accessibility & help

Claire’s story: Recovering after the floods

17 December 2009

Cockermouth floods - Claire Jones outside her home© InfoWeeks on from the floods in Cockermouth, Claire Jones is putting her life back together – and remains immensely grateful for the immediate support Red Cross volunteers provided in her darkest hour.

When the flooding struck on 19 November, Claire (25) – a nuclear design engineer – immediately phoned her neighbour and asked her to move her prized saxophone upstairs. It was just as well. Later that day, she arrived home to find the entire ground floor under six feet of water. 

Claire said: “I was shocked by the damage and hadn’t for a second thought the flooding would be that bad. I lost some of my most treasured possessions including my collection of signed books, formula one autographs and my motorbike.

Care and support

“But it could have been worse,” she added. “I was a bit shaken up but in general was fine so am very grateful for that.”

Understandably dazed and confused, Claire sought comfort from Red Cross volunteers at the flood support centre. They immediately calmed her down, provided emotional support and eased some of the pressure by signposting Claire to other organisations – such as insurance companies – that could help. 

‘Really grateful’

Three people sit at a table and talkTom PurslowClaire, who has since secured alternative accommodation, recalled: “I’ve always been an independent person so asking for and receiving help was new to me but I needed to talk to someone. I’m so grateful to the Red Cross for helping me when I really needed it.

“They listened to me, advised me but also pointed me in the direction of how I could find alternative accommodation. I’m just really grateful they were there for me.”

In the weeks since the floods hit, the Red Cross has moved from the response to the recovery phase. Volunteers, working alongside other voluntary agencies, now provide regular advice and help at three flood support centres in Cockermouth, Keswick and Ulverton.

Read our emergency responder's blog from the centre of Cockermouth

Read our blog about the Cockermouth floods

How to prepare for emergencies

Preparing for floods and flooding

Become an emergency response volunteer