The Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, wanted to find out first-hand how civil society organisations are having a positive impact on the recovery efforts after recent flooding in York and the surrounding area.
Rob visited several organisations making a huge difference to their community, including Michaela Robinson, who set up fast food and snacks outlet Fossy Flossys Fast Food Van to hand out food to residents in Huntington Road. The minister also visited Rowntree Park and spoke to representatives of the Chapelfields Community Association, Church of the Latter Day Saints and Aviva who are working to bring the park back into service. He also met with Jan Garrill, chief executive of the Two Ridings Community Foundation, who will administer the flood fund for York.
While visiting York Community Store, a local organisation that became central to clearing houses for donations and distributing furniture, the minister had a chance to see how community groups play a central role in helping those most in need. The store provides essential furniture and other items to households affected by the recent floods. It has worked closely with the Two Ridings Community Foundation and local councils to save over 14,000 items last year to donate to people in need.
Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson said:
The response of civil society organisations and the wider public in York and Yorkshire to the recent flooding over the Christmas period has been incredible.
I want to see more people taking part in social action and volunteering across the UK, which ultimately leads to stronger, more resilient and more empowered communities.
Government is standing squarely behind the residents and businesses affected by these floods and our task is to do everything we can to help towns and communities recover from these devastating floods.
Councillor Chris Steward, leader of City of York council, said:
From faith groups to individuals, community organisations to private firms, people have volunteered their time, skills, energy and resources to support flood-affected residents and businesses. Together with the many organisations statutorily involved, they continue to make an extraordinary contribution and speak volumes of the spirit of this resourceful and resilient city.
Keith Aspden, deputy leader of City of York council with responsibility for community engagement, said:
During and after the Boxing Day flood, volunteers have provided tremendous support to flood-affected residents and businesses across the city and they continue to do so. Volunteers from York and across the country have worked with council officers and other partners particularly hard in recent weeks to ensure the city is open for business.