Paul Mogford
Update from Kings Church Cockermouth

Paul Mogford of Kings Church Cockermouth updates us about what has been happening in Cockermouth since the floods in December.

In the initial phase, the church was heavily involved in the immediate flood emergency centres - with Roger Bye and others being in the thick of the first initial response. Within the first week, there were teams of people helping to clear out homes, bring in things people needed (eg: pick up loads of wood for those with wood fires to help dry out homes). I headed up the flood relief emergency centre at the local Anglican church on behalf of the local Churches Together, and many of our church volunteered to staff the centre, go and clear out homes, move rubbish and generally make themselves useful. Cheryl Bye also organised visiting teams to go to homes to give out hot drinks and sandwiches. As you can imagine, week 1 and 2 were very busy!

We’ve worked closely with the local and county council, as well as other local organisations such as The Rotary, The Women’s Institute and the Churches Together.

The Bridge Cafe
Just before Christmas, we opened up the Bridge Cafe - a 32’ kitchen cabin, with the money that ChristCentral and others sent us, we’ve employed the equivalent of a member of staff - we have a cafe manager who works 24 hours, and a support worker who works 12 hours. We have some 30-40 volunteers working on the cafe now. It’s open from 10-4 each day except Sunday.

Anyone who comes in can have free hot food and drinks, the council have a desk there for advice, and it’s the information point for local organisations offering help. It costs us around £60 per day to run (that’s for food, petrol and other things we need). We also have a 40’ container full of food and cleaning materials that local home owners can get for free to help them set back up.

On average, we get around 42 people per day visiting the cafe and they stay for about an hour or so.

Helping Flood Victims
We still have visiting teams going out at present (about once per week) to visit every house on the north side that was flooded (there are only 3-4 houses that were NOT flooded on the North side of the river!).

We are now gathering information about what people need when they move back in. Many people are not insured. This is mainly because, after the 2009 floods, their premium went up by £100 - £200 per month, and their excess to £15,000 - £20,000 so for many, it’s unaffordable. We are supporting those without insurance by collecting information about white goods needed, and other specific furniture needs, which we will then find recycled replacements and put them into homes.

We could not have done any of this without the help of our ChristCentral family - thank you so much!

Note from editor: If you would like to support our fund for churches in the Cumbrian region please contact: finance@christcentralchurches.org

Photo Credit: 
CC BY-SA 2.0
David Burton – Herdwick Croft

Here are some flood victims talking to CBN Europe about their experiences: