4th August 2016

CUMBRIA Community Foundation’s Flood Recovery Appeal has given FIVE MILLION POUNDS to people across the county affected by December’s devastating floods.

More than 4,000 applications have been processed. 2,500 households have benefited from £4 million and 85 community organisations have had a share of £1 million.

The organisation to receive the five millionth pound is Churches Together. It was awarded a grant of more than £50,000 to run the Carlisle Flood Recovery drop-in centre on English Street. It offers advice and guidance to those who have been affected by the floods. Staff at the centre can also signpost to other agencies, to make sure people are helped directly.

David Robinson, President of Churches Together in Carlisle, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this vital support for the next twelve months. Paul Hendy and his team are very keen to hear from as many people as possible. It is wonderful that the public have been so generous to Flood Appeal. It’s true to say that community spirit is alive and well in Cumbria.”

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the priority was to give urgent financial support to those whose homes had been affected by the flooding – to help them pay for temporary accommodation, buy necessaries such as clothing, and so on. In the second phase people are moving back into their homes, and need much more substantial grants to cover things like carpets, tables and chairs, beds and bedding, white goods and kitchen units.

Cumbria Community Foundation Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “We want anyone who has been affected by the floods to approach us and apply for a grant to help them rebuild their lives, even if they have already had a grant. The money is there to help people in need across the county and we would like to reach as many people as possible.

“We know there are still more than 1,500 households unable to return home. However, this statistic does not reflect the true situation as some people remained living in their flooded homes, particularly those who were uninsured, and those that have returned home report still having to deal with a number of issues.”

The third phase of the Appeal is to support households implement resistance and resilience measures in their home, awarding almost £100,000 to date.

Cockermouth resident Rob was flooded, causing a substantial amount of damage to his home. He said: “We ended up knee deep in water and lost lots of personal possessions. We applied for the government’s Property Level Resilience (PLR) grant to protect our property, should it happen again. This helped pay for the majority of the flood defence scheme although it did not cover the full costs. A grant from the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal enabled me to complete the scheme and cover the shortfall.”

Funding will also support neighbours who wish to ‘pool’ their resilience grants to implement local neighbourhood resistance schemes, in collaboration with the Environment Agency, County and District Councils.

Millhouse Flood Action Group have been allocated just under £8,000 to work with the Environment Agency and develop an improvement plan for the area in Hesket Newmarket. The project includes raising, lengthening and re-enforcing the bund around the beck; works to the bank and flood calming measures. In addition to this, residents from the village also received individual grants towards resistance and resilience measures for their own homes.

Philippa Groves
Philippa Groves, Treasurer for the Millhouse Flood Action Group

Philippa Groves, Treasurer for the group, said: “Unfortunately, no one thing is going to stop the floods but with this help we can build up areas which will all help with the bigger picture. Together with all these measures and the work of the Environment Agency we hope we can protect the village from flooding in the future.”

Community groups across the county are also being urged to apply for funding to cover the costs of community-led flood defence work for public benefit, as well as those providing advice, guidance and emotional support to people affected by the floods.

The trustees of the Foundation wish to express renewed thanks to the thousands of generous people and organisations that donated to the appeal and also recognise the role of the government in providing match funding of £4.8m.

To find out more about the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal, or to make an application, visit the Flood Appeal page and complete an online application form. Alternatively, you can call the Foundation on 01900 825760 or email grants@cumbriafoundation.org