Recently some of our lovely customers organised a fundraiser in our cellar for Justice for Grenfell. A fantastic amount of support was shown from the local community,  local artists gave up their time to perform and money was raised for a great cause. Divya and Sara tell us more about the event and why they got involved..

Left Divya and right  Sara

Left Divya and right Sara

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit back your background?

My name is Divya Ghelani. I'm a writer based between Leicestershire and Berlin.

I'm Sara Thornton, and I am currently finishing my PhD based at the Geography Department at the University of Leicester. I research interdisciplinary approaches to conservation, with a focus on peat-swamp forest fish and the importance of fish and fishing to (human) communities in Indonesian Borneo.

Why did you organise the event?

I was in Berlin when news of Grenfell reached me. I thought it would be great to get communities together and raise funds.

I was in The Netherlands when Grenfell happened. I felt (and still feel!) a lot of anger at what was happening, and I wanted to channel that into something positive and more productive!

How did you get involved?

I've never done anything like this before. I'm quite introverted generally. This was a real stepping out for me and I didn't know what would happen.  Thankfully, Sara said she'd co-organise and things went a lot smoother from then on. 

I had met Divya at a workshop I had organised earlier in June, and when I saw that she was looking into setting up a fundraising event in Leicester I immediately volunteered to help out. It was also great to re-connect with Divya and work on something together in Leicester again.

Grenelle Fundraiser At The Exchange

How long did it take you to organise?

Amazingly, just one week! Which is really due to the amazing response we got from everyone, including artists and The Exchange.

How did you get the artists involved?

We asked them. Every single person we spoke to was keen to help. I think the nation's been grief-striken and concerned by media reports. They, like us, felt they should do something.  

We asked around, and sent out messages to people we knew. We also asked House of Verse organiser, Jenny Hibberd, a.k.a. Hibword, if she knew of any performers who may be interested in performing. She helpfully put us in touch with a few others and so we got the final 8 performers together!

How much did you raise?


Thanks to everyone who came, all the performers, and The Exchange for being so helpful!

The final line-up was:

Mellow Baku

Divya Ghelani

Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson

Darren Jilks

Ambrose Musiyiwa

Carol Leeming

Charles Wheeler

Will Horspool (a.k.a. Poetman)