Victims of the devastating flooding across South Yorkshire will soon receive a boost to the tune of £1m as the Government committed to matching donations handed to a charity set up in the aftermath of the devastation.
Communities across the region suffered traumatic damage in November as floods waters rose, and soon after the South Yorkshire Community Foundation launched the South Yorkshire Flood Disaster Relief Appeal Fund which has already raised £500,000 for those affected.
But today Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government will match funds raised up to the value of £1m.
Mr Jenrick said: "The flooding in South Yorkshire this winter has been devastating for families. However, when I visited Bentley in Doncaster I was humbled by the incredible strength of community spirit.
“The Yorkshire Post has been a champion for those affected by the flooding, and has done so much to showcase the remarkable work of the community.
“And that’s why today I’m delighted to say that this Government will match, pound for pound, the money raised by the South Yorkshire Disaster Appeal Fund to help people facing hardship get back on their feet.
“That means a boost of up to £1m to support families and local people who have been displaced from their homes or had their properties damaged by the flood waters. You can be certain that this Government remains firmly by your side as you work to rebuild your lives.”
He added: "Along with the hard work of the emergency services, the response from charities and volunteers has been outstanding.
"From helping with the immediate emergency response to providing temporary accommodation and getting people the legal and financial advice they need, this support has been crucial to these hard-hit communities.
"But more support is still needed, which is why we're matching money raised by the South Yorkshire Flood Disaster Relief Appeal Fund pound for pound, to further help vulnerable people facing hardship to recover and get back on their feet."
The announcement was welcomed by Ruth Willis, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation, who said: “This is fantastic news for the communities affected by the flooding across South Yorkshire. The extra funding will enable the South Yorkshire Flood Disaster Relief Appeal to provide even more significant support for the thousands of people impacted and still struggling to get on with their lives.
“As the organisers of the Appeal, South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation will be working with the Government to organise the match funding and to ensure it is used in the most effective way possible.”
And Alexander Stafford, the new MP for Rother Valley, who said: “This should help people get back on their feet, rebuild, and restart their lives in 2020.
“This extra support will help people affected by flooding in Whiston, other parts of Rother Valley, and across South Yorkshire more widely. It will also inspire many others to step up to protect their local communities.
“Only by working together can we help move our communities forward.”
Mr Jenrick also confirmed the Government will investigate whether those affected had sufficient insurance cover, adding that further information about the review will be published in the new year.
The Government has also pledged a further £300,000 of match-funding for other eligible areas affected by recent flooding, and where a flooding framework has been activated.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers added: “We have listened to communities that have been affected by flooding and understand just how important it is to ensure that everyone is able to access sufficient insurance cover.
“That’s why we will be reviewing insurance cover following the recent flooding to understand any lessons to be learned for the future.”