‘Imagine if we could put a Cornish holiday on the horizon of every Grenfell resident and firefighter family: a time to rest, a time to let our beautiful county bless these people and work its gentle magic,’ suggested Esmé Page, founder of the Facebook page Cornwall Hugs Grenfell (CHG), which launched last week. Over 140 pledges of holiday accommodation have flooded in, together with offers of transport funds and other creative ideas. Esmé and her team thank the generous supporters so far, invite more people to support the idea and outline the next steps.
‘‘Having established that there is enormous enthusiasm for this idea, our job now is to develop an effective system. We are actively creating a community on the Cornwall Hugs Grenfell FB page and gathering pledges systematically at www.cornwallhugsgrenfell.org. Our vision is to have a mini bookings website, specifically for firefighters and residents to ensure quality, simplicity and respect. Malcolm Bell from Visit Cornwall has very kindly offered to develop this marketing micro-site, while we focus on building the community and gathering the pledges. We look forward to working closely with Visit Cornwall and sustainable tourism expert, Manda Brookman, from CoaST, who has already given generously of her time.
It is important to us that the breaks are straightforward for the accommodation providers and that firefighters and residents have choice and can book with dignity and respect. This is vital,’ commented Esmé.
CHG hopes to work with the Fire Brigade and organisations in Kensington to ensure verification and that firefighters and residents, when they feel ready, are supported in accessing the breaks. The initiative is currently expected to last until the end of 2019.
Holiday accommodation providers (both old and new pledgers) are now all invited to complete a short form at the new website www.cornwallhugsgrenfell.org
Donate to a Transport Fund
Individuals and businesses wishing to assist families with transport fees (firefighters or residents who might otherwise struggle to take up the offer of accommodation) should go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cornwallhugsgrenfell.
Businesses and individuals have offered numerous creative gifts including meet and greet services, welcome baskets, forest school sessions and surf lessons. ‘Our first priority is to develop the accommodation database for the bookings site but in time we would like to create a simple way to share activity offers of different kinds with the visitors,’ says Esmé. For now, organisations and businesses are invited to complete a short form for their offer on: www.cornwallhugsgrenfell.org
‘This whole idea pinged into my head while I was watching the Fire Commissioner, Danny Cotton, speaking on the day of the fire of her concern for the welfare of her officers, after their ‘war-zone’ experiences. I knew there was something Cornwall could do to offer the firefighters sanctuary and put a beacon of hope on the horizon for the residents. The wave of Cornish compassion that flooded back to my suggestion has been humbling, with people giving whatever they can, including talents, time, encouragement. It’s a ‘love thy neighbour’ spirit that runs very deep.
Many people have said they had had this idea but weren’t sure how to put it into action. That is our job now and I’m very grateful to the smart women who have gathered around me to help,’ comments Esmé. ‘It’s great to be part of what is clearly a national movement with similar offers arising across the country.’
To keep informed of the latest developments, readers are invited to ‘like’ the facebook page: ‘Cornwall Hugs Grenfell’, to log accommodation and activity voucher pledges at www.cornwallhugsgrenfell.org or for any other enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA CONTACTS - ONLY FOR MEDIA NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
Esme Page: Tel: 07803 594285 Email email@example.com
Manda Brookman: Tel: 07816 061780 Email firstname.lastname@example.org