Tower Blocks UK Report
On Saturday 27 November 2018 two of us who work as volunteers with Tower Blocks UK travelled to Manchester to present our case for funding from The Edge Fund.
As we walked along the canal to the venue we could see how Manchester has been developed and “gentrified’ in similar ways to London but we were struck by how much quieter than London it all seemed.
The Bridge 5 Mill community venue was very comfortable and well-appointed and the vegan lunch was delicious. We valued the chance to talk with representatives of the other fifteen groups who were applying, some other funded groups, members and staff who are part of the “Edge Fund community”.
The applicants encompassed some which were quite locally or specifically focussed and others which were tackling wider strategic or policy issues. For example; Rising Up who are seeking to overhaul consumerism, a group for parents of young men imprisoned because of Joint Enterprise Laws, groups seeking justice for asylum seekers and a food growers land use network - to name a few!
They were all so important and worthwhile it was a privilege to be amongst all the participants who were energetically committed to their causes. It was empowering to be amongst those challenging poverty, climate change and discrimination and fighting for better lives in the UK and Ireland.
Our organisation has been operating for about a year prompted by the Grenfell Tower fire. We aim to highlight the life and death risks in some Tower Blocks and provide advice and support to Tower Blocks tenants. In our two minutes presentation Liz Lowe outlined how Tower Blocks UK is building on previous campaigning from the 1980s and Danielle Gregory described how they had highlighted risks on her Peckham estate.
All the groups were guaranteed £1500 and had the opportunity to receive a further £1500 by participating in the voting system with 30 chickpeas each group to share amongst the organisations. We were very pleased and surprised that we were in the top five to receive the extra grant. We are also proud to receive money from such an innovative and creative fund which works so hard to support grass roots projects.
The £3,000 we were awarded will enable us to continue to run our website, produce and share accurate public information, offer advice, support and build the momentum to ensure that no-one continues to live at risk in a Tower Block.