Dragon Steven Bartlett plans ‘money school’ for the Grenfell community

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Steven Bartlett, the multi-millionaire Dragons’ Den investor, is planning a “money school” for the Grenfell Tower community to advise potential entrepreneurs.

The 30-year-old wants to offer free weekend workshops with other financial advisers after being asked for help by people affected by the June 14, 2017 disaster, which claimed 72 lives.

Many have developed their own businesses and community organizations. Compensation negotiations in the high court, involving 1,100 people from the Grenfell community seeking damages from companies involved in the disastrous renovation, as well as the landlord of the council tower block, are also nearing their end. The process can result in payouts totaling millions of pounds.

According to the Portobello Business Centre, the fire had negatively affected more than 85 businesses in the area, and Bartlett said he became involved with people in the North Kensington community after meeting some of those involved in the football team that was set up after the fire, Grenfell Athletic.

“Entrepreneurship was everywhere,” he said. “I think every other person I spoke to wanted to start a business. Young people pulled me aside and said, ‘Would you like to come here and talk to us about money?’”

Bartlett said: “Some of them got some money in the aftermath of the tragedy for various reasons, and they had contacted me asking me to hold a workshop in Grenfell. I help them gain insight into taxes, savings, investments and all that sort of thing.”

The investor move comes as the Grenfell community awaits the conclusions, likely later this year, of a public inquiry that has heard damning evidence of the government’s failure to regulate the construction industry and how companies that made the flammable cladding knew how dangerous their products were. goods.

Related: Gove admits “faulty” guidance is partly responsible for Grenfell fire

Despite being part of one of Britain’s wealthiest boroughs, North Kensington, home to the 24-storey tower, 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 underprivileged backgrounds learn about money in a way I didn’t when I was growing up”.

He’s already advised Bobby Ross, whose father, Steven Power, died in the flat they shared. Ross co-founded Our Power Hub – a community-interest business initiative that helps residents living near the tower with free access to events, activities and services, including technology, music, sports, fitness, art and group therapy.

Bartlett presented Grenfell Athletic with two minibuses, donated by Mercedes-Benz, which will be used by local groups, including Mind Utd FC, a football team for people struggling with mental health issues.

“He’s going to get more involved now and try to help us grow,” said Joseph John, 31, a chef who runs Mind Utd who escaped the fire through a window with his partner and child. He wants help setting up a community kitchen and said Bartlett would advise on how survivors could best handle compensation payments when they come.

The next of kin of people killed in the fire have already received payments from funds raised by the London Emergencies Trust and other organizations in the aftermath of the fire, according to Charity Commission records. People who were seriously injured and every household in the tower and in neighboring Grenfell Walk also received payments from fundraising initiatives.

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