Northamptonshire Red Cross shops raising money for Grenfell victims
People in Northamptonshire can support the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire by visiting British Red Cross shops in the county which have begun selling excess clothes donated by the community in West London.
The shops in Daventry, Duston, Kettering, Kingsley Park Terrace, Kingsthorpe, Northampton and Wellingborough are all participating in the scheme.
The community's generosity led to excess donations filling 40,000 boxes and 107 lorries, equivalent to three football pitches. The best of the new clothes donated have been offered to the victims for them to choose from, and now 'Shop for Grenfell' will see Red Cross shops across the country turn the stock into valuable funds.
Every penny raised will be added to the £3.2 million the charity has already raised for its London Fire Relief Fund.
Antoni Starczewski, area retail manager for the British Red Cross in Northamptonshire, said: "Our shoppers in Northamptonshire are always generous when we have a big appeal, but this time the disaster is very close to home. The Grenfell fire has touched people everywhere, and I'm glad we can do our bit to help. I think shoppers here will be glad to support us."
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Red Cross teams were on the ground at Grenfell after the fire, providing practical and emotional support to the victims and helping to coordinate the running of the Grenfell Community Assistance Centre.
Trained Red Cross volunteers travelled to London from all over the country to ensure support was available for all who needed it. The charity is now focused on outreach work, running a telephone support line, and sorting and distributing donations.
British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson said: "We have seen an incredible outpouring of donations for the people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. We have taken stock of the scale of the donations and listened to what people think we should do with the excess clothes.
"'Shop for Grenfell' offers everyone an opportunity to make a difference, either through the items they have already donated or by shopping in one of our many shops across the UK. The goods will be converted into cash to help people who have been left bereaved, injured or homeless as a result of the fire. Every penny will go to those people."
The plan to sell excess donations in Red Cross shops has been backed by local community groups, including Notting Hill Methodist Church and Rugby Portobello Trust, who have passed their surplus donations to the Red Cross to distribute and sell. The charity has worked with partners in the local community, Kensington and Chelsea council and thousands of volunteers, to help sort and distribute the donations, in the most complex logistical retail operation the Red Cross has ever attempted.
Paul Thompson, director of retail for the British Red Cross, said: "Buying from a Red Cross shop is a charitable act, and we are always grateful to shoppers who support our work in this way. I hope our friends in Northamptonshire will come and browse the new stock in their local shops, and help the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire at the same time."
The Red Cross will be using its experience of coordinating similar retail fundraisers after the Nepal earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. But the scale of stock donations for Grenfell is greater than any the charity has co-ordinated before.