4th December 2017
Two years after the devastating widespread flooding caused by Storm Desmond sees the publication of the report into the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal.
The report, titled Making a Difference- Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015, captures the horror of the damage caused by the flooding, it details how much money was raised and the difference the fund has made to people’s lives.
Throughout the document there are examples of what an amazing community response there was to the floods and how resilient people were to the challenges thrown at them.
In all, more than 5,500 households and 1,000 businesses were flooded, for some it was the third or fourth time they had seen their homes overwhelmed in a decade.
Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund was only a success because of the generosity of many donors, supporters and fundraisers who with Government match funding raised an incredible £10.3 million to help flood-affected communities.
Over £9.6 million has been awarded to more than 3,000 flood-affected households and 167 groups.
Making A Difference – The Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015 details:
• Cumbria Community Foundation’s response to the 2015 floods as part of the countywide recovery effort.
• The difference the Fund made to flood-affected individuals, families, groups and communities across the county.
• The findings of the Fund’s independent evaluation.
• CCF’s future commitment to supporting communities in need and the creation of the Cumbria Disaster Fund.
• £7,232,112 was awarded to 3,157 families.
• £2,444,101 awarded to 167 community groups.
All of the Foundation’s work was done in partnership with other agencies as part of the countywide recovery process. More than 50 organisations and agencies worked together as part of a multi-agency Strategic Recovery Co-ordination Group, chaired by Cumbria County Council. The chair of the Cumbria Community Recovery Group, said: “CCF and the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund made a difference to the people of Cumbria when they most needed help and made a significant contribution to the countywide recovery efforts.”
CCF awarded £383,432 to 18 third sector organisations to provide advice and guidance to people affected by the floods – organisations like Citizens Advice, the Law Centre, Carlisle Flood Advice Centre, Sandylands Methodist Church’s Encouragement Cabin, Churches Together, Age UK and the British Red Cross.
A total of £1,247,989 helped 106 groups repair flood damaged facilities not covered by insurance, covered loss of income, helped them to deliver key services from temporary accommodation and also to undertake flood resilience measures.
The toll on people’s mental health and wellbeing was high too, the Fund gave £132,058 to 12 groups supporting emotional well-being across the county. Feedback suggests that stress and anxiety over the prospect of future flooding, particularly for older and more vulnerable people, is an ongoing issue.
And while we all hope that we won’t see flooding like it again, £225,096 has been awarded to 16 community response groups and two search and rescue organisations to help prepare communities for future flooding.
Another £350,536 has been given to 12 small “at risk” communities, enabling them to implement local flood resilience schemes. The schemes have been developed with the support of the Environment Agency and local councils.
An independent evaluation of the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund found that nine out of ten people agreed that they found out about the Flood Recovery Fund in good time, that communication during the grant process was good, that they were treated fairly, that their needs were understood and that responses from CCF were efficient or timely.
The vast majority of the 900 people who responded to the survey said that they were grateful for the help and that the process to get a grant was clear, quick and easy.
One respondent said: “Without the grant, I would have been homeless and housed in temporary accommodation unsuitable for my disability for months. CCF made me feel human.”
Another said: “It made all the difference, it helped me protect my home and kept me out of debt.”
One of the organisations said: “Without the support of the CCF grants, our community would still be struggling to recover from the effects of Storm Desmond. With the grants, we have recovered and are working on future resilience.”
Another said: “It has been transformational and has undoubtedly enabled us to open quickly after the flood.”
The report found that it is without doubt that the personal response offered by CCF to people who had experienced flooding made a significant difference to their recovery.
The Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal was extraordinary, it saw 35,000 donors, funders and fundraising groups, with the support of Government match funding, raise £10.3 million. Cumbria now has a Disaster Fund, created in 2016 to help individuals and families affected by smaller scale disasters. Sadly, it has already been needed due to flooding three times since then. Flooding on a much smaller scale geographically, but equally devastating for the families affected.