SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Building Relationships / Community Flood Groups
The SRA’s new community engagement team have been getting out to places to meet parish councils and people at risk of flooding, to discuss concerns and offer support. Communities visited have included: Aller, Bridgwater, Burrowbridge, Cheddar, Huish Episcopi, Langport, Martock, Monksilver, Moorland, Othery, Somerton, Stawell, Thorney, Washford, Wedmore, West Camel and Westonzoyland.
Dawn and Emma want to help communities build local resilience by developing and strengthening relationships.
Put simply: ‘make friends before you need them’.
So, for example, Dawn and Emma worked with residents in Langport and Huish Episcopi who were eager to re-establish a local flood group. Together they won support from Langport Town Council and Huish Episcopi Parish Council, then in March 2020 held a very successful recruitment day in Huish school hall, followed by a tour of Langport flood defences hosted by staff from the Environment Agency. The group’s intention is that every area at risk of flooding in Langport and Huish Episcopi should benefit from a dedicated cadre of flood wardens.
Chris Bottomley, of Langport and Huish Episcopi Flood Group, said: “The SRA community engagement team acted as a catalyst in getting the first Flood Group meeting off the ground. It was useful to be able to access contacts through the SRA and also the SRA provided significant help in putting the meeting together by providing resources and literature for the meeting that would not have otherwise been available to us. The tour of the Langport pumping station was also very interesting.”
Dawn and Emma have been contacting flood groups across Somerset. It is intended to establish networks and communication systems that would allow volunteer flood wardens to share information and knowledge, and support each other.