Due to its location and topography, the village of Great Shefford has long suffered from floods. As well as causing damage these can also lead to road closures which, due to the village being on a junction, cause disruption to local residents, businesses and the wider community. None of the measures so far taken to combat this problem have been more than very localised or short-term fixes. Moreover, there’s nothing to suggest that, left unattended, the issue is not going to continue.
A more permanent outcome now seems possible. In 2017, the Great Shefford Flood Alleviation Association (GSFAA) was established with the aim of helping to co-ordinate, communicate and fundraise for a long-term solution. GSFFA, the Environment Agency and West Berkshire Council have proposed a scheme to help steer the water coming down the side of the A338 towards Shefford away from the rear of the houses. This could take the form of either a bypass channel or a large pipe from the existing headwall structure at the entrance to the village through the arable fields adjacent to the A338 which would direct the waterflow across the reed bed and into the River Lambourn. This would reduce the incidence of the often copious volumes of water flowing through residents’ gardens and some homes along the Wantage Road.
This scheme should be effective but will not be cheap. As is common, the EA has demanded that a certain part of the cost be provided by the local community as its contribution. After discussions, it’s been agreed that the GSFFA will need to raise £80,000 as its part of the funding. This will need to be in place before any flood alleviation work can begin.
GSFAA has now been granted charitable status which will help with many aspects of fund-raising and grant applications, now and in the future. This initial scheme, important though it is, will only address part of the problem and it’s expected that GSFFA will thereafter need to be involved in other flood-defence measures elsewhere in the parish.
Finding such a sum will require a variety of fund-raising initiatives, some of which were discussed at a meeting of the GSFFA in January.
• The first public event was a fund-raising quiz in Shefford Village Hall on 10 March 2018. This was highly successful with well over 100 people showing up and over £1,600 being raised.
• A further quiz at The Swan in April raised another £570.Congratulations are due to all those involved, in particular to the two winners (Donna and Steve Folland’s team and Steve and Sandra Lodge’s team) for donating their prize money back to the GSFAA. A big hand also for Martin Smith who organised both quizzes and set the questions.
• A golf day in August raised over £4,000 directly and more than that indirectly. Special thanks must go to Ray Plowman who put so much effort into organising such a successful day and also Nigel Day for the smooth running of proceedings at the Golf Club, as well as to West Berkshire Golf Course. Click here for a brief report, more information on the sums raised, photos and a list of winners.
Other events will follow and will be publicised here and elsewhere.
As of February 2019, the sums raised by the GSFAA total nearly £64,500. This puts the GSFAA well over 75% of the way to achieving its target. It’s hoped that the remaining sums will be raised in order to enable the work to start in the next few months.
It was announced in June 2018 that the Greenham Trust will be able to provide matched funding of up to £30,000 through The Good Exchange. If you wish to make any donations, therefore, this is the best place to do it as the GSFAA will receive double the amount that you pledge. Please click here to visit the Donors’ page at The Good Exchange and scroll down to ‘Find a project to donate to.’ The reference for the GSFAA is 12191.
The fund has also been boosted by successful Capital Members Bids made by local councillors Gordon Lundie and Graham Jones. West Berkshire Council agreed to put this award through the Good Exchange to attract the matched funding described above
Please also continue to support any fundraising efforts and contact the GSFAA (see below) if you have any ideas for further ones.
For further information
If you would like to suggest any fund-raising ideas, make a donation other than through the above link, find out more about the issues involved or get involved in GSFFA in any way, please contact Sandi Ackrill on 07831 750 000, Steve Ackrill on 07721 440 200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be obtained from Ray in the Shefford Shop.
This post will be updated as new information becomes available.
GSFFA is grateful to Shefford C of E Primary School and to Great Shefford Village Hall for their generosity and support towards its cause and to Mr J Liddiard for his ongoing co-operation with the scheme.