Lisa Smith of Ginger Bakers in Kendal, Lancashire was “waist-deep in floodwater” at her catering kitchen, until local sourdough bakery Lovingly Artisan came to the rescue. 

When Storm Desmond hit in December, Smith’s catering kitchen at Dockray Hall Industrial Estate was completely flooded. Smith told British Baker: “Everything in the bakery was gone, other than things like clocks on the wall.”

Smith lost 800 Christmas cakes, £10,000 of mince pies and tray-bakes, as well as ovens, fridges, freezers, packaging and ingredients worth around £30,000.

But help was at hand in the form of Aidan Monks, of local sourdough bakery Lovingly Artisan. Smith said: “As soon as we were flooded, Aidan contacted me. That was just amazing because we were there within the week and we got going again. It was such a generous gesture.”

Monks threw Smith “a lifeline”, by letting her team-of-five share his kitchens. She added: “Without that, I don’t think we would have been able to carry on.”

offered help

In a further tale of generosity, Ginger Bakers is currently based at Plumgarths Farm Shop, thanks to owner John Geldard, whom she said has been “brilliant”. She also added that many other businesses had offered help via email and social media.

Smith received a £5,000 flood recovery grant from Cumbria Growth Hub, and at home, the family has received a £500 payment and council tax relief from South Lakeland District Council.

Smith does not know when her house and business premises will be habitable, but said: “The support and help has been amazing. So many people in Kendal are in the same situation and that’s comforting because people understand what you’re going through.”