Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, this morning announced a £750,000 fund to support community recovery activities following the Sandilands tram derailment 18 months ago.
But in somewhat spiky notes issued with the press release from City Hall, the Labour Mayor pointed out that the fund will be administered by Transport for London, and not the local council.
Seven people were killed and all 62 other passengers on board sustained injuries, 19 of them serious injury, when a tram travelling from New Addington to Wimbledon left the tracks on a sharp bend approaching the Sandilands stop just after 6am on November 9, 2016.
In today’s press release from the Mayor’s office regarding support funding, it said, “The Mayor and TfL will provide Croydon Council with the money over the next three years to support health and social services in New Addington and the surrounding community, where many of those directly or indirectly affected by the tragedy live.”
And Khan said, “It’s vital that we continue to do all we can to support everyone affected by the tragedy at Sandilands. The New Addington community has shown real strength in supporting one another, and I’m determined that we continue to be there to offer our assistance in the years to come. I hope that through this funding we can help the local community receive the support it needs.”
TfL and the operator of the tram service, Tram Operations Limited (a subsidiary of FirstGroup) have admitted legal liability for the purposes of civil claims arising from the tram disaster, and TfL has been providing support through counselling, rehabilitation and some financial compensation. “TfL has paid more than £2million to bereaved families and passengers and is working proactively with all those affected and their legal representatives to progress their civil claims as soon as practicable,” they said this morning.
Today’s £750,000 fund is on top of all that, and is intended to go towards projects over the next three years.
In the notes accompanying the press release, the Mayor’s office said, “TfL strongly desires to provide this funding. It is not clear, however, that the activities that the London Borough of Croydon envisages undertaking are sufficiently linked to TfL’s statutory powers relating to safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities and services in London. Therefore the Mayor has delegated his wider powers to TfL and directed TfL accordingly to enable TfL to make this payment without risk of challenge.”
According to City Hall, Croydon and local commissioning groups have proposed a range of action to help local people, including more community and social care and increases to adult and child mental health resources. The money from today’s announcement could therefore be directed at:
• Counselling and resilience programmes for students at nearby schools
• Support for mental health services and alcohol and substance abuse programmes
• Healthcare professional training to better recognise trauma-based presentations.
Croydon Council is to accept the money, administered through the transport authority.
The press release quoted the leader of the council, Tony Newman, as saying, “I am pleased the Mayor has made this funding available. It’s been a council priority to ensure those that need additional support receive the right type of help and care, and this money will allow us to work with those affected to best assess how the community recovery programme can help them.”
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