COLUMN: Westwell of Ely asks ‘why is our council handing over extra funds to people considered community champions?

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell, - Credit: Archant

It has been reported that cash raised for the survivors of the Grenfell disaster is not getting through to them. The nation rallied when it learned of the disaster when the Grenfell Tower in west London burnt unexpectedly, killing 80 people and traumatising others.

Donations amounting to £20 million poured in to help the survivors and yet, two months later, over half of this still sits in the bank. There is no excuse for this. Charities that have received money on the survivors’ behalf should not be still holding it.

It takes a certain cold, detached, uncaring attitude to allow this to happen. They say that the right protocol has to be followed and discussions need to take place to decide how the money is to be used. I suggest this is nothing more than a poor excuse for laziness.

Individual members of large organisations should imagine themselves in the place of the victims. It is painfully obvious what a person needs when they have suddenly lost their home to fire – food, water, and shelter for a start.

The electoral rolls would have produced a list of eligible names and a phone call or two to nearby hotels could probably have found shelter immediately and where these victims could have been found to hand over the proportion of the cash they were entitled to. The donations were not given to the charities to keep for themselves.

This kind of bureaucratic stagnation is rife. You read of so many people being left to cope when large organisations that owe money to them be rights, fail to pay up. The excuse offered is bureaucratic entanglement, computer failure or ‘necessary’ forms missing or ‘incorrectly’ completed.

Too often these days those that are already well off, financially or by position in society, are rewarded and those who are poor and struggling to cope are ignored and neglected. Why is our council, for example, handing over extra funds to people considered ‘community champions’?

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You do not need money to be considerate and helpful member of your community. You do need money to feed and clothe yourself and pay your council tax. If the council has money to spare, it should be given to its poorest citizens.

This cosy kind of arrogance that distances itself from reality may also contribute to mistakes being made in the medical profession. Recently doctors kept sending a young boy home to take Calpol, only to die of septicaemia.

If a blood test had been taken in the beginning, this may have been avoided. While not all children with symptoms of a virus should be treated as if they have septicaemia, a little more caring may have saved this little boy’s life.