Coronavirus: 'Flooding prepared us to mobilise as a community'

Image source, Frazer Grainger
Image caption,
Nearly 100 homes in Snaith and East Cowick were flooded last month

Support networks created during the floods last month have prepared communities in East Yorkshire to cope with the pandemic, a vicar has said.

Dozens of homes and businesses in Snaith and East Cowick were inundated in February when the River Aire burst its banks after heavy rainfall.

Rev Eleanor Robertshaw said the flooding "prepared us to mobilise as a community".

"As a community we've once again come together," she said.

Kelsey Wilks's family home in Snaith was engulfed by 9ft (3m) of muddy floodwater with only the solar panelled-roof left visible.

She said having a local support group established weeks ago was probably "making it easier" for people in the area to rally round and help each other during the outbreak.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Kelsey Wilks's and her family are facing the prospect of their submerged home having to be completely demolished

The trainee dental nurse is living in a rented property with her husband Christopher, their two young children and her parents, Catherine and Kevin Lorryman, after their bungalow was flooded.

She praised the "very tight community" and the support provided, including neighbours checking on the over 70s and a local farmer handing out eggs.

"Because I had so much help when I needed it, it makes me open to pay the kindness back to someone else."

Image caption,
Rev Eleanor Robertshaw: "The flooding prepared us to mobilise as a community"

Despite seeing empty shelves in supermarkets, the local shops in Snaith and East Cowick were being "stocked well", she said.

"Because we know what it's like to have nothing, we're used to taking what we need.

"We've already had a big shock, we don't want any more."

St Laurence Priory Church was among the venues that helped in the relief operation following the floods, with teams of volunteers sorting food donations and distributing sandbags.

Image caption,
Rev Eleanor Robertshaw said the community had come together "once again" in the current crisis

Rev Robertshaw, the church's vicar, said the community had the "advantage" of the flood support groups.

"Everybody's already really fatigued from dealing with the flooding and now to move straight into this, is just exhausting," she said.

"It almost feels like 'what else can you throw at us?'.

"While it was an awful thing to happen, it is quite nice that community spirit is already there so that we can draw on that."

Image source, Emma Laughton
Image caption,
Emma Laughton said the community support group provided her family and relatives with bedding after her home was flooded

The Laughton family moved in to a caravan just before the lockdown after their home in East Cowick was flooded.

Emma Laughton, 41, said support was still available during the current crisis despite the church having to shut in accordance with government guidelines.

"It's a nightmare.

"But I know if I need help I can get it from the support group. And it's brilliant," she said.

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