In the words of our Founder & CEO Kerryanne Wilde:
At the start of the Floods on the 5th December I was at home in my own village in Shap and the water was getting deeper on Main Street and was flooding from Simpsons Garage and just reaching Andersons Newsagent and Post Office, which is half way down the village. There was no help or support coming from the council. The villagers were all pulling together, trying their best to protect their properties and businesses from the impending water and storm which was battering our County.
While watching the news on practically every channel, I could see the devastation unfolding across the County as the weather was getting worse and the floods were affecting more and more areas before my eyes. I wanted to do something to help my own fellow villagers but, also those around the County. Then what I call a “lightbulb moment” went off in my head. I wrote a post on Facebook and posted it around all the pages and sites which I felt would get to as many people as possible. I also posted a thread on twitter and tagged as many followers as possible. I made several calls to facilities and organisations, which I thought could be useful in Penrith to store such goods. The reason behind this was, Carlisle only had one main road into and out of it due to the damage of the floods, Penrith is right on the M6 corridor and had easy access to all the districts which had been affected by the floods. On the 6th December Eden Flood Volunteers was born. We were called Eden Flood Volunteers as this is where we were born. That aside, we support the whole of Cumbria and also the surrounding Counties (Lancashire, Yorkshire and Dumfries & Galloway).
On Monday 7th December 2015, 9:00am at the Evergreen Hall in Penrith, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Cumbrian People. They turned up by the car loads full with bags and bags of goods. Bells of Lazonby were the first business to turn up with fresh bread and rolls to go out to those affected and the goods came thick and fast. Within 30 minutes it was apparent that the Evergreen Hall was not going to be big enough so I contacted Adrian Lochhead from Eden Arts at the Old Fire Station in Penrith and asked if the offer which he’d given me on the Sunday was still on the table? Could I pop down straight away to see him? He said yes and this became our 1st main HQ to co-ordinate the relief and support around the County. We also needed more space, as what we had wasn’t big enough, The Cooperative in Penrith gave us unlimited use of the empty space downstairs in their building to continue to coordinate our relief effort as did Newton Rigg College.
Support has and still continues to come from all over the UK and Europe, from all faiths, backgrounds and walks of life. It is amazing and testament to all those individuals that came together for one purpose and that is to support the Flood Affected/Families of Cumbria. Which now also includes all those facing Crisis, Emergency or Disaster.
Eden Flood Volunteers became CERT (UK) Ltd – Community Emergency Response Team (UK) Ltd, in 2016 and supports the whole of Cumbria.
Without our volunteers we simply could not have achieved all that we have. They give their time selflessly to make a difference no matter how small, in the lives of those affected by the floods, crisis, emergency or disaster.
We expanded our remit as it became apparent that so many people needed our help and support not just from floods but from all those faced with Crisis, Emergency or Disaster. We offer services such as sign posting, counselling, links to other organisations, food, toiletries and cleaning materials and furniture (2nd hand & new) dependant on availability.
We are fiercely proud of our tiny charity fighting hard to make a difference against all adversity, but with your help we can continue that vital role.
Sadly on 4th September 2017 with heavy and broken hearts we had to close our doors due to Cumbria County Council terminating the lease on our warehouse effectively rendering the Charity homeless until a new viable property can be sourced, as we know only too well it is not a case of ‘If Cumbria Floods, But When!!’
Please check out our YouTube Channel to give you a little insight as to just what a tiny charity can achieve.