Salvation Army supporting community as floods hit Hastings

published on 1 Nov 2023

The leader of a Salvation Army church in Hastings and her staff have been supporting the community after the town was hit by major flooding for the second time this year.

The branch of the church and charity at St Andrew’s Square opened on Saturday morning after heavy rain caused flash flooding, forcing some residents to abandon their homes. After Hastings was affected by flooding in January, Lieutenant Debbie-Anne Hogarth set up an emergency response team to respond to the latest incidents. 

Escaping the floods again, the hall became the focal point for responders.

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Volunteers, Paul and Heather, Debbie on the right and her husband John in the background, were busy preparing food and drinks for residents and responders.

Offering food and a warm space for emergency services, council workers and utilities representatives to rest and hold meetings, Debbie and her team also fed and clothed local residents and worked with Hastings Borough Council to rehouse 15 families affected by the floods.

The church opened its doors at 9.30am on Saturday and the last family left at 8.50pm. Residents affected by the flood stayed in the hall until they were found alternative accommodation.

As well as supporting responders to the floods, Debbie and the team came to the aid of local people who were directly affected.

Debbie said: “I spoke to a young lady with mental health issues who did not want to go into temporary accommodation. She was frightened by people in high-vis jackets, and I could see she was getting more and more worried. I helped to give her reassurance that things would be OK and she agreed to go.

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The Hastings Citadel became a focal point for local people and responders to the floods

“One lady had moved back in on Monday last week and saw her white goods washed away by Saturday as her basement flat was in inches of water. We helped a nurse who came home after a night shift and found her house had flooded. It’s heart-breaking these people are going through it again. Some of them had still not recovered from earlier in the year.”

With Storm Ciaran due to arrive later this week, Debbie and the team are already making preparations to come to the aid of local people for the second time in a matter of days.

She said: “We are passionate about what we do whether its providing a tube of toothpaste to one person or feeding whole families. We are here to serve our community the best way we can. In times of crisis and emergency it is important for us to demonstrate our values to those in need.”

A Salvation Army volunteer wearing a red puffer jacket delivers a care package to an older woman

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