Digital Hero Rob scoops £5,000 for flood project

Rob Holden
Rob Holden

A man who set up an online support group for people affected by flooding in the upper Calder Valley has won a major award.

Rob Holden, who formed the Calder Valley Flood Victims group on Facebook in the aftermath of the devastating flooding in summer 2012, has won the Yorkshire and Humber region of the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards.

And news of his win is also a boost for businesses and residents in the upper Calder Valley, as the £5,000 prize money will be used for a scheme to help people in times of flooding.

“It’s absolutely brilliant news,” Rob said.

“It’s really down to the support of friends, colleagues and, mainly, the people on the Facebook group in the upper Calder Valley.

“It just goes to show what community support we have and what can be achieved by the community pulling together.

“It feels great.

“I’m not really one for awards but it’s more the fact that we have won £5,000 and that is going to go with some funding we have been given from Defra and we are going to use this to put together a scheme that’s going to help people in times of flooding.”

“I’d like to say a big thank you to all the people who have voted.

“This award is for them as much as it is for me.

“If they had not put in their hard work and supported the group, I would not have been nominated.

“The Calder Valley deserves a lot of credit for it.”

After winning the regional round of the competition, Rob now goes forward to the national final at the House of Commons in November.

All the finalists have to produce a film detailing what the money will be spent on and how their projects will be developed.

The panel of judges will then choose the overall winner.

“There’s tremendous competition,” Rob said.

“We’ve got through to the final 12, which is brilliant.

“Winning would be the cherry on top of the cake. It would be absolutely awesome.

“It’s very high profile and that can only be good news.

“If it gains the project more exposure, that’s a good thing on its own.

“When it is completed, the project will make such a difference, not only to the people of the Calder Valley who are experiencing flooding but it’s something that we should be able to roll out nationally.

“I’m really excited about it.”

Rob thanked Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker for his support and for nominating him for the award.

Craig was full of praise for Rob’s efforts.

“I’m really, really pleased for him,” Craig said.

“As we all know, Rob has done some incredible work over the last year on the back of the floods and it’s great that he has received this recognition.

“We’re all rooting for him to do well on the national stage too.”