Gren­fell hous­ing chief has book launch party on blaze an­niver­sary

Daily Mail - - News - By Steve Doughty So­cial Af­fairs Correspondent

A HOUS­ING chief is to mark to­day’s first an­niver­sary of the Gren­fell fire – in which eight of her ten­ants died – by launch­ing a sec­ond career as a fash­ion guru.

Af­ter sur­vivors, neigh­bours and politi­cians take part in events to com­mem­o­rate the dis­as­ter, Kate Davies, head of the Not­ting Hill Ge­n­e­sis so­cial hous­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion, will host a party to pro­mote her book, en­ti­tled Mak­ing Life More Beau­ti­ful.

Miss Davies made head­lines three years ago when she said a shock­ing event was nec­es­sary to end prej­u­dice against those liv­ing in state- sub­sidised homes. She told a con­fer­ence that ‘ei­ther we need an ap­palling fire where some beau­ti­ful young chil­dren die, or a riot’.

The Gren­fell fire last June killed 72 peo­ple, in­clud­ing eight in three flats used by the Not­ting Hill group to house pre­vi­ously home­less fam­i­lies.

Miss Davies, whose pay pack­age from her pub­licly fi­nanced or­gan­i­sa­tion is worth more than £250,000 a year, now aims to turn her skill as a dress­maker into an­other source of in­come.

Her book will be launched at an event this even­ing at the head­quar­ters of the hous­ing trust. Fol­low­ers of her fash­ion blog have been told they can en­joy a drink in the gar­den of the HQ build­ing. Copies of the book will be avail­able for £14.99, ‘with a per­sonal ded­i­ca­tion if you would like one’.

She said in the blog that the book ‘is close to done and then I can look for­ward to the party!’

She added: ‘It’s the first an­niver­sary of Gren­fell and a num­ber of my friends will be in­volved in spe­cial events in the area.’

But she said: ‘It is a big day for me and I am very grate­ful so many have de­cided to come along.’

Kathy Gyn­gell, co-ed­i­tor of the Con­ser­va­tive Woman web­site, said: ‘It is a pity Miss Davies is not spend­ing her time and ef­fort work­ing out how to re­form so­cial hous­ing, which is in ur­gent need of change to cut bu­reau­cracy and cost. It has to be more ef­fi­cient and ac­count­able.

‘Her de­ci­sion to stage this party seems in ques­tion­able taste.’

The book of­fers ‘sharp ob­ser­va­tion, half a cen­tury of dress­mak­ing knowl­edge and glo­ri­ous pho­to­graphs of beau­ti­ful women – all brought to­gether to help you make your life more beau­ti­ful’.

Pri­vately ed­u­cated Miss Davies, 62, has been chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Not­ting Hill group for 14 years, af­ter an ear­lier career as an ul­tra-Left po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion is now one of the big­gest hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions in south­ern Eng­land.

Dur­ing the 1980s she was a lead­ing fig­ure in the Revo­lu­tion­ary Com­mu­nist Party, which sup­ported the IRA and which tried to per­suade Brix­ton res­i­dents to fight the po­lice. In more re­cent times she was crit­i­cised by Labour sup­port­ers af­ter pro­duc­ing a re­port for a Right-lean­ing think tank founded by for­mer Tory leader Iain Dun­can Smith.

A Not­ting Hill Ge­n­e­sis spokesman said: ‘This is a pri­vate event to launch Kate Davies’ book on the sub­ject of fash­ion. It has been pro­duced in­de­pen­dently of the hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion and in no way de­tracts from the ef­forts to re­mem­ber those so trag­i­cally lost in the Gren­fell tragedy.

‘Not­ting Hill Ge­n­e­sis staff will be re­mem­ber­ing those af­fected, in­clud­ing our ten­ants who sadly lost their lives, through­out the day and tak­ing part in the na­tional si­lence at mid­day.’

He added: ‘The event is be­ing held at our of­fices out­side of busi­ness hours, and there­fore has no ef­fect on the work we do as an or­gan­i­sa­tion. As such, no fee is be­ing charged for the room, though any ad­di­tional costs are be­ing paid by Kate Davies.’

The tower was lit up with green light last night as part of the Green for Gren­fell trib­utes which will take place around the UK.

‘This seems to be in ques­tion­able taste’

Fash­ion ad­vice: So­cial hous­ing chief Kate Davies

Trib­ute: Tower lit up last night

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.