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Last minute rush for flood grants

Weekly flood drop-in sessions have now ended
Weekly flood drop-in sessions have now ended

A last minute rush for £5,000 flood grants pushed up the total number of applications in South Lakeland to 1,247 by last week’s deadline.

It means almost 66% of those eligible for the grant scheme came forward to apply for the money before the 31 March cut off.

Fiona Inston, South Lakeland District Council’s Public Protection Manager, said: “We couldn’t have done any more to inform, advise and support local residents and businesses to apply for the flood resilience grants. Some did leave it late to apply but the fact is they responded in time and will now be able to carry out important work to help minimise the impact of future flooding.

“Research suggests people only act after they’ve been flooded a second or a third time but here, where most people hadn’t previously flooded, it has been more proactive.”

SLDC has paid particular attention to focusing on the best and most suitable flood protection to offer households and business owners.

The council has already approved more than £2.4m worth of flood protection work and applicants now have until the end of September 2017 to have it completed and invoices submitted.

The grants fund additional measures which improve resistance to flooding, over and above any repairs that would normally be covered by insurance. Most applicants use the money to help install flood gates, lay concrete flooring to replace suspended wooden flooring, move electrical sockets and raise kitchen appliances such as ovens.

In South Lakeland a total of 2,358 properties were flooded in December 2015. Of those it was estimated around 1,900 were eligible for the grant scheme announced by the government.

For the past 16 months SLDC’s Flood Grant team has been busy promoting what help is available, advising households and businesses and coordinating the applications.

Fiona Inston said: “We organised a Flood Fair at K Village in Kendal which was attended by around 200 people and showing a range of flood protection products. We’ve had weekly drop-in sessions at the town hall where almost 500 residents have received help and advice. In addition to this we’ve worked closely with local charities and community organisations to knock on doors in the areas most susceptible to future flooding. We have also worked with the local media to raise awareness, used social media and our own council publications to highlight the help available to those affected by the flooding.

“Our officers have been involved at every stage from the initial application and survey through to quote, installation and inspection of the completed work. It’s been a real challenge for them but they have received lots of really positive feedback about how helpful they’ve been.”

Applicants who have received letters from the council requesting more information and evidence to support their applications only have until the end of April 2017 to do so.

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