Residents who lost their belongings in the blaze can now apply for compensation from a pot of £40,000. Over 200 residents were evacuated during the fire which blazed at a privately-owned student accommodation block last month in Bolton.
While the affected students have been placed in temporary accommodation in Bolton and also given £500 each by the University, many lost their belongings in the blaze and have been unable to return to their rooms to recover them due to the severity of the fire. Others have also had to pay for food and hotels at their own expense.
The money comes from donations made by members of the public to a Just Giving page set up by the Greater Manchester Disaster Relief Fund (GMDRF). While the public has raised over £17,000, the GMDRF will be making an additional £23,000 available to those forced to leave their homes by the fire.
In the description of the Just Giving page, the GMDRF said: “These students are home and international students and had to leave immediately in what they were stood in, they have left with no personal possessions and there is no prospect of returning to this accommodation given the severity of the fire.”
In a document published shortly after the fire, the GMDRF added: “ At this point, it is unknown if any of the 223 students affected will be able to recover any of their belongings and many are certain to have lost the entire contents of their rooms. Everything from clothing, toiletries and study materials is likely to be needed”.
Payments will only cover immediate and short term needs caused by the fire and will vary according to the extent to which the applicant was affected by the blaze.
Commenting on the number of donations made to the fund, Bolton Council’s chief executive Tony Oakman said: “Bolton has really come together, and we’ve seen the best of our town following the fire.
“The fire has really severely impacted the lives of some of our residents. This fund will go a little bit of the way to helping those most affected.”
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bolton Professor George Holmes added: “Everyone at the university was humbled by the amazing and generous response from the community, both in Bolton and across the country.
“Individuals and organisations have contributed to the official fund and now it is up to students and those living nearby to apply. Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to donate.”