DONATIONS to help victims of the floods in Somerset will top the £1million mark this week.

The Somerset Community Foundation says £760,000 in cash has been received, but with more money in the pipeline the figure will rise considerably.

Chief executive Justin Sargent said they have already dished out £210,000 to 300 households desperate needing immediate help.

He said: “Some people need help with the costs of evacuation, pumps, accommodation and loss of earnings.

“Others have had to leave their homes, and need money for clothes and basics to survive – some of the immediate effects of being flooded.”

At the end of this month the group says it will move into a third phase of grants looking at how people, their homes, farms and businesses recover from the unprecedented floods.

Mr Sargent said: “We need to see what’s covered by people’s insurance and look at the longer term effects of the hardship.

“We’re receiving a lot of applications from businesses who have lost trade, and we need to sit down and understand the best way to help those people affected.”

The group will help individual home owners with funds in the next two or three months, and then look at longer-term issues, such as infrastructure and community well-being.

Mr Sargent said: “We’ll try to make sure community buildings, such as village halls, which were damaged are repaired and look at the emotional well- being of people, and listen to them to understand what they want and need.”

Speaking about the vast quantities of funds received, Mr Sargent said it had been a pleasant surprise, adding: “I know from speaking to a lot of people affected how much this means to them when they’re going through the worst time of their lives.

“It helps them feel supported.”