A charity has pledged £40,000 to help support rural communities and businesses affected by the recent flooding.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund revealed the news on Monday (7 December).

It will be working alongside The Prince’s Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG) to support the affected communities and help their long-term recovery.

Storm Desmond has caused widespread damage and disruption to the north of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales since it first hit on 4 December.

H&H has already reported on one horse that died because of the floods, despite rescue attempts, horses being led to safety with the help of a tractor and a donkey in Ireland that had a lucky escape.

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“The full impact of the floods has yet to be realised, but many farms have lost livestock drowned in the floodwaters, or been affected by landslips, while feed and equipment has been lost,” said Claire Saunders from the charity.

“This is a catastrophic blow to rural businesses which are already hard pressed.

“Many will be relying on Christmas trade to turn a profit and we need to act swiftly to help them get back on track.”

“We’re urging farms and rural businesses in trouble to ask for help and contact the Farming Help charities and the Cumbria Community Foundation for advice and assistance.”

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said on Monday that more than 3,500 properties had flooded across the country, with the majority in Cumbria.

In Lancaster, 55,000 properties lost power when a substation was flooded.

Horses have had to be rescued from flooded stables and fields and there have sadly been some fatalities.

More rain is also forecast for today (Wednesday 9 December) and tomorrow (Thursday 10 December), with weather and flood warnings in place for the midlands and the North.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund is releasing the money from its emergency coffers.

In total, £30,000 will be given to the Farming Help charities to aid farmers and rural communities in the area and to provide immediate financial assistance.

The Cumbria Community Foundation, which will be working with voluntary organisations to provide initial hardship grants of £500 to individuals, will receive £10,000.

“Flooding causes huge devastation to property, land and the morale of communities, and once flood waters recede and media attention wanes, people still need help to recover,” said Mike Still of BERG.

We want to help hard hit rural communities get back on their feet and open for business.”

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has also started a fundraising appeal for people affected by the floods.

Contact the Farming Help hotline on 03000 111999 and Cumbria Community Foundation on 01900 825760.