You did it! £1m flood relief target is smashed

Steve Duncan and the Comminity Foundation team.
Steve Duncan and the Comminity Foundation team.

The £1m target set for the Calderdale Flood Relief appeal has been smashed as donations and pledges of money continue to pour in.

One month on from the devastating Boxing Day floods, the extraordinary outpouring of support towards the Calderdale Flood Relief Appeal, set up by Community Foundation for Calderdale, shows no sign of stopping.

And as donations from Calderdale and beyond continue to fly in, with thousands more expected, the £1m target has already been exceeded. The deadline for Government match funding has been extended until February 5, which means there will be even more chance to boost the money available to those in need.

Steve Duncan, chief executive of the foundation, said: “The support has just been absolutely phenonemal and it’s not stopping.

“When we reached about £150,000, I was really hesitant about raising the target to £1m, as we have never run an appeal on this scale before.

“But the support from people in Calderdale and from across the country has been absolutely amazing. I’m really hoping all the money will be matched.”

The money is already helping those in need - Mr Duncan added that around £220,000 has been given in emergency grants and £100,000 has also supported businesses through the Calderdale Rising initiative.

But the appeal doesn’t stop there and it’s hoped that a Watermark Fund can be set up to ensure money is in the bank should flooding hit again.

The appeal received a major boost from Comic Relief this week when the charity pledged £40,000 to the borough.

A spokesperson said: “Following Storm Eva, and then Storm Frank later in December, many homes, businesses and community facilities were badly damaged by rising floodwater, some families lost the contents of their homes and others have even lost their livelihoods.

“The money will be given in emergency grants to UK Community Foundation, an umbrella organisation for community foundations, which will distribute the funds. Priority will be given to older people, families with young children and people who are living with disabilities.”

NatWest has given £5,000 to the cause and it has also been supporting customers and businesses across the borough with staff donating time to volunteer, and fundraising work.

Richard Topliss, chairman of the North Region Board, said: “During the last few weeks, I have been moved and impressed by the unstinting efforts of our teams in the flood-affected areas to support their local communities.

“I could not be more proud of their dedication and commitment to helping our customers and communities, even in times of personal adversity.

“They have been an inspiration for us all. We are delighted to support the Calderdale Flood Relief Fund in its efforts to help and aid those impacted by the floods.”

Earlier in the month, a pop-up flood relief charity shop opened at the Woolshops. Since then it has raised a fantastic £7,500 for the appeal.

It’s hoped that when the shop closes tomorrow afternoon afternoon, that figure will have risen to £10,000 or more. All funds raised will be matched by the government.

And in another boost, the Rotary Club of Sowerby Bridge raised £7,500 through a bucket collection at the town’s Tesco store soon after the floods hit.

HT Fitness Gym in Ripponden raised a total of £2,750 from a four-hour Spinathon (exercising on static bikes) held outdoors at Oldham Road.

Countless other fundraisers have been in held in every corner of Calderdale to support those most in need.