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Community

Understanding flood risk at a local level and taking appropriate action can help communities become more flood resilient. Communities can work with key agencies to manage their flood risk by forming a flood action group, creating a community flood plan, and considering the potential for developing a community flood scheme.

Community Flood Action Groups

A flood action group is a voluntary group of local residents who meet on a regular basis to work on behalf of the wider community to help to try and reduce the impact of future flood events. The focus of the group can be based around emergency planning and can also tackle local issues, whilst providing a unified voice for the community to communicate ideas and queries to others.

It is within the remit of each individual group to decide on its own roles, responsibilities, aims and objectives.

The roles of a flood action group could include:

  • Spread awareness of flood risk within the community.
  • Monitor local conditions e.g. community volunteers keeping an eye out for blocked drains.
  • Develop and review a community flood plan.
  • Look out for vulnerable members of the community.
  • Prepare for and take action during a flood event.
  • Identify key flooding issues within the community and who is responsible.
  • Build relationships and lines of communication with key agencies.
  • Lobbying of decision makers and commenting on Government consultations.
  • Influence the development of future flood scheme opportunities to better manage flood risk.

For more information, download our resource on flood action groups here.

 

Depending on the scope of the work, it could be recommended that a flood action group has public liability insurance. This may be available through your local neighbourhood watch group.

An established group can encourage the wider community to get involved, including not just residents but also local businesses, landowners and professional partners, as they can be important in improving flood resilience within the community. Our resource on how to reduce the impacts of flooding contains information on community flood resilience and can be downloaded here.

If your community is situated in a flood warning area, you can encourage residents and local businesses to sign up to receive flood alerts and warnings; a free service from the Environment Agency.

 

Hover over each benefit below to explore the multiple benefits of community flood groups. Download the full resource with explanations here.

Tackling Local Issues

A flood event often focuses attention to flood risk issues which can be localised to individuals and communities, or could affect the wider area leading to a catchment approach. Flooding issues that arise may relate to rivers or smaller watercourses, sewers and drainage, infrastructure care and maintenance, and much more. A community that has experienced flooding may be best placed to assess where issues arise, and can work with Risk Management Authorities (RMAs) to consider potential solutions. Communities can work together with key RMAs to manage their flood risk by forming a flood action group. A flood action group can work on behalf of the wider community, providing a single voice that can work/communicate with the RMAs to find solutions.


 

Online Community Engagement

As well as face to face engagement, communities can utilise online engagement platforms to host community meetings with themselves or external agencies and authorities. Online engagement is particularly useful in a number of circumstances, for example if there was extreme weather, a global pandemic or a lack of facilities in the area. It allows for communities to continue to work together along with external agencies and authorities, to receive up to date information and ask flood related questions.

Online engagement can take place through:

  • Online group meetings – These are useful for community groups to hold discussions and ask the host questions. They can be used to replace their normal face to face meetings to allow the group to get together online and discuss how to progress their actions. Cameras and microphones can either be switched on or off.
  • Webinars – These involve one speaker who presents to a group of people. There is limited opportunity for interaction as those who watch are often muted with their cameras switched off automatically. There are chat buttons and question and answer buttons where users can type questions to the host, however these questions are usually answered at the end of the session or even after it.
  • Online conferences – These are similar to group meetings, but they tend to be more formal. They allow for more interaction than webinars and could be more suitable for a large number of attendees who may not know each other. There is usually more time for interaction with the host and allows questions to be asked and answered.

These are some of the following programmes that are available to use:

  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams
  • GoToMeeting
  • GoToWebinar
  • Adobe Connect
  • CloudApp
  • Skype
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook messenger video

The format of the meeting is dependent on the aim and the host should decide which is the most appropriate.

For more information on online community engagement, click here.