We’re helping the flooded communities of Fishlake keep their heads above water

Two churches in South Yorkshire, working tirelessly to maintain flood relief support for their communities, have been given funding support by Allchurches Trust to continue offering this vital help.

The floods in October saw around 2000 people taken to safety and at least 1200 properties evacuated, with the village of Fishlake being amongst the worst hit.

St Cuthbert’s Church in Fishlake is working hard to maintain its support for people affected by the floods, but the effort to do so is increasing the church’s overheads dramatically, which the church simply can’t afford. An exceptional grant of £2,500 from Allchurches Trust will help cover the shortfall to allow the church to continue offering the assistance so greatly needed.

Peter Pridham, Churchwarden at Fishlake St Cuthbert, said: “We are still very much in the thick of a perfect storm of trouble for flooded householders, with some houses now being considered for demolition and many people having also lost their cars. In Fishlake, it appears around 140 homes out of around 200 were flooded and almost half the village evacuated.

“It is a very difficult time indeed for many and prayers are needed for both old and young alike. The church remains open every day from 10am to 5pm providing flood-hit residents with food and a wide range of household supplies, including new and used clothing and cleaning materials.

“In the days following the initial flooding, the church acted as a base for many of the emergency responders and the building is still being used continuously as an informal meeting place for displaced households, who enjoy refreshments and both pastoral and practical support with us. While some of the evacuees have been able to go back to their properties to start cleaning, many will have a very long wait before their properties can be made fit for habitation again.”

St Peter's Church in Bentley – another area affected by the flooding - has also been awarded a £600 grant from Allchurches Trust, having been involved in the community response from the outset. Knowing that they needed to offer practical help as well as their prayers, they took 50 bacon sandwiches and some flasks of coffee to Town End on Saturday morning. Since then, the church’s involvement has continued to grow, and a volunteer community worker was appointed in October, working six days a week to co-ordinate support to those people affected (around 300 homes).

Revd Dave Berry, the Vicar at St Peter’s, said ‘We are so grateful for the support of the Allchurches Trust in making this grant. We are using it to publish a weekly community newsletter for those affected, which is distributed to all the houses in the area. The residents really appreciate the information and news, and it’s particularly useful for those people not on Facebook who tend to be more vulnerable.

“In response to requests from the community, St Peter’s also opened a local flood relief fund for those who wanted to be sure their donations would be spent in the Bentley area. So far, more than £28,000 has been raised and is helping people get back into their homes. Many people in the area are uninsured, so this help is vital.”

Peter Mojsa, who is an Allchurches Trust’s Grants Officer for the region, said: “We know that churches throughout the region have played a vital role in the emergency response to the South Yorkshire flooding, providing much need practical and emotional support. We hope that our funding will support both Fishlake St Cuthbert and St Peter’s Bentley to continue their efforts in supporting their communities in this time of great need.”

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