The weekend’s floods were the worst Mid Suffolk has experienced for many years.

It has been a deeply distressing time for many of our residents and businesses, who have seen property damaged and lives disrupted.

It will take time for people to pick up the pieces. Dealing with insurance companies, drying out homes, clearing out water-damaged items, repairing damage – there is a lot to do.

Our council will continue to do all we can to support residents, businesses and communities during this recovery period.

Additional council staff have been deployed since the weekend in the worst affected areas to assist with the clean-up – areas like Debenham, Stowmarket, and Needham Market. We’ve also been working with our Suffolk Highways colleagues to clean up the roads and pavements.

If you live in Mid Suffolk and your home was flooded, the district council may be able to help with the collection of things like wet carpets or water-damaged furniture.

We’ve launched a service this week, and you can find details by visiting our website – this provides a link to where you can log a request for a collection.

However, people are also advised to speak to their insurance company beforehand about what you can move and throw away, as well as taking photos of any damage and the flood water line.

At difficult moments like this, the strength of people working together shines through even more than usual. That was certainly the case on Friday and at the weekend.

Our council officers worked alongside our emergency service colleagues, our councillors were out on the ground identifying the urgent issues in their communities, and our town and parish councils did some fantastic work.

The public sector across Suffolk – including councils, the NHS, emergency services – works together effectively at times like this in the form of the Suffolk Resilience Forum.

But today I really want to shine the spotlight on the people in the community who stepped up magnificently throughout the floods.

This includes local volunteers who helped their neighbours, family and friends.

Special thanks go to those farmers and tractor drivers who helped rescue stranded motorists and ferry children through floodwater. This happened in Debenham and many other places.

Debenham Leisure Centre staff provided an overnight rest centre for those forced from their homes.

Teachers and school staff ensured the safety of children on Friday afternoon when flood waters rose and pupils couldn’t get home.

There will be many more examples that I’ve missed, but I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone.

It was a difficult weekend, and there is still a lot of work to do, but we should recognise this fantastic show of community spirit.

I would also urge you to continue to look out for your neighbours during this recovery period, especially those who are vulnerable. Please contact the council if you see any situations which you think need action, particularly if anyone needs help with housing.

While the initial emergency is over, there is still a danger that people find themselves with housing difficulties due to flood damage.

We’ll continue to tackle the clean-up, but this will take time – the Mid Suffolk district was arguably the hardest hit by the flooding in the county. We will continue until it is done.

Along with our public sector partners, we will also be reviewing the events of the last week to see what else we can do in the future. Extreme weather events like this may be rare, but we will always want to be as prepared as possible.

If you need any advice about how you can prepare for a flood, visit our website. This has information about how to check if your home or business is in a flood risk area and how to get flood alerts.

For now though, our thoughts are with all those impacted. And, once again, thank you to everyone who stepped up over the weekend.

Andy Mellen is leader of Mid Suffolk District Council