In January 2014, in response to the major flood incident on the Somerset Levels, Somerset Community Foundation launched the Somerset Flood Relief Fund appeal.
Between 200 and 250 homes on the Somerset Levels were flooded or evacuated. In some communities the evacuation was at short notice, leaving households little time to prepare to leave.
Somerset Community Foundation awarded grants to over 350 households as they coped with the financial pressures caused directly and indirectly by the floods. We also supported a number of partner organisations providing practical support on the ground, taking the total value of grants issued and committed to £1.34m.
The Fund total was a remarkable testament to the magnitude of the problem and the empathy felt across the country. This magnificent response meant that we were able to respond to the short-term need as well as plan properly to help rebuild lives, livelihoods and communities over the coming months.
For information on grant distribution and impact, please see our infographic.
In 2015, the administration of the Somerset Flood Relief Fund by Somerset Community Foundation was evaluated by an independent evaluation team. They found that the fund was managed to “the highest standards and, particularly in the light of the pace of change of the crisis, with a level of integrity which exceeded any reasonable expectations.” Read the evaluation summary report here.
Somerset Flood Relief Fund was used to:
- Provide emergency relief grants to people whose homes had been flooded or who had to evacuate their homes to meet the immediate financial burdens of moving out, pumping and drying, and emergency repairs. These were £250 and usually awarded within 48 hours of receipt of an eligible application.
- Helped those who faced additional financial burdens as a result of the flooding, for example though loss of earnings, extended daily commutes and school runs.
- Supported local microbusinesses, charities and community organisations to ensure their survival and swift recovery as an essential part of the local community and economy through grants and, where applicable, loans.
- Supported counselling and other support and community services to help people cope with the emotional stress caused by the flooding in the short and medium term.
We are a very small organisation that has been able to respond quickly and flexibly to the flooding crisis, administering donations coming in from around the world and processing hundreds of grant applications for our flood-affected neighbours in Somerset. We are extremely grateful for all of the volunteers and our temporary staff who have helped us out in the office during this very busy time. Where possible the cost of administering the Fund were taken from gift aid receipts, and support costs did not exceed 10% of the total Fund.