Incredible response from Northampton community to help residents affected by Billing Aquadrome flooding

One group made more than 450 hot meals and other members of the public donated items residents will need when they are allowed back to their homes

Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 2:31 pm

A community has pulled together over Christmas to help residents affected by severe flooding at a Northampton holiday park.

Volunteers from community groups have made hot meals and collected hundreds of donations after residents were evacuated from Billing Aquadrome due to severe flooding.

Emergency services were called to the holiday park on Christmas Eve (December 24) to help around 250 people stuck in their homes as flood water reached up to five foot deep.

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Hundreds of essential items have been donated to residents who may have lost their belongings in the floods.

The evacuation meant around 1,000 people had to find somewhere else to spend Christmas with almost 100 taking up residence in nearby hotels.

To support residents affected by the flooding, the community rallied around to provide them with belongings they may have lost and a hot meal they may not have been able to cook while living in a hotel room.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set up a drive-thru donation drop off centre in the church’s car park in Harlestone Road, which has seen a ‘fantastic response’, with hundreds of donated essentials that residents may have lost in the floods, such as toiletries, food and toys for children.

One of the church leaders and organiser of the donation drive-thru said: “One of the members from our church posted on Facebook asking for help and donations so within a couple of hours, we were able to set something up.

The drive-thru set up in Harlestone Road.

“We needed to make it Covid secure so we made it drive-thru so we set out tables where people could drive past and hand over the donations.

“We have hand sanitisers on site and we are asking people to wear masks.

“People drop off the donations and then we clean them down and organise them all in our hall.

“It really has been a fantastic community response and it hasn’t just been members of the church, but members of the public too.

A team of volunteers from the RBN Gurdwara Sahib (Sikh place of worship) in Cromwell Street cooked hundreds of hot meals.

“Hopefully this will benefit those people who need it most.”

The team from the church will transfer the donations, which are enough to fill three quarters of a basketball court according to the church leader, to Cogenhoe Community Centre where a resident from the holiday park will organise distribution.

To help those who were housed in hotels, another community group also offered support by cooking more than 450 hot meals of lentil dahl and fresh rice.

The RBN Gurdwara Sahib (Sikh place of worship) in Cromwell Street has been creating food parcels and holding food bank events throughout the pandemic, so the volunteers were keen to help when they heard about the severe flooding.

Rajdeep Singh, organiser of this response, said: “We asked how we could help and this was the best way.

“We had lots of food left over from the food banks and a lot of people living in hotels didn’t have cooking facilities, so we cooked them meals.

“I rang around volunteers and within 10 minutes I’d got six people to help make the food.

“We started at 3pm on Sunday and by 6pm we’d made more than 450 meals, then we delivered them to a hotel in Bedford Road where one of the residents helped to coordinate getting meals to people in other places.

“It was so important to us that we helped these people.”

Cogenhoe Mill holiday park has reopened today (December 29), as will parts of Billing Aquadrome, however residents may be going back to find some of their belongings destroyed.

If you want to help those affected by the floods, another drive-thru collection will be held from 3pm-5pm today (December 29) in the Harlestone Road church car park.

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