Grenfell families given break in Cornwall

Alex Hughes

Families and Firefighters that were affected by the recent Grenfell fire disaster enjoyed a special week-long holiday in Cornwall.

The holiday was set up by Esme Page through a project she created called Cornwall Hugs Grenfell. She set up the project after watching the news that day and feeling that she needed to help.

Page posted to Facebook suggesting a holiday for residents and firefighters and was greeted by over 200 pledges of accommodation, free meals and other donations for the families.

She said in the post:  ‘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.’

The joint campus of Falmouth University and Exeter Penryn hosted 62 people who were involved in the fire either as residents or workers in key roles fighting the incident. Other families were also hosted in cottages across Cornwall.

While in Cornwall the group experienced 2 days of water sports, trips to the Eden Project and St Michael’s Mount and other activities, all with the aim of reflection and therapeutic ease.

Esme Page commented on the success of the trip saying: “The Falmouth holiday was oversubscribed so we’re now looking to put together another group trip in late October, early November.

“We’re hoping to attract a group provider (perhaps a Cornish Holiday Park or hotel) who is willing to give us 10-12 units (ideally enough accommodation for 10 survivor’s families and CHG leaders).”

Page added that the experience was also very worthwhile for the universities, saying: “The Penryn, Falmouth campus and University of Exeter who sponsored the stay found it a really rewarding experience to host the latest group and said that it was a wonderful team-bonding thing to do for staff and volunteers alike.”

Following the success of the trip, Chatbooks (based in Utah), Graphic Dealers Ltd, Photobox and UK Printed Mugs, are offering to produce physical memories for guests to remember the trip and help replace photos they lost in the fire.

Hannah Wahabi, one of the guests on the trip said in an interview with Channel 4: ‘Within our flat, the biggest loss for me was photos, of my children from when they were born – many years of photos. So coming to Cornwall’s been good, we can create new memories’.