Brian had been living at Elphaborough Close in Mytholmroyd since 2005. The area around the Calder Valley was hit by heavy floods on Boxing Day 2015. This badly affected the community across the Calder Valley and those living at Elphaborough Close (where a large number of older people resided). All those affected had to be forced out of their homes, due to the damage the flood left behind.
Brian, 76, suffered heavily as a result of the floods, as he was living in a ground floor flat. He says that he could not save anything as there was little time to gather items together in the five to ten minutes it took for the flood levels to rise. He lost everything in the flood, including his collection of train memorabilia, all of his photographs, furniture, clothing, DVDs and his music.
Brian described Elphaborough Close as a ‘nice community’. All residents would socialise and get together often to play games, such as bingo. Brian also became the chairman of the resident committee. After the event on Boxing Day, a community hub was set up for flood victims as a place where donations were given. It was an unsettling time for those who used to live at Elphaborough Close and many residents were forced to move out of their homes to nearby towns and villages.
Brian now lives in temporary accommodation nearby in Walsden. Prior to this he, along with other victims of the flood, were re-housed in a local hotel. Brian feels comfortable in his temporary accommodation, noting that he has ‘a roof over his head’ and all the basic amenities are available to him, but he is eager to return home to Mytholmroyd.
Brian was referred to Horton Housing’s Upper Valley Old Person’s Support Service (UVOPSS). A support worker from UVOPSS gave Brian intensive support with important documents and housing needs such as filling in forms for insurance and grants. UVOPSS support worker Angela visits him once a week and gives him additional support, such as phoning people on his behalf. Angela also liaises with Brian’s landlord for information on the timescale of work on his new flat and other information. UVOPSS also helped Brian settle in his flat in Walsden. Brian is grateful for the support the service has given him at his time of crisis and now feels that his ‘life is getting back on track’.
Although Brian is grateful to be living where he is currently, he hopes to move back to Mytholmroyd in time for Christmas. Brian will be living in a different flat, further away from river. He is focused on his new flat, choosing decorations, furniture and collecting items, to make the place feel more like home. Through UVOPSS and his landlord, Brian receives regular updates of when his flat back in Mytholmroyd will be ready to move into. Brian would like to live in Mytholmroyd as it is a familiar place for him and he wants to be closer to his brother and friends, who also live in the area. The flood made Brian feel angry as he was caught off-guard. But now with the help he has received, he feels positive about the future.