C-stores in Cumbria have played an integral role in supporting communities affected by Storm Desmond.
Many businesses in the region have been flooded while others have experienced delivery stand stills since the storm devastated the area with a UK rainfall record over 24 hours of 13.4in.
Keswick in Cumbria has been one of the hardest hit areas, but while the town’s larger supermarkets have closed, very few c-stores in the area have stayed open including Open All Hours on St John Street.
Open All Hours manager Paul Cooper said: “We have been overwhelmed and really busy but we are doing the best we can to keep the shelves stocked for customers. I have been driving to a cash and carry and filling my van up to the roof, while I’ve also been getting three deliveries a week from Booker. Everyone is working tirelessly to keep stock levels up because we have been really up against it, as one of the only shops open.
“All areas of the community have come together to support one another and there is a nearby support centre and food bank that is very busy helping people. It is important to us that we can stay open and provide a service to as many people in the community as possible during this time.”
Staff at Spar Ambleside, which avoided flood damage, have been working overtime to keep the store open to help residents.
Owner Christine Newton said: “We had no deliveries between Friday 4 and Monday 7 December because of the flooded roads. People in the village have been unable to get to supermarkets to get food or supplies, with many shops in the local area flooded or closed.
“We have pulled together and made sure that we are open for as long as possible while our staff have worked longer hours and even on their days off. Our suppliers have been great and have been able to get stock to us today, providing additional stock than usual to ensure the community is able to get supplies. The community spirit in the area is incomparable, everyone has pulled together to help each other and that includes staff in our store.”
The One Stop community store on Main Street, Cockermouth was flooded by five feet of water, damaging fittings, equipment and stock in the process. One Stop spokesman Matt Francis said: “The store was hit very badly but the floods began receding towards the end of the weekend and a clean-up took place that included sweeping water out of the store and removing damaged fittings and stock.
“The clean-up was even attended by members of the community, demonstrating the strong community values that exist in Cockermouth. The store hopes to be up and running again in four to six weeks, with a refit set to take place soon.”