An action group that will help farming businesses damaged by the Cumbrian floods is being launched by rural charities and organisations.
The Cumbria Farm Flood Action Group will collect data from farm businesses affected to assess the scale and nature of the flooding in agriculture and also to make help available to farmers.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Farming Community Network, The Farmer Network, Rabi, Cumbria Commoners, NFU, Foundation for Common Land, Forage Aid, Cumbria Agricultural Chaplaincy, Addington Fund, Westmorland Agricultural Society and Mitchells Auction.
Organisers said they wanted to use the lessons learned from the Somerset floods and previous Cumbrian floods.
How to get help from the flood action group
The Farmer Network is co-ordinating the flood action group. Farmers in Cumbria are encouraged to call the Network on 01768 868 615, but all farmers will be contacted by the team of staff and volunteers in the coming weeks. The same survey is also available online, hosted by the NFU.
Flood devastation ‘beyond that seen before’
Adam Day, managing director, The Farmer Network, said: “Cumbria has suffered floods before but this year the scale of devastation on farm is beyond that seen before both due to the level of damage and its spread across the whole county.
“We are here to help the individuals and businesses affected and want to reach out to everyone as quickly as possible.
“Data collection may be perceived as a cold and impersonal activity in situations of tragedy but it is essential to inform about the work to rebuild our farming businesses and our rural communities.”
Claire Saunders, director or The Prince’s Countryside Fund, said: “This is one practical way that we can help businesses get back on their feet following the terrible flooding.
“It is good news that George Eustice MP confirmed today that 600 flood-affected farmers will see their BPS payments prioritised where they have not already been paid.
“But the recovery will be lengthy for many and getting the right practical, emotional and financial advice must be a priority.”
How to help flood-hit farmers
The Prince’s Countryside Fund today announced £7,469 of funding for the flood action group.
It has also launched an appeal to help the farmers, rural businesses and communities affected following the release of £40,000 of funding to the Farming Help charities and Cumbria Community Foundation last week.
The public is encouraged to donate online at the Virgin Money Giving website, the Post Office or to donate £3 by texting PCF to 70300.