A Better Way to Support Victims?

16 August 2017 | By Cause4 staff

Recently the UK has had to cope with several tragic incidents which have shocked the country to its core - the attack at Manchester Arena, the attack on London Bridge and the Grenfell Tower disaster, to name but three. In the true spirit of generosity, the public response has been fantastic with campaigns such as We Love Manchester and London Fire Relief Fund raising vital funds for those affected. Whilst we can only praise the spirit of those coming together to support the victims, it opens up a much wider debate which we here at Cause4 feel is important to highlight – is donating directly to victims without proper support a further disaster waiting to happen?

Yesterday it was announced that the proceeds of money raised by the We Love Manchester Fund will begin to be distributed to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragic incident at Manchester Arena. These families will each receive £250,000, with those spending seven or more nights in hospital having already received £60,000. In highlighting the distribution of funds, Sue Murphy (Chair of the Fund and Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council) announced that ‘the recipients can spend the money however they see fit, but the trustees are encouraging them to seek financial advice. “The money is given as a gift so it’s up to them what they do with it.”

Whilst we strongly praise the sentiment in gifting funds directly to the victims, there is some justifiable concern surrounding the impact of such a sum of money on the lives of those affected. Not, it is important to clarify, in them receiving funds but doing so in such a way without the proper level of financial advice and support in place to ensure that they are able to cope with receiving such a substantial gift.

To examine this further, we only have to look at the stories of those who also receive life changing sums, albeit at differing amounts and in very different circumstances - lottery winners. Too often we read about how such a windfall has a negative impact of those receiving such vast funds - whether it be Michael Carrol, Mark Gardiner or Jane Park. In short, most people that become wealthy or wealthier overnight would benefit from some independent support. Camelot as the lottery deliverer certainly gives some advice to winners but whether it is enough or for a long enough period is something to be explored.

In the case of Manchester, this funding is not a lottery windfall but is coming after the most horrendous tragedies for these individuals, in enduring loss that can never be forgotten or overcome. So with the above in mind, would it not be more suitable to ensure that those gifting funds to the victims of the events in Manchester provide, alongside the gift, a significant package of additional support – emotional, legal and financial?

We here at Cause4 are not directly involved in the substantial support and relief efforts which are undertaken by those having to cope with the aftermath of such a tragedy. These efforts only receive our utmost praise. Nor is this blog meant to be a criticism of those who raise vital funds for those affected – once again we can only applaud their efforts. However, as we collectively seek to provide the most effective support to those affected by disaster, a consideration of the impact of all aspects of people’s lives should be at the forefront of our thinking. We welcome your thoughts.

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