At Thames Valley Housing, we recently took a moment to remember the day, just over a year ago, when fire swept through Grenfell Tower, killing 72 people and leaving hundreds homeless. The impact of this event at the North Kensington tower block has touched all of us in different ways.
Our residents are always our number one priority and our first thoughts in the aftermath of this terrible day were with them and the importance of making sure they were safe – something we have always treated with absolute rigour. So we set up a fire safety group immediately and looked at everything again in the light of the incident, making sure we tested the cladding materials on our blocks of six storeys and above, and kept residents updated.
There were some potential fire safety issues we were already tackling at our keyworker sites at St Georges, Hammersmith and Hillingdon Hospitals, and we had also identified and acted on the need to adjust the specifications at these keyworker sites, before Grenfell.
Other measures are being taken where we do not own the building and we now have a new escalation process for alerting the fire authorities in the event that we have concerns which we feel are not being adequately addressed in these situations.
We also continue to work on improving the channels for residents to give us feedback, and made sure we can answer their immediate questions.
While it is good to know that this terrible tragedy has prompted a sea change in the industry, I’m sure there will be lots more lessons to learn across various industries, and we will make sure that TVH continue to do our part in responding.
John Baldwin, Acting Chief Executive
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