Flooding in Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale July 2019

Two Ridings Community Foundation has asked the Secretaries of State for Housing Communities and Local Government and Environment Food and Rural Affairs to consider extending the financial support offered to communities affected by the November 2019 flooding to those affected by the July 2019 floods. The Government have made available £300,000 through the Property Flood Resilience Recovery Support Scheme for communities affected in November as well as pledged to match charitable funds up to £1m. However, we would ask that this also be available to the people and communities of Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale, who experienced equally devastating flooding.

This request is on behalf of the people and communities of the Dales. The floods in this region were devastating, with extreme levels of flash flooding on 30th July 2019. More than 300 homes and businesses and 50 farms were flooded and many of these people and their communities are still struggling to recover from this devastation. Although roads and bridges are being repaired, and dry stone walls are starting to be rebuilt, what is less evident is the ongoing impact on people’s lives as they struggle to cope with the financial and emotional impact. Many of those affected were on low wages, low fixed pension incomes, are tenant hill farmers or small businesses, and therefore have little financial resilience.  As an area that relies on farming and tourism with much of the employment typified by low wages, and many people having to work several part time jobs to make ends meet, this lack of financial resilience is likely to have long term impacts.

The communities affected are extremely grateful for the financial support already offered to address the impact on infrastructure and farmers’ uninsurable losses, however we are requesting that people and businesses affected by the July 2019 floods can also access the Property Flood Resilience Recovery Support Scheme. This resilience funding is available via local authorities to allow flood-hit homes and businesses to receive up to £5,000 (including VAT) to make changes on properties and reduce damage levels should flooding reoccur.

We are also requesting that the Government similarly match fund the donations raised for the Flood Recovery Fund administered by the Two Ridings Community Foundation to support people, businesses and farms experiencing ongoing financial hardship as a result of the floods.

Although nearly £300,000 has been raised to support financial hardship our current projections suggest that there is still significant unmet need.

So far Two Ridings has helped 146 homes, 7 businesses, 5 parish councils and 27 farms but know that financial hardship will continue as a result of the time taken for people to get back on their feet. In the meantime, farmers and businesses struggle with bills over the quiet period of winter and households are struggling to cope.

Our request for this support is endorsed by the local partners who have been involved in the flood response since July 2019. They are: North Yorkshire County Council, Richmondshire District Council, the York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, the National Farmers Union, Citizens Advice Mid North Yorkshire, Richmondshire Council for Voluntary Services and the Farming Communities Network..