Our amazing ability to pull together when tragedy strikes

Posted On 28 Sep 2019 at 1:58 pm

My heart went out to the people affected by the fire in Pankhurst Avenue on Friday night.

Thankfully no one was physically injured despite 12 flats being badly fire damaged and 10 nearby homes having to be evacuated.

But the fire has had a huge impact in many other ways.

People have lost all their possessions, both practical and emotional. Beds, cookers, fridges and other household goods can of course be replaced.

But the distress, heartbreak and after shock of such an incident can be felt for a lifetime. Memories can be lost forever in the form of photographs, gifts, items of sentimental value and other treasured possessions.

I, as council leader, have met the residents on two occasions and promised to do everything it takes to help rebuild their lives.

No matter how long it takes, they know this council is with them and we have their backs.

But it’s not only council support that’s been there for those affected.

The amazing local community rallied and mobilised immediately in the aftermath of the fire, organising donations of food, clothes, blankets and household items.

Please email pankhurstavenue@gmail.com with details of anything you would like to donate or give cash at www.gofundme.com/f/pankhurst-flats-fire-campaign.

Just as importantly, the community has also been there for neighbours and friends by offering much-needed comfort and sympathy.

The Edge Community Centre has also played a vital role in being open as a haven for residents seeking a sanctuary from the trauma they have faced.

As landlord, the Guinness Partnership’s health and safety team have worked closely with ourselves and the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, while residents were put up in local hotels in the days straight after the fire.

There will of course be a full investigation into how the fire started, and on that there will surely be more to follow.

But for now it’s heartening to know that when we’re affected by a tragedy like this, we can all pull together to help those affected.

Councillor Nancy Platts is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

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