What is the money raised for?
Cumbria Community Foundation established the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal 2015 for charitable purposes in connection with the relief of hardship within the county of Cumbria caused directly or indirectly by storm damage and flooding in December 2015. Priorities for grant making are:
• Individuals and families suffering financial hardship and
• Community relief and ‘community rebuilding’ projects
Who can apply for a grant?
Anyone whose home was flooded or suffered significant structural storm damage, or who has been affected by the floods e.g. loss of income, can apply for support.
Community groups and charities affected by the floods or providing services to help flood affected people can also apply for a grant.
How can people apply?
Via our website or phone 01900 825760.
How many households have benefitted so far?
2,731 which is currently 49% of all flooded households.
Can you apply if you are insured?
Yes. To date 54% of awarded applicants have insurance.
How much is the average grant award?
£2,197 to households that are uninsured and £2,057 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?
Examples for households include: Cleaning up, emergency repairs, uninsured recovery costs, loss of income and resistance/resilience measures
Examples for groups include: delivery of support services for flood affected individuals/families; uninsured flood recovery costs and resilience measures; equipment to support future emergency planning.
Why haven’t you given out all the money you have raised already?
From our experience previously, people may require support up to two years 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.
We have also funded organisations who have helped people recover from the floods and to apply to the Flood Fund e.g. British Red Cross, Carlisle Flood Advice Centre, Citizens Advice and Cumbria Law Centre.
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 Fund 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.
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, and people volunteering to help us and including 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 their 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:
• Immediate support for flood affected households, with priority given to: people over 70s, families with young children, low income households, people with disabilities and the uninsured.
• Group grants to front line services such as community flood centres, British Red Cross, Citizens Advice Bureau, Law Centre, Age UK and to the distribution of donated furniture and white goods.
• Supplementary support: Individual grants for households whose income has been affected over a long term period, households who have continued to experience increased household expense due to relocation resulting from the flood and resistance/resilience measures.
• Group grants to organisations who have suffered damage to their property, those providing emotional support and counselling, community resistance/resilience projects and community celebrations once residents have returned to their properties.