The UK has experienced the wettest winter on record since 1910. High winds combined with tidal surges caused dangerous conditions and a considerable amount of damage to many coastal areas, particularly in the South West of England and Wales.

Many of Rainbow International’s offices were on standby ready to help their communities recover from the devastation left by the extreme weather.

The power and efficiency of the Rainbow network was fully tested under these most demanding of conditions.

The Somerset Levels were among the worst hit areas in the UK with many properties being flooded and evacuated. The impact on individuals, businesses and infrastructure was substantial.

Rainbow International’s branch based in Somerset received a number of urgent instructions from major insurers and loss adjusters asking them to assist with the drying out and restoration of many properties and content items.

The Somerset Levels were one of the worst affected areas in
the UK…

The Somerset Levels were badly affected by the heavy rain, with large areas remaining under water for several weeks. Many of the properties affected by the storm had only recently been restored back to pre-incident condition following the bad spell of weather from the previous year.

John Leach, the eldest grandson of the renowned potter Bernard Leach, has run a pottery business in the picturesque village of Muchelney for around 50 years, but the recent flooding forced him to stop trading for the second time in 15 months.

Rainbow were instructed by the potters insurance company to deal with the building and contents of his cottage and kiln shed. Over 8 inches of contaminated water had penetrated through the fabric of the building.

The footings of the 49 year old wood-fired kilns had absorbed a lot of flood water reaching the seventh course of brickwork. Rainbow initially undertook a wet extraction clean as well as a thorough decontamination and sanitisation process to the affected areas.

Due to the materials used in the construction of the kilns and property, a tailored drying regime was put into place to ensure that they did not dry too quickly.

In just over 8 weeks the pottery and gallery were able to re-open for the first time this year. Production was able to begin and the kilns were fired up to 1320ºc which gives their handmade pots their distinctive ‘toasted’ finish.