Shaff Prabatani, Co-founder of Storemates and Social Inclusion Campaigner, launches our new campaign to offer free storage space to anyone affected by the Grenfell tragedy (and anyone who may need emergency storage if evacuated from their homes due to safety concerns.)
A return to our values? What do tragedies like Grenfell mean for the Sharing Economy.
On the 14th of June we woke up to the devastating images of Grenfell Tower engulfed in flames. 80 people, some of London’s poorest residents perished in a needless fire, the causes of which are the subject or much anguish and debate.
Co-founder Ben and I visited Grenfell yesterday to see if there was anything we could do. Nothing can prepare you for the truly awful sight of the large burnt out building, home to so many families, now a charred tomb. Reading the hand-made signs seeking news of missing children scattered around the area, the flowers and personal messages of a grieving community left us speechless and exasperated.
Our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and with those who have now been displaced and are seeking to rebuild their lives.
Hearteningly the ongoing community response was incredible. Neighbours, community centres, faith organisations and small businesses - everyday people - mobilised quickly to provide support, shelter and a huge amount of donations. The human spirit can be amazing sometimes, and this unconditional ‘sharing’ of time, resources and comfort is a testimony to the natural impulse communities feel to unite when faced with extreme adversity, regardless of class, creed or colour. It also reminded me that ‘sharing’ is something we do naturally and without thought, it is part of our desire to create purposeful human relationships especially at times of great loss.
We noticed too that businesses prove they are active members of the community too and often have much to give. During Grenfell, taxi drivers turned off their metres, cafes distributed free food, lawyers offered free legal support and even Airbnb provided free accommodation via their network of generous local hosts.
We decided at Storemates that we would like to support the general effort too in our small way. We soon learnt that generous donations of clothes, furniture, household items had been pouring in to help residents who had lost everything. Yet these essential items still need to be stored until residents can be properly accommodated.
In response to the need for local storage, Storemates is appealing to local businesses and residents with additional space to offer this for free to the many displaced residents who lack storage during this critical time. This could be space in a loft, garage, and spare room or for businesses space in your stockroom, office or warehouse.
If you can offer storage space for free or for a minimal rent, please do list it on our site by going to storemates.co.uk. and then click ‘List my space’. In your title and in your description please add FREE STORAGE FOR GRENFELL, and set your storage fee as £0 or a minimal amount.
Similarly, if you are a resident who has been affected by Grenfell or a local community organisation in need of storage space, please do look on our site by searching with your postcode.
There are no fees to pay Storemates and we will continue to provide our full service this includes the provision of a legal contract, inventory plus access to our free £10,000 Storage Protection Guarantee.
For more information please go to http://storemates.co.uk/grenfell
We really hope that people who live in the boroughs nearest to Grenfell and those all around the UK can get involved in this community campaign. Having additional space is a precious asset especially when you have lost your home; ‘caring through sharing’ should be what the Sharing Economy stands for and as an emerging sector we should never forget our role in creating a fairer, safer and more just society for all.
If anything positive has come from this awful event it is the knowledge that communities often become stronger as a result of tragedy, not weaker.
Do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or call on 0800 001 6720