Ten months after a devastating tidal surge swept through coastal communities along the east coast, the Eastern Daily Press’ Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal has been wound up, after helping more than 300 people rebuild their lives and businesses.
When the appeal, launched by Archant Norfolk’s EDP and the Norfolk Community Foundation, originally started, organisers hoped to raise £50,000.
But an astonishing outpouring of generosity saw the final figure climb to £330,000, winning praise from prime minister David Cameron.
Graham Tuttle, chief executive of the foundation, said: “Our expectations were very modest because we had never tried it before. It was a very specific appeal for a specific part of the community. We went in with fairly modest aspirations.
“It quickly became clear that it was resonating with people who could obviously associate themselves with it – they had had days there, or holidays there. Fifty thousand pounds suddenly became £75,000, then the ambition was to raise £100,000, and all of a sudden it was £200,000.”
The appeal has awarded 312 grants worth a total of £287,186, including 168 grants in north Norfolk and 87 in Waveney, plus an additional £30,000 that went to Hemsby.
The remaining funds are either already committed, or being held in reserve for future emergencies in the region.
Mr Tuttle said the appeal’s simplicity meant many flood victims received grants within three days of their initial application.
He added: “The one thing that the appeal showed was that you don’t need a lot of bureaucracy to make very meaningful grants to people in need.”
EDP editor, Nigel Pickover, said: “With a great deal of pride, we have reached the end of this appeal after 10 months. We had an amazing reaction, driven by the people of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and although the scale of the response initially took us by surprise, it was entirely appropriate as the scale of the damage started to become clear.
“Since then, we have seen other floods on top of the surge, and we have been able to help everybody we have known about. I can’t thank everyone who supported the appeal highly enough.
“We are keeping a little of the money raised back to set up a standing fund to swing into action, if and when our region suffers like this again in the future.” Here are just two people who would like to say thank you:
Pictured above is damage in Walcott in North Norfolk after the flood surges.
© Archant Ltd 2013