After witnessing the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire unfolding on 14 June, I tweeted that the actions of the staff at North Kensington Law Centre were a credit to the whole Law Centre movement and worthy of praise.
Based a stone’s throw from Grenfell Tower, so close that they had to be evacuated from their offices on that dreadful day, the staff soon set up at the ClementJames Centre to help those in need. A leaflet was swiftly designed and printed to be circulated through the community informing residents of their legal rights and advising them what actions they had to take and what records they had to keep. A residents’ meeting – open to all – was called so that they could speak directly to as many of those affected by the events as possible.
Over the next few days, with colleagues from other Law Centres, Shelter offices, Citizens Advice Kensington & Chelsea plus Housing Law Practitioners Association members, the Law Centre set up a series of daily free legal clinics where residents could get face-to-face help with housing, welfare and immigration problems. Volunteer advisers came from near and far but it was the familiar, safe, trusted faces of the Law Centre staff that reassured the traumatised residents and legitimised the legal advice given.
When their community needed them most, the Law Centre staff were not found wanting. They stood up to be counted. And when the spotlight eventually moves on they will still be there, fighting for the rights of their community. After all, they have been doing exactly that since 1970.
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to help them get access to justice for the disaster victims.