SIX months on from the worst flooding in living memory, a total of £905,000 has been distributed from a crisis fund to help get victims in the area back on their feet.
The Somerset Relief Fund reached a staggering £1.36million in donations as the scale of the flooding across the Levels and its effect on families and businesses became clear.
Now, the remainder is being distributed as some families are still living in caravans and temporary accommodation.
The money was initially used to help people in crisis, being evacuated from their homes and farms, mainly in villages such as Burrowbridge, Moorland and Fordgate.
The first phase of the crisis fund offered grants of £250. The second phase of the grants, distributed via the Somerset Community Foundation, went to help people dealing with ongoing costs of being disrupted by the floodwater and offered awards from between £150 and £1,000.
This included extra expenses flood victims had to face as they tried to get on with their lives. Cash from this phase has been distributed to around 350 households.
A total of 55 per cent of the grants have gone to households which had to deal with the horrors of the flooding affecting their homes while 34 per cent of the cash has gone to the rural economy. Some of this has helped around 100 farmers as well as micro-businesses and other firms get back on track.
Chief executive of the SCF, Justin Sargent, said: “Many people affected are still not back in liveable conditions so we are offering vital support to these families to get over some of the worst financial setbacks they have faced.
“Some of these families have been disrupted for six months and won’t be back in their homes until the end of the year. They have incurred a lot of costs, even if it is a detour to their journey to work while roads are being fixed. Some are still living in caravans. It is a long process and we are doing our best to help the worst affected.”
Flood-hit families are urged to apply for the third phase of the scheme which is for people repairing their home or replacing essential contents.
On top of that, a grant of £500 is being given to all but the most wealthy people affected by the floods, to cover the cost of eating out, extra petrol needed for longer journeys and other incidental expenses.
All flooded households that have an income of £3,000 or less per month after accommodation costs and council tax are eligible for the additional grant.
The Foundation will be contacting eligible households over the next few days and believes more than 95% of flooded households will qualify.
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