When Storm Desmond hit the UK in early December more than 6,000 homes across Cumbria and the North West were affected by flooding.
In towns such as Keswick, Kendal and Cockermouth, many residents had to be evacuated and moved in to temporary accommodation for their safety.
The storm victim’s plight was made worse when the rising water levels caused severe damage to an electricity substation, leaving hundreds of properties across the area without power for days.
As the flood waters subsided and the huge mop-up operation got underway, Preston gift shop owner, Janey Deakin, took to social media to appeal for donations of gifts that could be distributed to local children affected by the floods.
Janey asked the public to send their offerings to her shop’s address.
Almost immediately donations such as bedding, clothing, food, water and even furniture – started to arrive at Janey’s store.
“Pretty quickly I had a lot of things being delivered so I put a post out asking for somewhere bigger to store things,” says Janey.
A local company got in touch to offer the use of an empty warehouse facility.
“They said they had a space and dropped a key off – before I knew it we had a warehouse,” Janey explains.
In a matter of just a few days, more than 100 tonnes of goods had arrived at the warehouse.
To enable Janey and her team of volunteers to make the best of their storage space, the materials handling solutions specialist, Jungheinrich UK, has donated the use of a 3-tonne gas-powered counterbalanced forklift together with a hand pallet truck for the duration of the relief effort.
The counterbalanced lift truck – a model TFG 430 – allows trailers delivering incoming pallet loads of essential goods to be unloaded as quickly and efficiently as possible and moved in to the store, where items are sorted and repackaged before being dispatched to those in need.
The truck has been supplied with an all-weather cab to keep the driver comfortable – an important consideration as more bad weather is forecast for the North West.
“The forklift really is a God-send,” says Janey. “Before it arrived we were unloading lorries by hand which, of course, was very hard and time-consuming work.
“Now we can get donations unloaded and out to those who desperately need them as quickly as possible. We are grateful to Jungheinrich for their quick action and generosity” she adds.
The leading palletised freight distribution network, The Pallet Network, is also helping with the aid effort by providing free collection and delivery of loads from its various UK hubs to the Preston warehouse.
Craig Johnson, Jungheinrich UK’s marketing manager, commented: “As soon as we heard about Janey’s superb effort we got in touch to offer our support. We are very happy that our equipment is playing a role in such an important and impressive humanitarian operation.”