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New charity launched in response to floods

Hope Community will work on long-term issues raised by the floods Photo: ITV News Border

A new charity has been launched in South Cumbria in response to the floods in December 2015.

Hope Community will work on long-term issues identified during the floods of December 2015.

Volunteers from Sandylands Methodist Church helping in December 2015 Credit: ITV News Border

More properties were flooded by Storms Desmond and Eva in Kendal than anywhere else in Cumbria.

Volunteers from Sandylands Methodist Church in Kendal have spent the last 14 months working with some of the communities hardest hit.

In going into people's homes to help them after the floods, the volunteers discovered much bigger problems that weren't being fully addressed, such as loneliness and child poverty.

So now one of those workers, Jonny Gios, has set up the charity Hope Community to help long-term.

"Some families receive food parcels but don't necessarily know how to cook so if you get a box fll of food that's fantastic and that's well needed but then those families not actually using that food but just keeping it in the cupboards and then going out and getting a takeaway and being in more debt for me that is a concern."

– Jonny Gios, Hope Community
Jonny Gios used to be minister at Sandylands Methodist Church Credit: Hope Community

He says they found a lot of people who felt isolated, not just older residents but also 18 to 30 year olds, typically men.

The number of people asking for help with their mental health has also doubled since the floods.

The charity will work with churches to help them work in their communities and will collaborate with other charities to connect families with multiple concerns to people who can help.

One of those charities is the Adullam Programme, which runs a recovery programme for people struggling with addiction or with emotional, financial or relationship problems.

"The lie of Facebook is that everybody's life is perfect and yours isn't and you feel quite isolated in that and I was struggling with a family member who had alcohol issues and I didn't know how to cope. I felt it was my fault and I just wasn't sure what to do. It had all become too unmanageable and I felt quite powerless. I was telling my GP - the solution there was medication, which I didn't want. We tried to access support for my family member and we were told it would be 10 months at least before they would be seen and I was concerned at that point that they actually could have been dead before we got seen and that was a huge concern for me. There just wasn't the support out there and then I found this programme Celebrate Recovery."

– Kath Leigh, Celebrate Recovery
Kath Leigh runs a recovery programme, which helped her Credit: ITV News Border

The emotional and financial effects of the floods may last for many more years.

Hope Community aims to help people recover.

Kendal was badly affected by the storms of December 2015 Credit: ITV News Border