Somerset flood relief efforts attract more than 500 volunteers

Somerset County Council has taken over administration of a spreadsheet of volunteer offers started by the Flooding on the Levels Action Group

Volunteers help out in Somerset
Volunteers help out in Somerset

More than 500 people have volunteered to help with the flood relief efforts in Somerset, according to the county council.

Somerset County Council has taken over the administration of a spreadsheet that collates offers of assistance, including 30,000 bottles of water, 200 kettles and hundreds of tons of clay, in addition to physical help.

The spreadsheet, which has attracted almost 1,300 offers since the first entry appeared on 24 January, was started by the Flooding on the Levels Action Group, which was set up in response to the floods of 2012/13 with the aim of getting the Rivers Tone and Parrett dredged.

A council spokeswoman said: "We’ve been working with Flag because it knows all the locals, it knows the community and, when the flooding first hit, it was helping out informally."

Both the council and Flag, which has 12,000 members on the social networking site Facebook, are providing staff for a relief centre in the old school hall at Burrowbridge, which offers internet access and washing facilities and has hosted visits by Citizens Advice staff.

Of the offers on the spreadsheet, 166 fall under the category of ‘labour’ – examples include British Gas offering seven electrical and seven gas engineers, a Department for Work and Pensions employee who organises the department’s staff volunteer days, carpenters, canoeists and general manual labour, including one person who says they can "drive tractors, use chainsaws or anything else".

Counsellors, medical practitioners and a group of complementary therapists have also pledged support, with the last offering treatments such as massage and shiatsu.

Among the charities offering support are Samaritan’s Purse, Al-Imdaad and International Emergency Action.

One woman has offered her late husband’s clothing, including unworn underwear. Other offers include 30,000 bottles of water, a horse box and more than 100 pairs of wellington boots. A rock band has offered to do a free concert of music from the 1960s and 1970s to raise money.

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