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Pennine-Pack supports the Watermark Fund

Pennine-Pack was lucky enough to escape the December floods but I consider it a privilege to have seen the way the community has pulled together to help each other and to be part of it. Now that the water has subsided and some businesses have reopened it is easy to forget that many people are still living ‘upstairs’ until their homes are refurbished. Behind closed doors, they are working away to get things back to ‘normal’. For some people, normal will never be the same because homeowners with houses built after 2009 and all businesses are not entitled to use the Government FloodRE insurance scheme.

In Calderdale, a small group has worked together to create Floodsave a self insurance scheme where a business that can not get insurance, or homeowner with a house built after 2009 can make payments via the Calderdale Credit Union where the first £1,000 of savings are being match funded by the Community Foundation for Calderdale against the unthinkable happening again. If we are flooded again, the savings plus match funding and any interest will be waiting for the business / homeowner to spend to put things right.

The ‘Watermark’ campaign was invented in Australia, by Bunderberg Rum. In 2010/2011, 75% of the Australian state of Queensland was flooded. Bunderberg were also flooded, but as soon as they got back on their feet, they launched a special edition watermark branded rum where some of the prodeeds from the sale of each bottle were donated to flood victims. The brand was a success and the first batch sold out within one week.

If the floods were to come again , it is unlikely that we, the people of Calderdale, could match the £3million raised after the December 2015 floods.

Watermark Calderdale is a free branding toolkit that businesses can use to highlight the flooding and offer ‘watermark’ associated products where a proportion of the sales of watermark branded products will be donated to a future floods fund. Businesses can offer to donate any amount from the sale of a product or service. The donation can be fixed or discretionary. The point is to maintain awareness of flooding in Calderdale and raise some money so that if the unthinkable does happen, there is some money in place to help those affected.

If all the businesses hit by the 2015 floods raised just £10 per week from their sales of Watermark goods (a low estimate), the fund would hit over £700,000 in 1 year. Multiply that by a few years of no floods, and a bit more input from other businesses, or some adding more than £10 per week, and the fund could easily hit £2 million. And that money would be there for our communities to access straight away in case of another flood. Literally saving for a rainy day! It’s all about businesses and community working together to look after each other.

One of the worst hit social enterprises in Calderdale was Project Colt who lost both their vans, as well as being flooded. Without transport, they could not deliver refurbished and second hand furniture to other people affected by the floods. Every year, Pennine-Pack has made donations to support environmental causes and employment in the local community. We decided that our annual donation could be best placed by donating it to Project Colt. By making this donation via the Community Foundation it could be match funded by the Government. Our £2,200 became a £4,400 donation towards replacement vans for Project Colt.

That is what we did while the pressure was on. We have now had time to think about how we can help in the longer term and Pennine-Pack has decided to donate 1% of our membership fees to the fund.

Let''s hope that we do not need either fund for a very long time!

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