Whalley unites to form flood defence group

Volunteers form a human chain to get supplies into Whalley village hall during the clean up after the floods.
Volunteers form a human chain to get supplies into Whalley village hall during the clean up after the floods.
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The first steps towards forming a flood defence committee were made in Whalley this week when traders, shop owners and volunteers met to discuss the recent events that left much of the village devastated.

Representatives of Ribble Valley Borough Council also attended the session along with members of the Chamber of Trade as the community looks at how it can protect itself if the floods happen again.

Hair salon owner Kellie Hughes, who was one of the main organisers of the clean-up operation, said: “Things are still very raw at the moment and there were many people at the meeting who had a lot they wanted to say.

“We do want to look at what safeguards can be put in place for the future such as having a flood shed to store sand bags and other equipment that may be needed and also a flood helpline but we have also to accept that no-one can work a miracle and this was an Act of God.’’

Central government has announced that local authorities will be provided with Community Grants as part of the Communities and Business Recovery Scheme which will be equivalent to over £500 per household to help with recovery costs, such as provision of temporary accommodation.

All affected households the Ribble Valley will automatically receive a minimum payment of £500.

And small and medium sized businesses severely affected by the floods can also apply for financial recovery assistance.

Eligibility details and application forms are available at the Lancashire Community Foundation’s dedicated website www.lancsfloodappeal.org.uk

Ribble Valley MP Mr Nigel Evans has asked the Prime Minister to make sure that all flood victims are properly compensated.

Local MEP and Ribble Valley resident Sajjad Karim has visited the area and pledged to ensure the maximum amount of government and EU funding is available.

Dr Karim said: “I have already written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and am also working closely with European, local government and Westminster colleagues to seek clarification on sources of potential EU funding which may include the EU Solidarity Fund.’’

Fund raising for flood victims has already begun in the village with a table top sale on Sunday, January 31st, at the village from 10am to 3pm.

All the proceeds will be donated to the Whalley and Billington Flood Appeal.

Hospital staff at Gisburne Park have rallied to help by donating cash, clothing, bedding and toys.

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