Dr John Sentamu, the Anglican Archbishop of York, has issued a call for donations to a special fund created for communities in urban areas hit by the recent floods.
The Church Urban Fund (CUF) Disaster Relief Fund has been set up to provide help to those devastated by the recent floods. Any money given will go to areas of the greatest need to assist the local work of providing temporary accommodation, food and essential goods, a listening ear and counselling support to those traumatised by recent events, it says.
Donations will also go towards local projects setting up emergency payments for those facing hardship. Monies raised will also go to support practical activities such as the provision of volunteer teams to redecorate homes, buildings being used for storage, meeting points and much more both now and in the aftermath over the next twelve months and beyond.
Launching the fund, Dr Sentamu declared: "As the floods begin to subside, the full extent of their impact will only now become apparent. Local churches will be working to help people long after the TV cameras and reporters have left the scene.
He continued: "By acting through the agency of local churches which are already being used as relief centres and places of respite and shelter, the fund will be able to help those who are most immediately at need as they try to cope with the basics before the medium to long term help of insurance and government monies kick in. Until that time comes there will be basic needs and the purpose of this fund is to meet those basic needs wherever possible."
Appealing directly to concerned members of the public, the Archbishop said: "Essentially this is about local people helping local people, but your help is vital too in giving what money you can – you can make a real difference and bring hope to those facing a bleak future."
The Archbishop's call comes two weeks after his call for donations to the ARC-Addington fund set up to alleviate the suffering of farmers whose crops and livestock have been wiped out by the floods.
Reflecting on the need for both funds to target those with needs created by the floods, Dr Sentamu added: "While the response to the fund for those in rural areas has been heartening, the reality is that those hit hardest by these floods in town and country are those who had very little to begin with and are now left uninsured, washed out and wiped out by this flooding. We all need to give what we can to help those who need it most."
"Local churches are strongly placed to take practical action and many are already doing so but urgently need resources to do more," he saud
The Chief Executive of the CUF (Church Urban Fund) Ms Fran Beckett, declared: "CUF has a strong track record of nearly twenty years of getting money to where it's most needed in our poorest communities, working through projects on the ground with good local knowledge. They will make sure donations get quickly to the areas where they are most needed whether in cities, towns or beyond."
She went on: "This is a fund operated through the Church but for people of all faiths and none. Every community that has been hit by flooding has an existing Church facility through which help can be given. In the poorest communities in our land, churches are already working to alleviate poverty and hardship. The effect of the flooding introduces a new series of tasks and challenges, but donations to the fund can help in a very real and meaningful fashion."
The Church Urban Fund was originally established out of the 1985 Church of England Report, 'Faith in the City', which called for sweeping changes in church and nation to address poverty and inequality. At the time it earned the ire of then then Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.
Donations to the CUF Disaster Relief Fund can be made by calling 020 7898 1667 to donate by telephone with a debit/credit card or by going to www.cuf.org.uk and clicking the 'Donate NOW' button for secure on-line giving.