Flood Recovery Appeal Tops Ten Million Pounds

18th May 2016

The Cumbria Recovery Appeal has raised £10 million to help people rebuild their lives after the flooding in December 2015.

The donation which took the figure through the £10 million mark was one of £400 from the Mayor of Cockermouth Julie Laidlaw.

The majority of the cash came from more than 20,000 individual donations, which the Government then match funded an additional £4.7 million.

So far more than four million pounds has been given in grants to more than two thousand people across the county.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “When we started the appeal we hoped to raise £1 million, to have raised ten times that amount and to be able to help people across Cumbria to recover from the devastating floods is amazing.

“I am humbled by the generosity of our donors that have allowed us to help so many people. Raising £10 million means we will be able to invest in projects that have a lasting benefit for our flood affected communities.

“I know that some people are still a long way off returning to normal and I’d say to come and ask for help, everything you need to know about how to apply for a grant is on our website.”

One person who has benefited from a Flood Recovery Grant is Chris Ansell, 34, from Sandylands Road in Kendal, who lives with his partner Fay and three children Harrison, Connor and Ella.

In December, his house flooded for the first time in 80 years due to a blocked culvert. Four feet of water swept through the house and destroyed everything on the ground floor. Chris had spent three years doing up the house, he said: “I felt sick and disheartened after the floods, I did all the work on the house myself and it was all gone in the space of hours of it raining. Until it happens to you, you don’t realise how devastating it is for families to see their lives in a skip. I was lucky, the insurance paid out, but then there were extra costs above the settlement caused by the dehumidifiers. I took out a credit card and ran up debts before I applied for the Flood Grant. The volunteers at the Encouragement Cabin helped me apply and I received a very generous amount which I am very grateful for.”

Chris lives in one of 900 homes in the Mintsfeet and Far Cross wards in Kendal that was affected. He and his family moved back in earlier this month, five months after the floods.

We’ve uploaded a short interview with Chris Ansell, filmed by Tara Vallente, here.

A family business near Penrith has also been helped by the Flood Recovery Appeal. Happy Hooves is a riding stable that offers horse riding for people with disabilities.

Alison and her mum Joyce Noble saw their home and their business underwater during the floods. Alarmingly, eight of the 25 horses at the site in Eamont Bridge were stood in their stables with the swirling water up to their tummies.

Alison and her mum both received individual grants to help them during the flood recovery and the charitable business was given £10,000 towards a £17,000 repair bill for ‘Mr Williams’ – an electronic horse which enables them to identify what support a rider needs to take to a real horse. Happy Hooves also offers riding lessons to people of all abilities and especially to those with disabilities.

Becky Mackenzie, senior riding instructor at Happy Hooves, said: “Mr Williams is modelled on a top dressage horse and is covered in sensors which let us know if a rider is sitting a bit skew whiff or is holding one rein tighter than another. We use him with our groups from Mencap or Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) or for people who are nervous about horse riding. He is invaluable in getting people to safely ride a horse. Since he returned from Racewood, where he was repaired, Mr Williams has a new program specially designed for the RDA which lets riders experience riding through different surroundings – like on a beach or in a wood.

“We are really grateful for the help we were given by the Flood Grant. The community spirit was amazing after the floods – al our horses went to temporary homes while we sorted out the house and the stables and the classroom and no one asked for a penny. With people bringing food and helping out we managed to re-open in the new year. Alison and her mum are almost back to normal at home, which is great.”