VOLUNTEERS are stepping up to help flood victims with some new online services.

Flood victims across the UK got aid from an unexpected source last week – complete strangers volunteering practical help via the internet.

The Flood Volunteers (www.floodvolunteers.co.uk) website was put together in a matter of hours by a team of geeks who were keen to do what they could to help.

The home page looks simple, but delve deeper and you’ll find a large database of people offering their time, labour, and in some cases even their spare rooms as temporary accommodation for people who’ve had to leave their homes. Other people are offering equipment – everything from sand for sandbags to a mini digger, to new toys for children whose own have been lost.

The site is intended to work both ways – not just as a source of offers, but also as a way to get help if you need it.

A group of volunteers also gathered in London last week to work on their own ideas.

You can see their collaborative notes at tinyurl.com/ukfloodhelp.

Some of the ideas gathered there aren’t new, but would benefit from more volunteer help (or in some cases, from some funding).

For example, the Oxford Flood Network (oxfloodnet.co.uk) proposes a national network of low-cost sensors attached underneath bridges and buildings and connected to the net, making it easier to build up a picture of rising water levels.