Bishop of Taunton and MP for Somerton and Frome endorse Emergency Flood Relief Fund
Disabled pensioners whose homes have been flooded with raw sewage and families with young children who have had to move out are amongst those who have been helped with the costs of emergency repairs, pumping and drying, and emergency accommodation. Some cannot afford flood insurance at all, while others have up to £10,000 excess to pay. In a number of cases, people had only just recently moved back into their homes following last year’s flooding.
Bishop Peter said: “I have recently visited some of the areas affected by the floods and witnessed the heartbreaking reality in which many individuals, families and businesses find themselves. People who have lived in the area for over 30 years have never seen conditions so bad. Somerset Community Foundation is taking action to support those families and businesses in most need of financial support. I am grateful for everything the SCF continues to do for the people of Somerset and am pleased to be able to lend my support to this urgent cause. My prayers and thoughts are with all those who are suffering due to the flooding this winter.”
MP, David Heath said “I know how important this fund is to people who are facing real problems due to the floods and it’s great to know that donations are coming in from people who care about their neighbouring communities here in Somerset and want to make an important and timely difference.”
Thanks to the donations received so far the Foundation is introducing ‘Phase 2’ relief grants. From Tuesday (4th February) any household that has been adversely affected by the flooding, directly or indirectly, may apply for grants up to £1,000 to offset any financial hardship caused by the flooding, either through extra costs or loss of earnings. Priority will be given to those most urgent cases and the most vulnerable households.
Justin Sargent, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said “The extent and duration of the flooding is taking an unprecedented toll on individual households and whole communities. We have already seen a marvellous response from the rest of the County and far beyond which is enabling us to increase and broaden the range of people we are able to help. We want to make sure people and the communities they live in survive the immediate crisis, but also get the support they need to recover and put their lives back together in the coming weeks and months.”
While the focus remains on individuals and families, the Foundation is looking closely at whether support may be offered to micro-businesses that have lost stock, vital equipment or trade. Justin Sargent added “We recognise the importance of small businesses in the rural community. They are essential in the local economy and local community life, and if we can help those most affected get back on their feet we will.”
Donations to the fund can be made here or by calling 01749 344949 (Mon-Friday 9am-5pm) or by sending a cheque payable to the Somerset Community Foundation to Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN