FOUR years ago today north Cumbria was hit by its worst ever floods – leaving more than 5,000 homes flooded.

Between December 4 and 6 Storm Desmond brought unprecedented rainfall to the county leaving homes businesses, footpaths and roads flooded.

A multi-agency response was launched in the aftermath of the storm, which is still ongoing.

One of the organisations on the frontline in helping people and businesses get back on their feet was Cumbria Community Foundation.

“We spent £7.2m on the individuals and families, with 3,157 households helped,” explained the foundation’s chief executive, Andy Beeforth.

“We gave out an additional £2,444,101 to 167 projects and organisations.”

The recovery from the floods started almost instantly, explained the chief executive.

“We launched an appeal on the day Cumbria started to flood. We made sure that anyone that wanted to donate could, we raised a million pounds in four days.

“In total over five million pounds was donated by individuals and businesses, and charitable trusts fundraising. The government also matched most of the money we raised.”

Mr Beeforth has been in his current role at the foundation for 20 years, but Storm Desmond was something of a unique event for him and his team.

“It was the biggest storm and appeal we have done, without a doubt. The first disaster the foundation responded to was foot and mouth in 2001, so we had had some experience in disaster response.

“Then we an a flood campaign in 2005 and then 2009 floods in places such as Keswick, Workington and Whitehaven.”

According to Mr Beeforth, there were some positives from the disaster.

“One of the positive outcomes from Storm Desmond was that quite a lot of communities started their own flood action groups.

“The flooding in 2015 was so wide-ranging that there weren’t enough police officers, firefighters and mountain rescue team members.

“There were more incidents than we could cover. But what we now have is flood action groups.”

Mr Beeforth added that the foundation is ready to go in the event of another disaster.