THE County Gazette and its sister papers are today proud to donate £10,000 to a flood relief fund as it throws its weight behind efforts to help those in need.

The money comes from the Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of Gannett, which owns Newsquest, publisher of the Somerset County Gazette series of newspapers and websites.

We’re donating the money to the Flood Relief Fund set up by Somerset Community Foundation to help channel cash to those who need it most.

And we’re urging others who want to help to do the same.

Newsquest Somerset editor Alex Cameron said: “Countless people have got in touch with our news teams asking what they can do to help people affected by the floods.

“The generosity of people in Somerset has been extraordinary so far, not just in terms of donations but in volunteers and neighbours pushing the limits of endurance to help each other in their time of need.

“Stories of people stricken by the floods carried in these pages and broadcast on TV and radio have touched the hearts of readers.

“It’s been a long time coming, but the political will seems to be there to fix some of the major issues in the long term - now what people need is immediate assistance and that’s why we are teaming up with Somerset Community Foundation to back their appeal.”

The Flood Relief Fund has already attracted donations of £200,000, including £25,000 from Prince Charles’ Countryside Fund and now hoping readers can help push that figure up to £250,000.

Other newspapers and community groups are also supporting the fund raising money for the cause.

Justin Sargent, chief executive of Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the County Gazette group for this donation – it’s absolutely fantastic.

“Money donated to this fund is already helping people who have had their lives turned upside down by this disaster and we know we can rely on the generosity of people in Somerset to continue making a difference.

“We know the effects will be felt for months to come so we need to build a fund that will be big enough to keep offering help.”

Somerset Community Foundation is a charitable trust that directs grants to local charities and voluntary organisations that make a lasting difference to the lives of local people.

The Emergency Flood Relief Fund was launched on January 8 with a grant of £50,000 from Somerset County Council.

To apply for funds from the foundation, click on or get them from parish councils, village agents, Flooding on the Levels Action Group (FLAG) or the rest centre in Bridgwater.

SCF is currently only accepting financial donations.

If you or your company would like to donate gifts in-kind (ie. furniture, clothing, accommodation, etc), register your offer with Somerset Direct 0345 988118 or post it on the FLAG Facebook page.

THE County Gazette-backed Somerset Community Foundation Flood Relief Fund will get money to those who need it – and quickly.

Here are some examples of the recipients:

  • Emergency relief grants to people whose homes have been flooded or who have had to evacuate their homes to meet the immediate financial burdens of moving out, pumping and drying, and emergency repairs. These are £250 and usually awarded within 48 hours of receipt of an eligible application.
  • Help those who face additional financial burdens as a result of the flooding, for example though loss of earnings, extended daily commutes and school runs.
  • Support for microbusinesses, charities and community organisations to ensure their survival and swift recovery as an essential part of the local community and economy through grants and, where applicable, loans.
  • Support for counselling and other community services to help people cope with the emotional stress caused by the flooding in the short and medium term.
  • Farmers – SCF is currently working with key agencies to establish the best way to offer help to farmers now and when the water has subsided.
  • Supporting volunteers to help cover the significant expenses being clocked up in fuel and other necessities to enable them to keep doing their vital work.

So why not hold a collection at your school, workplace, pub or sports club.

You could also consider a sponsored event or fundraiser for the cause - just stay safe!

And if you want some help publicising your fundraising, that’s what we’re here for, so just get in touch - and be sure to send us photos and information about all the things you get up to.

You can download a fundraising poster here

If donations exceed the needs stated money will go flood-affected communities to increase their resilience or be kept to help in cases of future flooding episodes in Somerset.

Donations can be made in the following ways:

ONLINE: Click here for full details.

PHONE: Call Somerset Community Foundation on 01749-344949.

POST: Send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (write ‘Flood Relief’ on the back) to Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6QN.

If you are a UK Taxpayer, please also use the gift aid form to add 25% to your donation.

TEXT: To make a £5 donation, text NOAH95 £5 to 70070. Texts are free but donations will be added to bills and must have payer's permission (you can alter the amount up to £10).