Our response to events

Posted: 16th June 2017

Grenfell Tower

We are all aware of the horrific events in the early hours of Wednesday 14th June when Grenfell Tower, the tower block of flats in North Kensington, was destroyed by fire.  Our thoughts and prayers are, of course, with all those who have been affected by this terrible, terrible tragedy.

Our response is also a practical one, and will continue to be so.  Our Sixth Form, Priory 6, organised an ice-cream sale and donation collection on Thursday and Friday which took place in the Prep Playground at 3.30pm. Yesterday, they sold out in 15 minutes and raised a fantastic £214.83 for the residents of Grenfell Tower. Owing to the success of the sale, the girls decided to run a sale again today and they really stocked up this time. The combined total raised is a wonderful £326.75, including donations.  Priory 6 plan to hold another sale next week. Thank you to all who so generously contributed.

Thank you also to those parents who donated so generously with items.  If you would like to contribute further, you may donate money to the following crowd-funding site as all the information we have received is that the various centres that were collecting food/water/blankets etc are full to capacity at the moment and can’t take any more donations.  Here is the link:  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/familiesofgrenfelltower

We have also received the following letter from JP Morrison, the Director of Education for the Diocese of Westminster concerning Grenfell Tower and ways in which we can all help, including donating.

‘Dear Headteacher, Governor and Colleague,

The tragedy at Grenfell Tower has affected us all. I am sure you are doing everything you can to help support your students and staff at this time of suffering and sadness. I have every confidence in you in coping with this.

I wish to draw your attention to those schools that have been directly affected by the fire as families, friends, past pupils and current pupils are personally involved and in need of our support.

They are:

  • St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, Notting Hill;
  • Sion Manning Catholic Secondary School;
  • St Charles Sixth Form College;
  • St Charles Catholic Primary School;
  • and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, East Row.

St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary school has been evacuated to Sion Manning Secondary School for the immediate future. Their school in Notting Hill is very close to Grenfell Tower. The Headteacher Kathleen Williams and her wonderful staff have done a fantastic job to reopen the school on a different site this morning whilst dealing with very challenging circumstances. The Headteacher of Sion Manning Andrew O’Neill and Chair Amanda Sayer and all their staff provided a wonderful welcome to this community this morning and it was a privilege to see both schools coming together in solidarity and partnership. Our thanks and appreciation goes out to all of them.

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank Ann Slavin, the Headteacher of St Charles Catholic Primary School, and her staff for the excellent response and wonderful positive atmosphere at the school today. Elaine Taylor, Principal of St Charles Sixth Form, and her staff have organised and collected an extraordinary amount of clothing, toiletries, bedding and toys for those who have lost everything. It was very humbling to see what they had achieved in 24 hours. Joan Harte has done a wonderful job to support a family in need today. Our sincere thanks and appreciation to these communities as well.  The Catholic Children’s Society have also been very active in their support and my thanks to Rosemary Keenan and all her staff.

I have been asked if schools can help in any way and the answer is YES. We need your HELP.

As St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary school have no resources to draw upon so if any school is willing to donate learning resources of any kind from exercise books to textbooks, sporting equipment etc please can you do so. Kathleen can be contacted directly at kathleen.williams@servite.rbkc.sch.uk (correct address) for you to inform her of what you can donate. We just do not know how long they will be out of their own building for but they will accept your support straight away.

Thank you for all the help you can provide these schools.

The Cardinal writes:

‘We pray for all the residents of Grenfell Tower. I pray particularly for those who have suffered injury, those who have died, and all the residents who are left without a home, and the entire community that has been affected. Once again in our city we witness the heroic efforts of our emergency services who responded so quickly. I thank them for all they are doing to help the victims of this devastating fire.’

The Cardinal will be saying Mass at the Church of St Pius X, St Charles Square, this Saturday, 17th June 2017, at 12 noon. Mass will be preceded by two hours when the church will be open, and the Blessed Sacrament exposed, to allow an opportunity for quiet prayer and reflection. Everyone is welcome to the Mass, and to some or all of the time of prayer.

Many people have been in touch asking how they might contribute practically to the support of those who have lost their homes and possessions. Some priests have asked if a second collection may be taken this weekend. If you would like to do this, you would be most welcome. The proceeds of the collection will be shared between Caritas Westminster and the Catholic Children’s Society, who are both present in the community providing assistance to individuals and families, as well as the local school communities, particularly our own St Francis of Assisi School. The Finance team will be in touch in the coming week to advise you of the arrangements for collecting the funds from the parish account.  Should your parishioners wish to make individual donations to this emergency relief fund, a special page is being set up on the diocesan website (rcdow.org.uk) with a direct link from the home page.

There will be additional information on the diocesan and Caritas (caritaswestminster.org.uk) websites about other forms of practical support, such as donations in kind and volunteering. There will be regular updates on these pages as well as through the diocesan Twitter and Facebook pages about the types of donation items and volunteer services that would be most useful. These updates will be posted at least daily.”

The Cardinal would like to offer a word of particular gratitude to all those who have offered spiritual or practical assistance in this terrible incident: the emergency services, NHS staff, local parishioners, hospital chaplains, parish clergy, teachers, school staff and all others, especially the priests of the immediately locality who have worked with such dedication. They, along with the victims and their families, are foremost in his prayers.

Thank you for all you are doing for Catholic education.

With kindest regards

JP Morrison

Director of Education

Diocese of Westminster

020 7798 9187

Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, London, SW1P 1QN’

We will continue to keep you updated with any initiatives or news.  St Augustine’s Priory is not an island.  We are joined with the wider community at this time.

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