Royal visit sees £100k for flood-hit Somerset

Emergency funding worth £100,000 will be donated to flood-hit communities in Somerset following a visit by Prince Charles.

The Prince of Wales met representatives from organisations supporting local farmers and residents at Stoke St Gregory village hall on Tuesday (4 January).

During the visit, he heard about the plight of rural communities struggling with severe flooding following the wettest January since records began .

In response, the Prince’s Countryside Fund has announced it will donate £50,000 from its emergency fund to help farmers and rural communities in Somerset.

The Duke of Westminster has confirmed he will personally match the funding and donate an additional £50,000 – taking the total available to £100,000.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has allocated £25,000 of the emergency funding to the Farming Help partnership – a group of three agricultural charities.

Those three charities are the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI), the Farm Community Network (FCN) and the Addington Fund.

A further £25,000 has been given to Somerset Community Foundation.

Victoria Elms, from the Prince’s Countryside Fund, said: “Rural communities in the South West are facing a second consecutive year of flooding.”

She added: “We hope this financial aid will go some way to supporting the farmers, businesses and families who are facing severe hardships as a result of the flooding.

“Rural businesses are key to thriving communities and we want to help get hard-hit villages back on their feet and open for business.”

The Somerset Community Foundation will use the funding to provide emergency relief grants to small businesses and individuals affected by the flooding.

It is hoped the funding will help the foundation meet the immediate financial burdens of emergency repairs, as well as helping to compensate for loss of income.

Local businesses and communities are counting the cost of damaged shop stock and increased petrol bills simply to get children to school on extended daily commutes.

RABI chief executive Paul Burrows said the Farming Help charities would distribute the money according to need, mindful that the total costs of the weather had yet to be counted.

“We’re anticipating more requests from the farming community in the coming months as the full effect of the flooding has not been realised.

“Flooding causes huge devastation on property, land and the morale of communities, and once flood waters recede and the media attention wanes, people still need help to recover.”

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