#backtobusiness: The Star is here to help you recover from floods crisis
The Shropshire Star is launching its Back to Business campaign, writes editor Martin Wright. It's part of our effort to help Shropshire and Mid Wales get back on its feet again after the worst flooding in 20 years.
Shrewsbury, Ironbridge, Ludlow and Bridgnorth have suffered particularly badly, with residents and businesses facing an incredibly difficult start to the new year thanks to almost unprecedented rainfall.
There is no doubt the communities affected by flooding have suffered extraordinary hardship.
#backtobusiness - how to take part
- Let us know when your business is back in action after the floods
- Let us know how people can help
- Tell us about customers and residents who have gone above and beyond to help
- We'll share the best stories with our readers and help Shropshire get back on its feet
- TWITTER - use the hashtag #backtobusiness to share your stories with us
- FACEBOOK - Visit our Facebook Community Noticeboard to share your stories
You can also share your stories using this form:
And that is why we want to help. As a media organisation with roots firmly in Shropshire, we are in a position to put people in touch with others who can help them at this challenging time, both through our newspaper and our website and social media channels.
We want to champion the people, the businesses and our incredible communities who may be bowed but are certainly not beaten. We will use our platform to let everybody know that Shropshire and Mid Wales is open for business.
Below, we have included a list of contact names and numbers for those in need of help. We hope you find this useful. But we want to do much more. We want to highlight businesses who are picking up the pieces after the floods – and let our readers know when they are open again. We plan to feature these stories in the coming days so please get in touch with our team who will be happy to help.
Our county town, Shrewsbury, has a rich and vibrant business community but we know many have been badly affected over the last two weeks. We want to help these businesses spread the word as they get back to normality after the extraordinary events of recent weeks.
We also want to hear your stories about the heroes who helped you or your neighbours during the floods. You can send us your messages of thanks and we will feature these in the coming days.
Similarly, if you would like to help out in any way, please let us know and we will get that message out there.
The events of the last few weeks have been exceptionally tough. But the spirit of the people of Shropshire and Mid Wales has shone through. We want to celebrate that spirit and do our bit to help this region get back on its feet.
We have created a noticeboard on our Facebook page to allow you to thank those who have helped keep you safe.
It will also allow businesses to let the county know they are still open, or how they are battling back.
And it will act as a forum for those who still need help and advice as they continue to deal with levels that reached a 20-year high and came as close as they ever have of passing over temporary flood barriers.
Need help - here's where to find it
- Financial support is available to those affected, with a £500 payment and possible follow-up grants. Call 0345 6789006 for details.
- Our councils offer up to date advice. In Telford call 01952 384000, in Shropshire call 0345 678 9006 and in Powys call 0345 602 7035.
- If your food business had been affected, contact Shropshire Council Health Protection Team. Call 0345 6789067 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The government provides a guide on recovery from a flood. Visit gov.uk/government/publications/personal-flood-plan
- The Environment Agency can give advice on watercourses near your home or business. Call 03708 506506.
It has been a mammoth effort for staff at our councils and Environment Agency officials and workmen – the people on the front line attempting to keep the River Severn at bay.
Today they revealed the extent of the operation, which with unsettled weather on its way is very much one that is ongoing.
In the Shropshire Council area alone, more than 10,200 sandbags have been distributed. Of these, 3,100 have gone to Bridgnorth, with 800 handed out on Monday and Tuesday alone. A further 700 were delivered to Shropshire Council’s depot in Longden Road, Shrewsbury, and these are being left outside the depot for people to collect.
Staff have worked through the night, both at the River Severn and to deal with flooding elsewhere as rolling road closures are put in place. A total of 24 roads are closed around Shrewsbury, and the town’s three main shopping centres were closed yesterday for the second day running. Rail services between Birmingham and Shrewsbury were suspended due to high water levels.
Tractors, flood bus and boat to the rescue
While officials work, there are thousands of heroic stories of simple generosity from members of the public.
One has come in the village of Melverley, between Shrewsbury and Welshpool, where tractors, a flood bus and even a village boat are being used to help villagers who are cut off. Although homes in the village, close to the confluence of the rivers Severn and Vyrnwy, sit above the flood line, all roads to the outside world are flooded.
Martin Davies has spent the past 10 days doing what he can to help, from ensuring someone to get to hospital for chemotherapy to collecting hay for hungry horses and ponies. And he says others are helping out as well.
Mr Davies, 63, said: “Those of us with tractors do what we can to take people out to the bridge or bring them back. Mark Edwards and his son Jake have been busy with their tractors, as has Raymond Morris over in Maesbrook. We also have the village rescue punt that we can use.”
Mr Davies said trips to dry land at the bridge including taking carers who look after a man in his 90s in the village there and back and ensuring a cancer patient could get treatment
He added: “Everyone comes together in order to help each other.”