Stress and anxiety of York flood victims ‘unimaginable’ says charity fund boss

"It is great to see the results of a community working together" says CEO Dame Fiona Kendrick. Photo: Nigel Holland.
17 Jun 2016 @ 11.36 am
| News

Six months after York’s devastating floods, for many affected the struggle is still far from over.

So said the head of the charity responsible for managing the York Flood Appeal.

Speaking at an event to thank donors, Jan Garrill, CEO of flood fund manager the Two Ridings Community Foundation, said: “Grants can replace essentials, but returning home is just the start of recovery for many residents.

“The stress and anxiety people are still suffering is unimaginable. We have seen families living apart, people losing their jobs – and even made homeless.

“Many are left with ongoing health and mental health problems.”

That is why the flood fund has been so important.

Rebuilding lives

Donors to the fund, which reached £1.3 million with match funding from the government, attended a thank you event at York Brew in Walmgate – itself a flood victim – to hear how their money is being spent on June 10.

Ms Garrill said the generosity of donors had made “an enormous difference to how we can help residents rebuild lives that were devastated on Boxing Day”.

She added:

As well as giving grants for essential household items, our whole ethos is to be helpful, supportive and understanding of people’s circumstances.

That means we do home visits, get to know people and help them get support from other services.

A hand-up, not a hand-out

CEO Dame Fiona Kendrick meeting a flood victim. Photo: Nigel Holland
CEO Dame Fiona Kendrick meeting a flood victim. Photo: Nigel Holland

One of the victims was Patricia Ruane, who suffers from lupus and was ill in bed when the floods reached her ground floor flat in Rosemary Court.

“The experience stays with you for a long time. We were very lucky in York that nobody died,” she said.

York’s flood fund had made all the difference.

“I would be lost without the help from the fund, which means I’m able to buy household essentials for my new flat.”

Rotary Clubs in Yorkshire donated £30K to the appeal.

Hazel Haas of Rotary in Yorkshire said: “We strive to make a difference to our communities by giving a ‘hand up’, not a handout, enabling social groups and small businesses to get back on their feet and return to their place at the heart of their neighbourhood.”

Nestlé donated £100,000 to the appeal fund. Chief executive of Nestlé UK Dame Fiona Kendrick said:

In a tight-knit community like York, it comes as no surprise that many of our employees knew of someone affected by the floods. Many of our people from Nestlé provided practical support in the delivery of vital supplies such as coffee, pet food and bottled water in the immediate aftermath.

Our aim was to help people affected to get back on their feet and to rebuild their lives and their homes after this awful natural disaster.

Two Ridings Community Foundation is dealing with applications for grants from the flood appeal fund every day.

The organisation wants people to contact it as many times as they need to – even if you have had an initial grant when first flooded you can re-apply whenever you need help. More information and how to apply here.