SOMERSET County Council is proposing more than £250,000 in new funding to help those hit by floods.

The news comes on the back of £300,000 of funding towards schemes that help prevent flooding in the first place, such as dredging the River Parrett.

The proposals will see; a £50,000 grant to help people suffering hardship after flooding at home, £200,000 in grants available for flood schemes, £300,000 available to work in partnership with other agencies to begin dredging.

The council also wants to lobby Government and the Environment Agency for extra flood prevention funding for Somerset.

Cabinet member David Hall said: “We really understand how traumatic it is when your home, business or community suffers flooding and we want to act quickly to help.

“The £50,000 is a one-off hardship grant and is vital money for people to help in a crisis. We did this last year and it was very well received by those in need. We believe it is right in the current situation to help once again.

“Last year we also made £200,000 available for individuals and communities to bid for funding to help prevent flooding. This year we are considering the same again with a further £200,000.

“These small grants can make a huge difference, and we are keen to ensure that Parish Councils and community groups are directly involved to ensure maximum benefit to their areas.”

One of last year’s beneficiaries was a flood defence scheme in Cannington. It received a contribution of £25,000 towards a project that will help to protect over 50 properties when finished.

Cllr Hall added: “We have already put aside £300,000 for river dredging. This money will be made available to the Environment Agency and we are working with others to boost this fund. This work includes lobbying Government and Government agencies for additional contributions.”

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive of the Somerset Community Foundation, said: “Thanks to the grant from Somerset County Council we will be working with parish councils, local authorities and other community leaders in the coming days and weeks to make sure everyone who may be eligible for emergency relief grants can access the funds swiftly.

“We are also now expanding the scope of our Surviving Winter appeal to include the most vulnerable households affected by the flooding and we encourage anyone who wishes to help those most affected by the floods to donate.

“Donations can be made via our website or call us on 01749-344949.”

Details of how to apply for an emergency flood relief grant will be available on the Somerset Community Foundation website from noon on January 8.