Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Sunday, 22 November 2009

Fund for flooding victims set up

Cockermouth floods
Many people were rescued from their homes as flood waters rose

More than £140,000 has been pledged to a fund set up to help victims of the floods in Cumbria.

The Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund will provide financial help for those worst affected when record levels of rain fell in 24 hours before the weekend.

Cumbria County Council has pledged £50,000 to the fund and the public have begun to donate money via the website.

Collections are taking place in Whitehaven and Workington and a call centre is taking telephone donations.

Nuclear Management Partners, who own Sellafield Ltd, kick-started the fund by donating £50,000 and Allerdale Borough Council pledged £25,000.

Resilience praised

So far the public has donated £500 with a further £15,000 being given by the trustees of the Cumbria Community Foundation which set up the fund.

The Foundation said the first phase of grant making would concentrate on the the elderly, people with disabilities and families with children aged under five.

The Foundation helped victims of the Carlisle floods in 2005 handing out clothing, bedding and toys.

Acting Director, Deb Muscat, said, "The Community Foundation was able to make its first grants four days after the Carlisle floods. We expect to be able to the same again."

Meanwhile the Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, has praised local people's resilience.

Flooding in Keswick
Keswick was badly hit by the floods

He said: "One of the most encouraging things about all of this is the way in which people have worked together to help the unfortunate people who have been most affected.

"The grit, the resilience and astonishing sense of humour that has been shown by all the people in the worst affected areas."

Another two inches of rain was expected to fall in Cumbria on Sunday. The area was devastated by floods after heavy rain on Thursday.

Bridges and roads across the county remain closed.

Work to examine the safety of Cumbria's 1,800 bridges is under way after heavy rain and floods weakened some structures.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered the review during a visit on Saturday, when he pledged £1m for flooded communities

Structural engineers in Cumbria have confirmed the Workington or Calva Bridge, in Workington, is almost certain to collapse.

Jim Smith from Cumbrian Highways, said: "We have had issues with the the Workington Bridge that is currently closed. It looks like we might be about to lose that."

He said the police were making the site safe.

The bridge was one of two main routes into Workington - the other, the Papcastle route, is also closed.

To help with the clean-up operation 20,000 flood defence and clean-up bags are being distributed from Cockermouth and Keswick.

The free bags are being distributed to the public from Mitchell's Lakeland Livestock Centre in Cockermouth and from the car park at the rear of Keswick police station.



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