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Kendal bounces back from floods with food festival spectacle

Kendal Food Festival 2016 got underway today, with stalls and bunting laid out under a slightly grey Lake District sky.

The festival plays host to hundreds of artisan food producers, chefs, and food lovers who come to celebrate the best food the North has to offer.

Credit: ITV Border

Attendees can see demonstrations from on coffee roasting, breadmaking and urban foraging, amongst other things.

Credit: ITV Border

Organisers have said of the festival that it celebrates "the spectacular strength, resilience and community spirit that our Northern Counties have shown over the last few months" as parts of the Lake District, including Kendal, recover from December's devastating floods.

Kendal Festival of Food begins

Kendal's Festival of Food gets underway today as the town aims to bounce back from the effect of flooding in December last year.

Festival organisers say they want to top last year when 23,000 people visited generating £1.6m for the local economy.

This year there will be 80 stalls showcasing the best of Cumbrian food and produce.

Guest chefs Nick Nairns, who was the youngest Scottish chef to win a a Michelin star, and celebrity Northern Irish chef Paul Rankin will be demonstrating their skills and passing on cooking tips and recipes..

Tomorrow marks the 100th day since the floods that devastated parts of Cumbria including Kendal.

The Kendal Festival of Food is on today and tomorrow.

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Flood forum events in Kendal and Ambleside

Storm Desmond flooding in Kendal Credit: ITV Border

People affected by flooding in Kendal and Ambleside are being invited to attend Flood Forum events next week to share their experiences.

The events are organised by Cumbria County Council, working alongside the Environment Agency, and are the first stage in the formal process of establishing how and why properties and businesses flooded and what could potentially be done to prevent flooding, or mitigate its impact, in future.

Attendees will be asked exactly what happened in terms of where the water came from, how it entered the property, its depth and other details. Alongside data already held, this property level information will help to build a highly detailed picture of what happened and why.

The information is collated and used to develop a report and recommendations for future action that could minimise the risk or impact of future flooding. Local communities are fully consulted on the contents of these reports, and the recommendations, prior to final publication. Once agreed the reports can be used by communities and agencies as the basis for applications for funding to allow schemes to be implemented. Working with the Environment Agency we aim to share draft reports with local communities for comment by early summer.

The details for the events are:

• Kendal, Town Hall, 14 March, 2.30pm - 8.00pm

• Ambleside, Kelsick Hall, 16 March, 2.00pm – 6.00pm

As well as providing information, attendees will also be able to find out more from a range of organisations, who will be providing advice and guidance on funding, insurance, flood prevention equipment and flood support registration.

“The key to improving our flood resilience in the future is to learn from the events of this winter and tap into local knowledge. We’ve visited around 100 communities already and this next round of flood forums will give local people an opportunity to shape the future of flood risk management in Cumbria.”

– Kath Evans, Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager

Flood recovery fund increases target to £7million

Flooding in Carlisle after Storm Desmond Credit: ITV Border

The group raising money for Cumbria's flood victims has increased its fundraising target to £7million.

Cumbria Community Foundation's Flood Recovery Appeal has already raised £5.7million, but says the cost of December's floods to the county is rising.

The appeal has so far supported more than 2,000 households – 35% of all those affected - with 30-35 grants being awarded per day. An average of £188,000 is being awarded per week with most people receiving money within 48 hours of their applications being considered.

The charity is expecting to see more households applying as families return to their homes - many are still in temporary accommodation.

“The Flood Recovery Appeal has so far responded to the immediate crisis phase of the flooding. We know, however, that recovery takes a long time. Our experience of managing flood funds in 2005 and 2009 tells us that we will need to continue to support some families for 12-18 months after the floods.

“We need to be able to help re-build valuable community facilities and to support the work that charities have done to support people affected by the floods.

“If the appeal continues to spend at the current rate it would be spent up by July 2016. Our trustees are monitoring expenditure to ensure those in greatest need are prioritised.

“We encourage anyone facing financial hardship as a result of the flooding to seek help through the Appeal if they have not done so already.”

– Andy Beeforth, Cumbria Community Foundation chief executive

Rod Steward to donate £10,000 to Cumbria's flood recovery

Rod Stewart has promised ten thousand pounds towards Cumbria's flood relief efforts.

The singer, who will play at Carlisle United's Brunton Park ground in June, contacted the club to make the offer.

Stewart is set to play a concert at Carlisle's Brunton Park in June Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Brunton Park was left underwater after Storm Desmond in December. The playing surface has been replaced at a cost of around £150,000.

Brunton Park in December

It is hoped more details of how the donation will be spent will be released next week.

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Ouse Bridge at Bassenthwaite reopens after December floods

Ouse Bridge at the end of Bassenthwaite Lake has been reopened. The bridge was closed following last month's floods. Cumbria County Council announced the news on Twitter.

Environment Agency boss quits after Barbados Holiday row

Sir Philip Dilley has quit as Environment Agency chairman Credit: Press Association

Environment Agency chairman Sir Philip Dilley has quit after coming under fire for not returning from a family holiday in Barbados during the recent floods.

He said the decision to resign was because "expectations of the role have expanded to require the chairman to be available at short notice throughout the year", something he felt was "inappropriate".

He insisted he was "well qualified" to carry out the role but media scrutiny on him was "diverting attention" from efforts to help those affected by flooding.

In his resignation statement he said: "I want to be clear that I have not made any untrue or misleading statements, apart from approving the statement about my location over Christmas that in hindsight could have been clearer."

Responding to the resignation, Liberal Democrats Leader and Cumbrian MP Tim Farron said Mr Dilley should have joined his staff and been working over the Christmas break.

“Many staff gave up their Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Their boss should have joined them. It seemed to many that this organisation was bereft of its formal leadership when it was most needed.

“The public deserved better.”

– Tim Farron MP

Cumbrian mother and daughter's possessions destroyed in floods replaced by generous donors

A Cumbrian mother and daughter have spent the last few weeks living apart after their ground floor flat in Cockermouth was ruined by floodwater.

Rachael Davis is a full time carer for 16-year-old Saskia, who has complex medical needs. However a new home has now been found for the two of them, and they are receiving help from generous business owners to furnish it. Watch Kate Walby's report here:

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