A retired social worker who suffers from asthma and could not stay in her terrace house after it had been flooded with contaminated water is counting herself lucky after being temporarily rehoused.
Miss Anita Kennedy, who got the keys to her new temporary home on Tuesday, is so relieved to have a roof over her head once again that she has described those who helped to rehouse her as “guardian angels”.
A new home for Anita (63) was provided by Ribble Valley Homes after her case was referred to the social housing association by Ribble Valley Borough Council’s housing department whose staff worked around the clock during the flooding to provide people with emergency accommodation.
Anita, who has lived in Queen Street, Whalley, for the past 23 years, said she is indebted to both.
“I had been to every estate agents within a 10-mile radius, but properties to rent were just going so fast.
“I eventually found one at Great Harwood and I was just about to sign for it when Ribble Valley Homes phoned. I almost hit the ceiling with delight and was so happy that I could stay in the village.”
I feel like things are on the up thanks to Ribble Valley Homes and Ribble Valley Borough CouncilAnita Kennedy
Up until now, Anita has been relying on the goodwill of friends and family.
They, along with Ribble Valley Homes, are now helping her move into a property in Riddings Lane, Whalley, on Tuesday where she will remain until her own house is habitable – a task that could take up to six months.
“I feel great now that things are moving on and I’ve got a front door that I can call my own.
“It just feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel like things are on the up thanks to Ribble Valley Homes and Ribble Valley Borough Council,” said Anita, who added that she had been contacted every day since the flooding by someone from the borough council.
She went on to praise the local community for its “phenomenal response” with volunteers meeting in Whalley Village Hall for the first two weeks after the floods to help victims.
“Anything you did not have – Whalley Village Hall had it or someone there pointed you in the direction of someone who could help whether that was our MP Nigel Evans, the housing department or someone who to talk to about your gas and electricity.
“Volunteers were there to provide phone numbers or give advice.”
Reflecting on the floods, Anita added: “Current needs are being taken care of, but the bigger picture is going to take a long time to sort out.”