Charity Worker: How Grenfell Tragedy Inspired Me To Help The Local Community

14 June 2019, 14:35

This caller told Tom Swarbrick about his experience as a charity worker on the night of Grenfell fire - that led to him recruiting a team of therapists to help people in his community.

Ahmed, from North Kensington called into the show while on the way to a vigil for the two year anniversary of Grenfell.

He told Tom, that in the aftermath of Grenfell he worked as a volunteer. He was responsible for recruiting a team of professional therapists into his local area to support survivors from the tower, as well as the wider community.

But one experience on the night - led him to realise that this help was going to be needed.

He told Tom Swarbrick: "I had an experience that left my jaw on the ground at about quarter to three in the morning on the night of the fire.

"As a consequence of that I realised that there was going to be a lot of trauma seeping into the community."

Tom Swarbrick heard this remarkable story from a charity volunteer at Grenfell
Tom Swarbrick heard this remarkable story from a charity volunteer at Grenfell. Picture: PA / LBC

The tower was still on fire when Ahmed got there, and he was helping sort through some of the aid for victims.

As he was walking past the tower, a gentleman in his thirties stopped him.

The man asked if he was from the tower, and he said no. The man then asked if he had any family in there and he again replied no.

Then the stranger asked: "Have you just come to help?" He said yes, and then asked the man whether he had anyone in the tower.

He took his hand, lent in close and said: "Don't tell anyone, but I've just lost my wife and daughter."

Ahmed said he froze in shock, and the man walked away. When he went back to the church where the volunteers were based, he described the man to the other people working.

They recognised the man as someone who'd been helping with the bags all evening, and said he had an "intensity and anger" about him that they hadn't understood.

The volunteers tried to find the man, as he was obviously suffering from trauma and shock, but never found him.

Ahmed credits this experience as one of the main inspirations for him assembling a team of therapists, including professionals from the NHS, as well as independent psychotherapists - to help people process their trauma after the fire.