Working together to help those worst affected by Storm Babet – message from Barnsley Council and Berneslai Homes

Our teams and members of the communities really showed that strong Barnsley spirit as we battled against the heavy rainfall brought by Storm Babet. In what was a real joint response, everyone worked tirelessly to help the people worst affected.

From 12 noon on Friday 20 October to 12 noon on Saturday 21 October, we saw 70mm plus of rainfall across a number of areas – the average for the whole of October is usually between 70mm and 100mm.

Sadly, the impact in some of our communities was devastating, with 25 properties in Lundwood and Ings Lane Caravan Site suffering internal flooding during Storm Babet.

Here’s just some of the work that’s been taking place:

During our response:

  • our Highways Team responded to 126 requests across the borough. They’ve checked and cleared culverts, deployed tankers to pump water and cesspits, put up flood signs, delivered sandbags and dealt with 13 fallen trees. They also had to close 11 roads across Barnsley, from Penistone in the west to Thurnscoe in the east
  • Berneslai Homes have had teams on the ground since the storm hit in key areas such as Stacey Crescent and Lang Avenue
  • our Contact Centre received 1,113 calls for Berneslai Homes and Highways between Friday and Sunday, helping to answer people’s questions and get them the support they need
  • our Safer Neighbourhood wardens supported communities throughout the night on shifts at all locations, providing sandbags, door-knocking to offer support and checking water levels
  • the Stronger Communities teams helped fill sandbags and helped run the Burton Grange Community Centre alongside Children’s Services. This has been a key part of our support for residents affected and remains open for the community
  • we provided alternative accommodation to people who needed it.

To help people to recover, we’re:

  • providing cleaning products and skips to help people remove damaged items
  • offering financial hardship payments to people whose living areas flooded
  • pausing council tax payments for up to three months for the people who can’t live in their homes due to flood damage
  • pausing business rate payments for up to three months for the business that can’t trade because of flood damage
  • supporting Berneslai Homes tenants to repair the damage inside of their homes and signposting them to their hardship fund.

Councillor Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “Storm Babet has brought prolonged and persistent rainfall across South Yorkshire. My thoughts are with the people who have been affected and we’ll do everything we can to keep supporting them through this challenging time.

“We’ve seen many times before that Barnsley really comes together in times of crisis and my heartfelt thanks go to communities, our staff and partner agencies, who worked side by side throughout the weekend and in the days following to help those in need.

“We have offered an emergency payment of up to £350 to the people who had floodwater enter the living areas of their homes. We hope this helps them to buy essential items such as food, heating and clothing.

"We know that for many people, it will be hard to financially recover from the impact and we’re working with South Yorkshire colleagues on what we can do to provide more financial help. We’ll also be looking at the Government’s recently announced Flood Recovery Framework and what this means for Barnsley residents.

“The work we have done in key areas and hotspots prevented the scale of destruction we saw in 2019 and the further work planned here will only improve flood prevention in the future.”

Amanda Garrard, Chief Executive of Berneslai Homes, added: “Keeping tenants safe is our number one priority and our teams acted quickly with the council and other partners to provide practical support on the ground, checking that flood defence measures were in use and providing alternative temporary accommodation for people living in homes at risk.

“We’ve worked hard to protect properties from damage as far as possible and will continue to support those affected throughout the recovery process. It’s always heart-warming to see communities, volunteers, and agencies supporting each other through difficult times and the response to this event has once again shown that we’re stronger together.”

Flood alleviation schemes

We’ve been working hard since the catastrophic floods of November 2019 to reduce the impact of extreme weather in key areas of our borough.

We’re continuing to invest in areas and you can read more information on what we’ve done so far can be found on our website.

We encourage people to register for flood warnings. You can read more information on preparing for heavy rain and flooding, on our dedicated webpage.

Looking after yourself
If you've been affected by flooding, after you’ve dealt with practical issues and are getting back on your feet it's only natural to experience strong thoughts and feelings. Major events such as flooding can affect us emotionally and psychologically.

If you’re finding it difficult to cope, or you’re feeling more low or anxious than you might expect, help is available for you, your family and your loved ones.

Contact your doctor, NHS 111, Samaritans Barnsley (call 116 123, free from any phone) or Red Cross (call 0344 871 1111).

Also, take a look at the Public Health England guide to mental wellbeing after a flood.

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