Updated: Jun 22, 2021
A brand new fund of over £30m has been set up by the government to cover the costs of installing fire alarm systems in up to 460 high-rise private residential buildings across the country.
Following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower Fire in 2017 a significant re-evaluation of the nations fire safety regulations have been underway. The most recent update to hit the headlines involved dangerous cladding that is still up in certain high-rise buildings, with the government announcing their plans to remove such cladding with an additional grant of £3.5bn to help combat the issue as part of their response to the Grenfell disaster.
However, in more recent news that many aren't aware of is that a brand new fund of £30m has been awarded to cover the cost of setting up replacement alarm systems in numerous high-rise buildings across England. The fund is set to target areas in London and Greater London in particular with the large sum of £16m solely dedicated to target areas. Meaning, the fund is likely to positively affect some Croydon residents.
The fund is set out to replace or support the current fire regulation system that's in place in various high-rise buildings across the country where people named 'Walking Watchers' are employed to keep an around the clock watch against fires. The current measure of employing 'Walking Watchers' is expected to cost residents on average a whopping £499 per month, per property whereas the new system that the government intends to roll out labelled 'Walking Watch Relief Fund' sets out to eliminate the unnecessary costs for residents and landlords alike as well as providing a safer alternative.
The deadline to apply for funding to replace the 'Walking Watchers' with proper alarm systems is fast approaching so if affected residents don't act soon they are at risk of missing out on the financial support. The current deadline is set at the 14th March.
When discussing the 'Walking Watchers Relief Fund' back in December last year National Fire Chiefs Council Chair, Roy Wilsher said "We welcome this new Waking Watch Relief Fund, which will help to reduce the financial burden for some leaseholders having to fund the costs of waking watches." He also stated that "It has been our firm and long held expectation that building owners should move to install common fire alarms as quickly as possible and this funding is a positive step."
However, the question remains, how effective will this new funding scheme be? How many people in need are actually aware of the 'Walking Watchers Relief Fund'? And how exactly do you apply for funding?
As always we want to hear your say, particularly as this is an issue directly affecting Croydon residents! Are you affecting by this issue and would like to know how to apply for funding? Or perhaps you have a deeper insight on the topic and have information you would like to share?
If so, be sure to get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org