Ard Rock event raises £50,000 for storm ravaged Swaledale community

Flash floods and storms hit this year’s Ard Rock Enduro Festival, cancelling the event and inflicting considerable damage on the local communities of Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and Wensleydale.

The cycle community, including the event organisers, were among those which mobilised in response and appealed for donations to support and rebuild those local communities.

Now, just weeks after, almost £50,000 has been raised. The Two Ridings Community Foundation got its biggest boost to the fundraising effort with a £48,655 donation from the organisers of Ard Rock.

The racing usually takes place in the Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Valleys, and Ard Rock had been due to run over 2-3 August 2019. Cancellation came at short notice following devastating flash flooding which damaged roads, homes and infrastructure close to the event site on 31 July. Immediately after cancelling the event, the team – led by Joe and Kelly Rafferty – turned their efforts to fund raising to help the local community get back on its feet. As well as raffling of a high-end Santa Cruz mountain bike they set up a donation page and asked their participants to support the Swaledale and Arkengrathdale communities.

The donation to The Swaledale and Wensleydale Recovery Fund, which is being managed by the Two Ridings Community Foundation, will be used to ensure that the families and small businesses affected in Arkengarthdale and Swaledale have long-term support to help them recover from the effects of flooding. This includes awards to the Parish Councils as well as payments to residents to help them with the costs of temporary accommodation, running dehumidifiers or replacing items such as white goods and essential furniture. The Fund will also support local farm businesses in hardship. £30,000 of the money raised by Ard Rock has already been donated to Akrengarthdale, Reeth and Grinton Parish Councils to assist them with immediate repair work on severely damaged land to protect properties and businesses.

Joe Rafferty from Ard Rock said: “Swaledale and Arkengarthdale have been the host of Ard Rock for seven years now, and the valleys and beautiful scenery have given us all so many good times and special memories. On behalf of all the Ard Rock participants and the mountain bike community, we are delighted that the funds we raised will help the local community recover. We would also like to thank the Two Ridings Community Foundation for managing our donation and their hard work so far, we have full confidence that they will ensure that it is used in the best possible way.”

Jan Garill, Chief Executive of Two Ridings Community Foundation, said: “The donation from Ard Rock reflects the special place this community has for all the people involved in the Ard Rock event. We will ensure that the Fund’s donation is used to help people in the affected area get back on their feet again. But in the meantime, the Dales are open for business as usual, so do continue to visit and support our amazing community”.