Photo: Ian West/PA
Dragons’ Den multi-millionaire investor Steven Bartlett is planning a “money school” for the Grenfell Tower community to mentor would-be entrepreneurs.
The 30-year-old wants to offer free weekend workshops with other financial advisers after asking for help from people affected by the June 14, 2017 disaster, which claimed 72 lives.
Many of them are developing their own businesses and community organisations. Compensation negotiations in the high court, in which 1,100 people from the Grenfell community are demanding compensation from companies involved in the disastrous renovation, as well as the landlord of the council’s tower block, are also drawing to a close. The process could result in payouts totaling millions of pounds.
More than 85 businesses in the area were affected by the fire, according to Portobello Business Centre, and Bartlett said he connected with people in the North Kensington community after meeting some of those involved in the football team that was founded after the fire, Grenfell Athletic.
“Entrepreneurship was everywhere,” he said. “I think everyone else I talked to wanted to start a business. Young people were pulling me aside and saying, ‘Would you like to come down here and talk to us about money?'”
Bartlett said: “Some of them were given money because of the tragedy for various reasons, and they contacted me asking me to run a workshop at Grenfell. I’m helping them understand tax, savings, investing and things like that.”
The move by the investor comes as the Grenfell community awaits the conclusions of a public inquiry, likely later this year, which heard damning evidence about government failures to regulate the construction industry and how companies made the cladding knew it was combustible. how dangerous their products were. was.
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Despite being part of one of Britain’s wealthiest boroughs, North Kensington, where the 24-storey tower is located, is one of the most deprived areas in the country, according to the government’s index of multiple deprivation. Bartlett, who grew up in Plymouth and was expelled from school twice, said he wanted to “help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds learn about money in a way that I didn’t when I was growing up”.
He is already advising Bobby Ross, whose father, Steven Power, died in the flat they shared. Ross co-founded Our Power Hub – a community benefit company initiative that helps support residents living near the tower with free access to events, activities and services, including technology, music, sport, exercise, art and therapy group.
Bartlett donated two minibuses to Grenfell Athletic, donated by Mercedes-Benz, which will be used by local groups, including Mind Utd FC, a football team for people struggling with mental health problems.
“He’s going to get more involved now and try to help us grow,” said Joseph John, 31, a chef who runs Mind Utd and escaped the fire through a window with his partner and child. He needs help to create a community kitchen and said Bartlett would advise on how survivors should best handle compensation payments when they arrive.
According to Charity Commission records, the next of kin of people who died in the fire have already received payments from funds raised after the fire by the London Emergency Trust and other organisations. People who were seriously injured and all families in the tower and nearby Grenfell Walk also received payments from fundraising initiatives.