FAMILIES who have lost everything in the floods will benefit from four lorry-loads of furniture and kitchen appliances worth £35,000, donated by Tesco.
Many families who live on the Somerset Levels are facing the daunting task of having to rebuild their lives from scratch; some will get help from their insurance companies but others had no insurance.
Donations of clothing and food have been pouring in since the flooding claimed homes but Tesco has now donated nearly 400 items of furniture including sofas, dining furniture, beds for younger children and ‘home starter kits’ for families facing the most hardship.
The starter kits, which include a microwave, kettle, cutlery and other essentials, arrived in Bridgwater on Wednesday (March 26) to be unloaded by volunteers from the Flooding on the Levels Action Group (FLAG). It will be stored and dished out to families most affected.
The Goodman family, from Moorland, gratefully received the first starter kit. They were unable to renew their home insurance after premiums rocketed following earlier flooding in the area and have been left with only what they could carry when they were evacuated.
Father of two Andrew Goodman said: “This gesture is marvellous and you would be surprised how much a starter kit really helps.
“We have nothing. We were forced to evacuate in the early hours so we just grabbed whatever we could.
“It’s been very scary and stressful, especially for the children, who have also lost their favourite toys.
“It’s been a tough experience for us all. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. FLAG have been fantastic.”
A spokesman from FLAG told the Mercury qualified surveyors and builders have been volunteering their skills for free to help get residents’ homes back into shape.
Meanwhile Tesco has raised £100,000 across its South West stores, pledging another £10,000.
The firm has also delivered £30,000 worth of donated food to local residents.
Sara Goodman, a Tesco store manager who has been coordinating the donation, said: “Many of our colleagues live in the Levels and have witnessed the devastation first-hand.
“Donating the new furniture is our latest pledge and we’re delighted it will benefit so many local families.
“It has been a big team effort, working alongside Somerset County Council and FLAG, and this partnership will be ongoing.”
Cllr John Osman, leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Big thanks go to Tesco for this generous donation.
“This, and the many other donations that have been received, show the extent to which these floods have struck a chord way beyond the boundaries of Somerset.”