May pledged to rehouse survivors within three weeks and ordered an independent inquiry into the disaster.
In a statement issued last week, the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) called on its members to donate to one of the official survivor funds to help support the families affected.
“Families, friends, neighbours and strangers have stood side by side in this terrible event bringing a sense of community unity and compassion in such horrific circumstances,” the association said.
“Public sector workers including the ambulance crews, health staff, police, fire brigade, housing workers and social workers (to name just a few) have played an important role in supporting those in crisis, trauma and in need.
“The partnership of working alongside the community, faith based organisations and all those offering humanity, kindness, generosity and a listening ear symbolises all that is good in such an unbelievable tragedy.”