What is the money raised for?
The first priority for the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal is to support individuals or families that have suffered financial hardship as a result of the flooding. The Appeal is also helping with wider community relief and rebuilding projects.
Who can apply for a grant?
Anyone whose home has suffered significant structural damage or flooding, or who has lost work or income because of storm or flood.
Grants are also available for community groups and charities providing support services directly to flood affected households and to help those charities and community services affected by floods themselves.
How can people apply?
Via our website or call 01900 825760
How do people know they can apply for help?
We have promoted the availability of grant support widely in the press, social media, through relief organisations, councils and the Foundation’s website.
The application form was distributed directly to all flood relief centres immediately following flooding and has been available from the Foundation’s website and by post and from almost all organisations involved in responding to the floods. Hundreds of forms have been distributed by hand throughout the county by volunteers and council officers. Volunteers and council staff have helped people fill in forms. We are also working closely with the county and district councils as well as infrastructure organisations.
So far, we have been able to support almost a half of all flooded households in Cumbria. There has been extensive national and regional coverage in the media to ensure we reach as many people as possible.
We have attended drop in sessions around the county and information is also available via the National Flood Forum and Environment Agency’s Flood Road Show. We can email or send a paper application out to those who cannot access our website.
We have written to every flooded household in the county to ensure they know there is ongoing support available via the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund.
How much have you given out so far?
How many flooded households have benefitted so far?
2,880 which is currently 49% of all flooded households
Can you apply if you are insured?
Yes. To date 52% of awarded applicants have insurance.
How much is the average grant?
£2,135 to households that are uninsured and £2,117 to those that are insured (including partly insured).
Can people apply more than once?
Yes. If people have ongoing problems or incur costs they hadn’t expected we want them to get in touch and ask for more help. We ask that further requests for support are made after a month.
What has it provided support for?
Cleaning up, emergency repairs, clothing, food and drink, drying the property, heating and heating equipment, child care equipment and essential furniture, disability scooters, wheelchairs, medical equipment, items for a premature baby and camping stoves for people who have remained at home with no cooking facilities.
What was the target amount you aimed to raise?
Why do you need that much money?
We have identified a need of £9m. Households and communities across large parts of the county have been devastated. THREE times as many households were affected by the December 2015 floods (6,282) compared with 2,500 in 2005 and 1,800 in 2009. We know from running similar appeals in 2005 and 2009 that we will continue to support some families for 12-18 months after the flooding. We also need to be able to help re-build valuable community facilities and support the work that charities have done to support people affected by the floods.
How much money has come from the Government?
How much have you raised to already?
£10.3m to date.
Why haven’t you given out all the money you have raised already?
From our experience previously, applications keep coming in for help for 12 to 18 months after the flood. Some people who are insured think they will be alright, but once they get back in their homes and start to replace items, they often realise their insurance is inadequate and we have to be able to help them when that need arises. Some people really do need help but feel that by applying they are asking for charity. With encouragement, they do eventually apply.
Has everyone who needs help applied already?
No. Some families and households apply right away for urgent funding to pay for a deposit on a temporary home, which they may need to furnish, to replace school uniforms lost in the flood, to pay for respite care for vulnerable family members, or to replace items needed straight away.
But many families don’t apply during the ‘crisis’ and wait for the water to recede and their homes to dry out (which can take months) and to be repaired (which can take even more months) before they can really know what they need to return home.
Those in temporary accommodation have nowhere to store white goods or replacement sofas or tables and chairs and so wait until they are ready to move back in before applying for help.
Families also come back for help as they need it. People are only asking for what they absolutely need. Some have already come back a second time as their next need arises.
Do you think that people are just being stoical, sorting themselves out and not applying because they think the criteria is too strict?
No. People in real hardship can’t just ‘get on’ because they don’t have the money or the means to access money to do that without our help. We have been proactive from the start, keeping the application form as simple as possible. We understand that hardship takes many forms and that circumstances sometimes mean that people who are insured also need extra help.
Are applications means tested?
No. Applications aren’t means tested. Hardship can be emotional and physical as well as financial. We assess each application on its merits. People’s circumstances vary greatly.
For example, someone on a relatively good income may be uninsured and/or have small children or caring responsibilities for an elderly relative or have other complications and need to replace everything, we wouldn’t reject their application on income alone.
Some people are more able to help themselves than others. At all times we are informed by Charity Commission guidance on the relief of hardship.
Why does the application form ask for information about personal finances?
The Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal is managed within the legal framework provided by Charity Law and overseen by the Charity Commission. The Community Foundation is required by charity law to satisfy itself that people receiving charitable funds are experiencing hardship. To do this we have to collect information, in confidence, about people’s personal circumstances. This includes whether they are insured, what costs they have incurred, what income and outgoings people have and what other circumstances affect people’s circumstances, such as caring responsibilities, illness or disability.
Are you getting the money out quickly enough?
Yes. Individual applications are being assessed within 24 to 48 hours. Applications are assessed by grants officers and considered by our experienced panel twice a week. Payments can then be made directly into bank accounts.
We are holding a grants panel for group applications which sits alongside our main grants panel and we have encouraged organisations that have committed resources to put in a retrospective application if it meets our criteria (not normal policy for us, but these are exceptional circumstances).
How many groups have received funding?
95 groups have received support so far, totalling £1.2m.
What are the groups providing?
As a priority, the fund will support groups that are helping out with advice, information, counselling, distributing goods and providing activities for the local community, particularly children and young people directly affected by flooding.
Funding can help with paying for services and support provided by organisations, facilitating storage of donated goods, replacing and updating equipment to reimbursing charities for lost income.
What sorts of group applications are successful?
Those which show that the group is prepared to work in our communities with people who need help and those which will work in a coordinated way with other organisations and flood recovery groups.
We proposed a framework of activities that we would hope to see in each community as part of the recovery process which is contained within the Grant Making Strategy and which has been adopted by the recovery process.
This framework is extremely comprehensive and includes not only information and advice services but mental health support, replacement funding for impacted community organisations and support to children and young people impacted by dislocation and relocation.
We’re not supporting groups just because they got their application in quickly. Nor will we support those working in isolation, at cross purposes or duplicating efforts already being made.
It is important, given that four districts in the county have been affected, that we see the whole picture and we responsibly support those groups and organisations that are willing to work together and combine resources to effect real and lasting change.
We hope groups understand our requirements are necessary to ensure we get the funding out to the right projects in the most effective way. We expect it will take time for fully joined up projects to be put together.
What is the Community Foundation taking as a management fee?
We aim to keep costs to 5% or less than the total value of the fund.
There have been significant extra costs to CCF in order to manage and administer the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund including ability to process applications quickly; monitoring of grants, feedback to donors; as well as the publicity to ensure people know that the fund is there for them to apply. This cost does not take into account the additional hours given voluntarily by staff, former staff, people volunteering to help us and our trustees, which we are hugely grateful for.
What will happen if there is any money left once everyone has asked for what they need?
We do not expect to have any funds remaining. In 2005 and 2009 we thought we were dealing with exceptional 1 in 100 year events. Sadly, with three major flooding incidents in ten years, Cumbria Community Foundation will play an important role in supporting communities to be flood resilient for the future. It is not possible at this stage to know exactly what that will mean in detail, but it will certainly involve supporting Flood Action Groups and the creation of Flood Response Plans for communities and possibly the creation of more organised voluntary groups who are trained to respond immediately to flooding.
How much did you raise and give out in 2009?
In 2009 we raised £3m, the majority of which was given to individuals and we expect the same to be true this time. An independent evaluation commissioned for that fund, praised Cumbria Community Foundation for our thoroughness and its findings were used to inform how we operate the current fund.
What did Cumbria Community Foundation learn from previous experience of running appeals?
The importance of a dedicated fund to secure and distribute financial support to community groups and individuals.
The important role voluntary and community organisations play in supporting communities during times of need.
How valuable small grants are in providing both financial and emotional support to individuals experiencing hardship.
How wide ranging and long lasting the emotional impact of such a disaster can be to individuals.
The impact on voluntary and community organisations during times of need (loss of income, opportunities to expand services and respond to need).
Are there different phases to the type of support people need?
Yes. There are two phases:
Phase one: immediate support for individual grants for households in priority groups (over 70s and under 5s and people with disabilities) and those without contents insurance (and occasionally buildings insurance). Group grants to front line services such as Red Cross, Citizens Advice Bureau, Law Centre, furniture and white goods recycling and activities for children and young people.
Phase two: supplementary support: Individual grants for households whose income has been affected over a long term period and households who have continued to experience increased household expense due to relocation resulting from the flood. Group grants to organisations who have suffered damage to their property, those providing emotional support and counselling and community celebrations once residents have returned to their properties.