£483k programme launched to support community resilience across the country
The Communities Prepared Programme, led by community charity, Groundwork, has been awarded a £483,109 grant from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund to expand its reach over the next three years by supporting communities across the country to be better placed to respond to, and recover, from flooding and other emergencies.
The project’s pilot phase ran from February 2016 to February 2018, providing free training and support to more than 270 volunteer flood wardens from over 30 communities across South West England. Participants were helped to create flood action plans based on their local knowledge and to work with the emergency services to prepare and respond to the challenges their communities face. As well as direct training, these communities were also provided with toolkits featuring essential information and practical advice, enabling them to feel better informed, confident and able to remain safe and play an effective role before, during and after a flood.
Delivered once again by Groundwork in partnership with Cornwall Community Flood Forum and Cornwall College Business, and with support from the Environment Agency and other organisations, the next phase will see a national roll-out of the programme to many more at risk communities. Central to this will be the development and launch of a hub and digital platform, featuring staff, a website, adaptable community resources, training and a train the trainer programme, advice, community development and support, and a smartphone app. These resources will be made available through a tiered membership offer, enabling communities to easily access the level of support they need.
The partnership recognises that despite the great work carried out in the pilot phase, there is a real need for the continuation of this project. More than 5 million properties in England are currently at risk of flooding, not to mention the growing number of other emergencies that local communities may have to face. The wide ranging impacts of such events are often felt for years but, with the appropriate support and resources, volunteer wardens can bring considerable benefits to their community and play a significant role in helping to limit this.
Lindy Kelly, Executive Director Groundwork South, said “We are delighted to have this opportunity to take forward the great work already delivered by the Communities Prepared partnership in the South West and support many more communities facing a real risk of flooding and other emergencies.
The project has already demonstrated what can be achieved through multi agency working and by community volunteers, and we look forward to building on this further as part of its national roll-out.”