Alternative sandbags donated to a Huddersfield food charity have saved its warehouse from flood damage.

The Welcome Centre’s warehouse is on the Queens Mill Industrial Estate on Queens Mill Road which is vulnerable to flooding from the nearby River Holme at Folly Hall.

After a previous flood at the warehouse, Huddersfield company Environmental Defence Systems Ltd stepped in to help by donating dozens of its award-winning FloodSax sandless sandbags.

They have been stored at the warehouse ever since in case they were needed in a flood emergency and that happened during torrential rain on Friday, October 20.

The river rose alarmingly and flooded Queen’s Road so The Welcome Centre warehouse team quickly energised the FloodSax in water and built them into barriers to stop water pouring in through its large roller shutter doors.

Warehouse manager Jess Johnstone said: “They were an absolute godsend and kept the water out. We have no space for sandbags but the FloodSax come in boxes of 20 so are very space-saving to store.

“We activated them in tubs of water and even large puddles and wheeled bins filled with water so we were quickly in action to keep the floodwater out. If it had got in then it would have put us out action and caused serious damage inside. Floodwater is absolutely filthy and also brings a lot of mud and silt with it but the FloodSax kept everything at bay.

“If we’d been flooded we would have lost stock to flood damage and it would have been a mammoth task to clear up.”

Environmental Defence Systems Ltd is based in Golcar and has now donated more FloodSax to The Welcome Centre to protect its doors, including its large roller shutter ones.

Lucy Bailey from Environmental Defence Systems said: “The Welcome Centre provides such an essential frontline service, never more so than now in the middle of a serious cost-of-living crisis.

“When they contacted us previously looking to buy FloodSax we decided to donate them free of charge so they could spend the money they’d saved on flood prevention buying more items for people who need the food bank to survive.

“Now they’ve used them in action we’ve immediately provided them with some more to give them that peace of mind that they have instant flood prevention on site 24/7 and 365 days a year.”

All donations for the food bank are now collated at the warehouse and then taken up to the charity’s headquarters on Lord Street in Huddersfield town centre where people can pick them up or be sent out direct to people’s homes in emergencies.

FloodSax ( are multi-purpose so in their dry state can soak up water making them ideal for internal escapes of water from faulty pipes, boilers, radiators and sinks.

But once immersed fully in water, the gelling polymer inside absorbs the water and retains it, transforming the FloodSax into an instant sandbag but without any sand. This only takes around five minutes.

Almost three million FloodSax have now been sold worldwide and they are used in countries such as the USA, Australia, Malaysia and Sweden.

They were invented by Huddersfield entrepreneur Richard Bailey who is managing director of Environmental Defence Systems Ltd.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.