So if you are in England and watch the news you will probably have noticed that things got a little wet. Over much of the North, Scotland – homes & businesses destroyed, bridges washed away, roads collapsing.
The Calder Valley has been hit hard. Again. Somewhere I wrote (I think on my old blog) about the events of 2012 – when we were hit twice in the space of a month, once from rising river levels, and then from a freak flash storm onto the already saturated moors turning roads into waterfalls and overwhelming the rivers and drains again. People went through hell, but they also banded together and worked hard and most got back on their feet. There were a few casualties among the businesses of the valley which never opened up again, or which didn’t last long – the difficulty of getting insurance or cost of claiming – along with a less than stellar economic climate, makes it really hard. But even in the past six months new enterprises have sprung up from the ashes of old (Moyles hotel /bar/restaurant had stood empty until the new Moyles B&B was opened in one third of it)
But then it happened again. Boxing Day – I was in Leeds myself and watched the horrible events online as the waters rose and my firends were once again innundated. I live in Hebden Bridge, so most of what I see is related to there – but the damage is widespread, Mytholmroyd, Eastwood, Todmorden, Elland, Brighouse, Copley – more. The waters rose higher this time, over 6ft in some places (above floor level, which in itself is much higher than the usual river level). People had in many cases tried to put their belongings / stock high up to save them, high enough that they would have escaped in 2012, but not this time.
As the waters dropped and people surveyed the devastation – mud and sludge and silt covering everything, the valley began to do what it does best.
If you’ve never been here, Calderdale is beautiful. Absolutely stunning.
Stoodley Pike looks down over the bost alluring mix of gentle rolling hills and rugged craggs, man made echoes of industry somehow complementing the wild moors and steep wooded sides. It is beautiful. And a wonderful place to live. I was almost going to say despite the floods. But I also want to say because of the floods. Because the floods show you what is most beautiful, which is not always easy to see. And that is the people. The wonderful people – many of whom do great things in drier times too, as we are a creative, generous place – but so many more who when the need arises, ask no questions except – How can I help? Thousands of people who flock to volunteer to muck out, to clean, to feed, to clothe, who donate cleaning equipment, clothes, toys, furniture, electrical goods, their time, money, services. Everyone thinking desperately “what can I do?”. People trying to turn their skills so that they can support the effort to put the valley right again.
It is going to be hard. So many people have no insurance, or cannot claim – ridiculous excesses / expense imposed on people who have nothing by companies which make obscene profit every year. Businesses which would often find these coming, post christmas months difficult at the best of times. People who were on zero hours contracts, whose workplaces are out of action for who knows how long. And still the rains fall.
But – with the help of the people of the valley – and the even more amazing people who are travelling from all over the country to help, to bring free food, to restore our faith in humanity and show the meaning of compassion and love (more on which another day) – there will be recovery.
A number of appeals have been put together to raise money – a main one which will help individual residents and be matched by the government – and then lots of crowdfunders for the many businesses which are affected. Celebrities and authors have donated items for auction to support some particular causes, and there are some great ideas like a raffle to win a wedding package with all the different things you might need.
If you are able, please do contribute – if you want to offer more practical support or buy something to support the clean up / refurbishment effort then please check the posts on Calder Valley Flood Support facebook pages to make sure you get what is currently needed, as the situation changes day by day.
Calder Valley Flood Support on Facebook:
Amazon wishlist of items needed – buy from here and it will be delivered direct to the hubs
Calderdale Flood Relief Appeal:
Calderdale’s Big Fat Wedding Raffle: (can you donate a prize? Or watch this space for details of how to buy tickets)
Support for individual businesses / organisations / schools etc.
Ebay auctions to support Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club:
Ebay auctions to support the Book Case, Hebden Bridge
Contributions of Vinyl wanted for record fair to support Muse Music / Love Cafe: Donations to The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributions of Art to be auctioned for the flood appeal – or a venue for this auction, contact Caroline Reed on Facebook
Crowdfunding to save 2Tone Comics:
Crowdfunding to save Ribbon Circus Habberdashery:
Crowdfunding for Dark Angel Clothing:
Crowdfunding to replace toys for Riverside Fun Club:
Crowdfunding to save Hiu Man Chinese Takeaway and help them contribute to providing food for volunteers:
Crowdfunding to rebuild Monster Computers:
Crowdfunding for Mytholmroyd Community Centre:
Crowdfunding for Molly and Ginger (clothes shop)
Finally – it obviously wasn’t just my home town affected, here are some other appeals for other affected areas – I know there’s only so much money to go around but as they say – every little helps.
(Please let me know if you know of any more and I will add them / share widely)