Off The Record Youth Counselling service, in association with the Croydon BME Forum, is staging a panel discussion next week on the impact on the community response to last year’s Grenfell fire in north London, which claimed the lives of 72 people and made hundreds more traumatised and homeless.
People from far and wide have reacted, responded or have been incensed in one way or another by the tragedy that still continues to impact lives. Event organiser Lee Townsend said, “The one overreaching truth about Grenfell is that it united people from all over London and beyond in extending their hands in support through whatever means that they had at their disposal.
“However, the truth about the emotional challenges caused by the loss of life, displacement and emotional distress have had a deep impact on many people.”
Townsend says that the Off The Record event is not concerned with the appropriation of blame, but rather, “through our panel we aim to stimulate a discussion that will delve into the immediate and amazing response of the community, explore the possible psychological impact of this dreadful occurrence, question its relevance to the lives of each of us while highlighting some of the positive stories that have derived from this very painful and unfortunate incident”.
The panel members for the discussion include Adrianne McKenzie, pictured right, a photographer and award-winning videographer. She is the founder of AMC Media, a London-based company specialising in photography and videography. Her recent work includes the national anti-stigma mental health campaign with Time to Change, Queen Mary University of London’s national policy initiatives on public health and she was also part of the production team of the critically acclaimed documentary On The Ground At Grenfell which won the Portobello Film Festival 2017 Best film award.
Also on the panel is Swarzy Macaly, pictured left, the Kiss FM radio presenter, who drove to Grenfell Tower when she saw the building on fire. Since then, she has helped to coordinate volunteers, and worked with the team behind the documentary On The Ground At Grenfell to support Grenfell United, residents and the community to raise awareness around the concerns in society that have affected people, both directly and indirectly.
Panel member Adam Yasir is a student at Roehampton University who serves as director of the 3E Scholarship Scheme, which offers Grenfell Tower survivors the opportunity to access scholarships and covers the full cost of their tuition.
Geoff Jones has been assistant director at Off The Record for 18 years. He is a qualified counsellor and clinical supervisor who works within the voluntary sector predominantly within mental health. Jones has set up a sexual health and therapeutic service for adults with learning disabilities.
Paul Macey, pictured right, is a community development manager with more than 25 years of experience. He is a lecturer at the University of Westminster, an equalities consultant, trainer and journalist who has written for publications over the years that include The Voice, The Guardian and The Independent.
The event takes place at Croydon Voluntary Action, 82 London Road, CR0 2TB, on Thursday, September 20, starting at 6.45pm.
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