Flood Appeal Review: Need for Financial Support Increases

8th March 2016

A recent review of expenditure and future demand on the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal has indicated a need for hardship and community recovery funds in the region of £9.4m, against the current funds raised of £5.7m.

The Appeal, set up by Cumbria Community Foundation has distributed £2.5 million to date to individuals and families suffering financial hardship and to community relief and rebuilding projects.

As a result the trustees have taken the decision to increase the Appeal target to £7m and will keep this under review with the expectation that it may have to rise in the future. The trustees wish to thank and recognise the thousands of people who have raised money in support of the Flood Recovery Appeal and who continue to hold fundraising events.

As Government continues to monitor need and allocation of funds it is vital that we communicate our best understanding of demands on the Appeal.

The Flood Recovery Appeal has so far supported more than 2,000 households – 35% of all those affected – with 30-35 grants being awarded per day. An average of £188,000 is being awarded per week with most people receiving money within 48 hours of their applications being considered.

The charity is expecting to see more households applying as families return to their homes – many are still in temporary accommodation.

Chief Executive Andy Beeforth said: “The Flood Recovery Appeal has so far responded to the immediate crisis phase of the flooding. We know, however, that recovery takes a long time. Our experience of managing flood funds in 2005 and 2009 tells us that we will need to continue to support some families for 12-18 months after the floods.

“Many families have not returned to their homes, hundreds of homes are not yet dry or ready to be occupied, others are only just uncovering problems and issues and costs they had not expected. The full extent of the damage to homes, businesses, community facilities, and to the infrastructure and the associated costs of cleaning up, and of repair and restoration, will run into many millions of pounds. Previous floods in Cumbria cost the insurance industry £272m in 2005 and £276m in 2009.

“We need to be able to help re-build valuable community facilities and to support the work that charities have done to support people affected by the floods.”

“If the Appeal continues to spend at the current rate it would be spent up by July 2016. Our trustees are monitoring expenditure to ensure those in greatest need are prioritised.”

“We encourage anyone facing financial hardship as a result of the flooding to seek help through the Appeal if they have not done so already.”

Cumbria Community Foundation’s Flood Recovery Appeal has supported households who have lost income as a direct result of the floods and supported community organisations and charities providing vital support. It has also supported some community organisations whose premises have been flooded or whose activities have been curtailed by flooding.

The Foundation’s Grants Committee has met monthly to consider group applications since 5 December. The 22 March Grants Committee meeting will consider applications totalling £475,000.

Awards to charities and community groups will be primarily to those who provide support services such as advice and information, practical and emotional support to those affected by the storms and organisations who have been directly affected by the floods. The Foundation also expects to see an increase in applications from community groups in support of community resilience measures.

More than 5,500 homes were flooded in December 2015. This is three times more households than were affected by flooding in 2009. The Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal 2009 raised and spent £3m.