London-based chain Bright Kids held events for their two settings in Hackney and Leyton.
Each nursery organised a fundraising day in a nearby retail park, approaching local businesses for donations for a raffle. Staff contributed cakes to a bake sale and parents donated £5 each for children to wear fancy dress costumes.
Bright Kids came up with the idea to hold the events when the children came in the day after the fire, which broke out in the early hours of 14 June, with questions about what had happened.
Managing director of Bright Kids Belquis Oomerjee said, ‘The children were obviously watching images on the news or hearing about it on the radio in the car, and they were talking about smoke and dying. When they are talking about it like that you can’t ignore it. It was important to talk about and listen to how they felt and what they saw, as it was an emotional thing for them.’
Ms Oomerjee added that the nurseries tried to link the experience to British Values by talking about showing emotions, empathy and tolerance.
‘We talked about children losing everything; their toys, books, pens and clothing, and encouraged them to look around at home and appreciate what they have, in comparison to children who might have lost everything,’ she said.
‘We asked the children what they wanted to do, as we felt it was important to do something while they were still talking about it and the momentum was there. Straight away they started to talk about how to give back, asking if they could bring in their toys and dolls to donate and if they could dress up like superheroes to help people.’
Bright Kids nursery in Leyton organised a day to raise funds for the Grenfell Tower appeal
Personal trainers from Fitness First gym ran circuits classes for the children in the car park and representatives of the local Homerton fire brigade attended to talk to children about fire safety.
The Hackney nursery had invited the fire brigade to attend before discovering that members of the crew had actually been called out to attend the fire at Grenfell Tower.
Ms Oomerjee said, ‘The fire officers were able to share some of their experiences and thoughts and feelings with us. It just goes to show that even though we live on the other side of London, this affected everyone. Fire officers can be called upon anywhere and everywhere, and all the children felt very affected by the news.
‘The whole crew came and stayed for an hour. I really can’t praise them enough. When the children saw them arrive their faces lit up. Everyone got a chance to sit on the engine and squirt water. The children were just overwhelmed by what they saw. The crew also invited us back to come and visit them at some point.’
Ms Oomerjee added, ‘The whole community really pulled together to support our event which was fantastic. It was great to see the children getting involved and it gave everyone a really good feeling to be doing something good for others.’
Bright Kids plans to donate the money raised to the Artists for Grenfell charity, which recently released a charity single for those affected by the fire.