Two years on from the tragedy, working-class communities don't only face a lack of practical action. They also face being left out of decision making that dictates their own livesby Tara Jane O'Reilly / June 17, 2019 / Leave a comment
Over the past few days, photos of buildings still covered in dangerous cladding did the rounds on social media. As an attempt to highlight an ongoing problem, they did what they were designed to. But the fact is, photos like this shouldn’t exist two years on from Grenfell.
For those of us who grew up in similar tower blocks, such images are a stark reminder that despite political platitudes from the left and right in the wake of the 2017 tragedy politics continues to fail our communities. When Stormzy said two years ago “that could’ve been my mum’s house, or that could’ve been my nephew, now, that could’ve been me up there” he spoke for many of us from working-class and migrant communities who have felt deeply failed by the system.
The impact of Grenfell on working-class communities is not just a practical one—there’s a psychological cost too. More than £10m has been spent on mental health treatment on those affected and faith-based psychotherapy organisations report residents are approaching them for support.
It’s easy to forget how tragedies like Grenfell impact the mental health of individuals and communities—the impacts are often long term, and hidden away because of the unique challenges of speaking about mental health in working class, religious or minority communities.
It is no surprise, then, that a report concluded that ‘there has been a collapse of trust in public authorities, particularly the Council’ in the area of Grenfell. Who would trust public authorities, after this?
The beauty of growing up in tower blocks or estates in inner London is that you’re all forced to have something in common—you’re from that block, or that estate. The sense of community is different.
Your block is usually always minutes away from the wealthy, and in West London especially, you’re never too far away from millionaires. From the day you move in you are aware of the political isolation of being poor—the view from your balcony…