Many of you will have seen the pictures of the floods we are experiencing here at Chawton House Library. Whilst thankfully the house itself is not in any danger, the impact of the rising flood waters, the problems for visitor access and the lack of basic hygiene facilities in the house have been cause for real concern.
A number of events have already had to be cancelled. We have had to pay for sandbagging, and resource the many extra man (and woman) hours and effort that have been needed to help protect the estate. All this has been a diversion from other necessary and regular maintenance work which we will have to catch up on at further cost later in the year.
We have already suffered storm damage to the restored barn in the gale force winds. The floods have come perilously close to the barn, and the stables. And, of course, even when the rain stops – the water doesn’t necessarily stop rising for some time – and now, yet more rain is forecast.
Staff and volunteers have battled away valiantly during this dreadful, wet and dismal winter but more help is needed. Your help.
We know that we have not suffered as have some individual householders and communities have done across Hampshire and across the country and our thoughts – and I am sure yours – must be with them too.
But we do need to make sure we battle through this challenging first quarter and reach the hoped for drier Spring, with our income maintained and our spirits high.
For the future, we are looking to how the effects of future flooding might be mitigated and are in discussion with the local council in respect of help and support. In the meantime, we are making a special request to all our friends and supporters to make a donation of whatever you can to support our flood fighting fund.
Any donation – no matter how much, would be very welcome and very much appreciated – but we are looking to raise at least £10,000 to get us through and be in fighting form for our Spring events programme. With your support – we know we will.
With many thanks,
Stephen Lawrence, CEO and Keith Arscott, Chief Development Officer