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Grenfell-church-main_article_image.jpg by Revd Micky Youngson
UK News

Report shows how faith groups can be better prepared for emergencies after Grenfell

by Tola Mbakwe

Religious think tank Theos released a new report entitled After Grenfell: the Faith Groups' Response.

It states that faith organisations were vital to the response efforts and had a major impact.

"In the chaos, the role of the diverse faith groups in the community stood out. Churches, mosques, synagogues, and gurdwaras all stepped up to the plate, responding practically, emotionally and spiritually to a moment of pain and confusion. At least fifteen separate centres run by faith communities responded," it said.

Amy Plender, research assistant with Theos, told Premier News Hour the immediacy of the response should be commended.

"Due to living in the community and being really rooted in the community they [faith groups] were able to open their doors within the hour of the first 999 calls," she said.

"It was practical. They received and distributed food, water and clothing to people who had fled with literally just the clothes they were standing in."

However, she noted that while the response was great, it wasn't perfect and there is room to improve.

She said faith groups should have a financial and material donation system in place for when donations start flooding in.

Plender also stressed the importance of faith groups being noticeable in the community.

"If you're a church that ever uses a dog collar... making sure you're visible," she said.

"Wearing your dog collar in a crisis is really important to firstly show who you are but to also show your solidarity with the community."

The report, which is based on interviews with representatives of faith communities in the Grenfell vicinity as well as representatives of statutory bodies and emergency services, recommend that faith organisations be immersed in their cities as it would make coordinating response efforts easier.

"To make those new conversations is something people in the Grenfell community told me they found really valuable," Plender said.

"Where those relationships existed, it made their response quicker. They said in the future they would hope to see churches, mosques, synagogues, even non-faith groups getting together, developing relationships ahead of time so if disasters happens they have each other's phone numbers, they know who can help. "

Listen to Amy Plender speaking with Premier's Alex Williams here:

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