A social enterprise promoting literacy, Reread in Doncaster, has raised £12,000 in five days after hundreds of thousands of its books were damaged or destroyed by major floods.
The organisation is run by Jim McLaughlin in Marshgate, Doncaster, and delivers free books to children who would have little access to them as well as recycling and selling texts. The organisation also gives free books for communities and individual adults to promote health and wellbeing.
The social enterprise's stock was virtually destroyed on Friday (November 8th) when its property, on the banks of the River Don, was flooded as the banks of the river burst with around 700 nearby residents of nearby village Fishlake evacuated. McLaughlin told the Evening Standard that 10,000 out of 12,000 texts for children were destroyed and 100,000 books prepared for sale were damaged. He told the newspaper: "It’s been awful. It was underwater all weekend and I was catastrophising in my head, but when I came in and saw what damage had been caused, it was just exactly how I’d imagined it.”
Now a fundraiser launched by the charity has raised more than £12,000 in five days. Launched by McLaughlin and director Graeme Oxby, the opening statement on the GoFundMe page reads: “Our warehouse was flooded on November 8th 2019, when the River Don broke its banks after torrential rainfall. We not only help recycle good books and get them into the hands of those in need, but we also employ local people and rely on a community of wonderful volunteers.
"We're approaching our busiest time of year, and your generosity will help us continue our work.We desperately need funds to help us recover from this disaster, and we would be grateful for any help.”
Five days later the appeal has been backed by 670 donors and been shared by the likes of former local MP Ed Miliband, currently Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Doncaster North following the dissolution of Parliament.
The target has now been increased to £15,000 after the damage was discovered to be more intensive than previously thought. “It’s been heartening that at such a difficult time for Reread that we have been able to count on the support of so many people,” Oxby wrote in an update on Monday (11th November).
“Unfortunately since we’ve been able to gain access to our warehouse and office it’s become apparent that the damage is so much worse than we had expected. We have had a kind offer of the use of an office but our stock and equipment have been badly affected. We’ve therefore raised our fundraising target and would kindly ask that you share the project as widely as possible so that we can meet it to help us get back on our feet.”
About 500 homes have been flooded in Doncaster due to the extreme weather which began last week with more than 1,000 properties evacuated in affected areas, according to the BBC.