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What to do before, during and after a flood
Floods can happen anywhere at any time. Find advice to help you be prepared and know what to do when a flood happens.
Floods can happen anywhere at any time. Find advice to help you be prepared and know what to do when a flood happens.
We can't prevent flooding – but we can help people get ready for it and limit its damage.
In the event of a flood, it is important to focus on your safety and the safety of your family. You will find advice here which will help you to prepare and act quickly.
Many organisations have groups of people who are not members of staff to help them think about how the organisation works, how it is run and how it should develop. The Welsh Government will soon be looking for new Board Members for Natural Resources Wales to help take the organisation forward. A key aim is to attract applications from people from all walks of life, so that public body boards become more representative of Wales’ diverse population. Here, Dr Madeleine Havard, one of Natural Resources Wales’s Board Members, shares her experience and throws light on what’s involved…. I‘ve been involved with a wide range of organisations over the years, many of them charities and most of them related to the environment. I am someone who rather than saying ‘what are they going to do about X, Y or Z?’ will tend to think ‘what can I do about X, Y or Z?’ Often, that means getting involved with others to make things happen, or happen differently! This is how I come to be a Board Member of Natural Resources Wales: I’m passionate about our environment, I believe it’s vital to look after it for the benefit of everyone in Wales, and beyond, and especially for the generations to come. So what does a Board Member do? Well, we have many different roles but it boils down to two things really: to help Natural Resources Wales do the job it was set up to do, and ensure that it does that job well. As a Board, we have made our ambitions clear from the outset – we want NRW to lead Wales to be the world’s best at managing our environment and natural resources. Two years on, we have almost completed the groundwork of getting three separate organisations together into one. Now, we are moving into the really exciting phase where we can plan projects that will deliver natural resource management in a more joined up way. Natural Resources Wales is responsible for a huge range of activities in Wales, from growing trees to protecting our seas, reducing flood risk to regulating business. There are always issues of huge importance and great interest to be discussed and debated at the Board: How can we encourage development that works with the environment rather than against it? How should we work with partners to report on the state of natural resources? What are the best ways to manage our rivers and their fish? How can we involve and reflect the diversity of Wales’s people and places in our work? And lots more… In the next few years, we will be responding to the Well-being of Future Generations Bill, the Environment Bill and the Planning Bill, to say nothing of the Heritage Bill, the Review of Designated Landscapes and the Welsh curriculum review. Our challenge is to put sustainable natural resource management at the heart of everything we do, and developing natural resource management plans for every area of Wales will be key to this. The Board is currently made up of nine Members and the Chairperson, selected to bring different points of view, and the ability to call on different experiences, to our discussions. What we all have in common though is our interest in the work of NRW, but who in Wales doesn’t, when our natural resources are so important to us all? A question I get asked a lot is ‘how do you get to be a Board Member?’ The simple answer is you apply! The Welsh Government is eager to see public body boards becoming more representative of the people of Wales and are encouraging people from all areas of Welsh life to think about getting involved. I did just that and was delighted to be appointed. I’ve met many committed and passionate people, visited some brilliant sites and projects, read lots of papers on fascinating subjects, and I hope given helpful guidance and advice on what I think this innovative organisation should be doing. All to help sustain and enhance the environment, people and economy of Wales.
The Wales Coast Path is the first of its kind in the world – and the longest continuous path along a nation’s coastline. Most people will be exploring the path with a smart phone in their pocket, so with our @WalesCoastPath social media accounts we have opportunities to engage with people separately from our main @NatResWales accounts. Going Social – the beginning When we launched the Wales Coast Path in 2012, one of the first things we did was set up our social media channels to spread the word of its launch and to provide platforms for people to share their photos, stories and experiences along the #WalesCoastPath. We only set up Twitter and Facebook accounts initially, as these were the most popular at the time. In the early days we found that it was often the behind the scenes work we did, linking up with various partners and tourism bodies, both locally, nationally and internationally through Visit Wales, that drove their success. After establishing Twitter and Facebook, the initial influx of followers flew in. The visual element (photos, videos and content) of Facebook works well and Twitter proved good as a place to ask questions about the path and interact in real time. The next step… The launch of the Wales Coast Path website, and linking through it to our social media, focused our attention on the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). To help bring us up to the top on Google search, we created a Google+ account which linked to the website. For a long time this remained in the background and was quite static. However, recently there’s been a boom in followers, possibly as more sites like Wales Online and Daily Post are also posting more content on their Google+ channels. So now we are working more proactively to maintain it and post engaging content. Pinterest is an unusual one for us. It works well because it’s visual – so great for posting fantastic images of the Welsh Coast, but it’s not that social as there isn’t much interaction – people just pin the stuff they like! But by using the Google Chrome plugin, it’s very straightforward to maintain and share links to posts on our website. Instagram is a more recent development for us, and has been a bit of a slow burner, but is gradually increasing in terms of followers as more and more people are made aware of our account and are using hashtags like #lovethewelshcoast and #walescoast. The main challenge I find with Instagram is that it is fairly limited to phone use, and therefore a bit trickier to manage from the office. But there are ways around it, and it’s an investment worth making, especially as it’s easy to link up with other social media channels. The reason we have so many channels is that although they mainly do one thing – share information – they do that in different ways to different audiences and serve to maximise the interaction we achieve. Different people have difference likes and dislikes when it comes to social media and we have to make sure we’re catering for this. I’d definitely recommend registering an official social media account with all of the various channels. Even if you don’t use them straight away, they may become more popular or easier to use later on down the line and by then your name could be already taken. The biggest challenge for managing the social media is to allocate the resources to get it set up and maintained. Fortunately, from the beginning of the project we had someone dedicated to working on the digital channels. By now, there are two of us who manage it as part of our jobs, and even sometimes in our own time – after all, not all social interaction happens between 9-5pm. The Wales Coast App Beyond the use of social media we have worked closely with Keep Wales Tidy, Visit Wales and a third party developer to create and improve a Wales Coast app. The app is currently available on the apple and android formats and can be downloaded from our website. Social media is a really important tool for engaging with local users and attracting the visitors that contribute to our economy, enjoy the health benefits of being outdoors and explore our wonderful coastline. We hope to continue building the followers on all our channels and seeing more people share their photos and experiences with us as they continue to discover the shape of a nation!
All the talk of bending iPhone 6 over recent weeks reminded me of our smartphone and tablet rollout at Natural Resources Wales and how it related to the Change Curve. If you’re not familiar with the psychological representation of how humans typically react to disruption in their life, then here is a little graphic… How the Curve works… So, typically, when we get told something is happening, whether it be a change of desk location, new ICT, or moving to a new team, then our gut reaction is “There is no need for this to happen, I’m fine where I am, I’m going to fight this one.” Then, when we realise resistance is futile, we get angry, usually because we are forced to do something we don’t want to. Thoughts such as “I hate my new desk, I hate my new system, my new team are weird” prevent us from moving on. Then maybe we start exploring, perhaps make a new pal in the new team, get the hang of the new kit, or realise the new team do a Domino’s Friday once a month! Finally comes acceptance, and often a feeling of either “this isn’t so bad” or hopefully “I like this much better”, “my new team is great” often accompanied by a slight feeling of silliness and regret that we were so wedded to the past and so inflexible. Why I hate the change curve… I hate the Change curve. It riles me because it so accurate and even though I have been quite informed about it for many years, I realise that it completely reflects the journey I am on every single time there is a change. Mostly I realise half way through the curve, which grates on me a bit – maybe this is a conundrum and I am only just getting used to the Change Curve (have I just moved from Anger to Exploring?) I am very stubborn too (though I prefer the term determined!) and get stuck around the denial and anger phase for much longer than most – see my Yammer blog for a good example of that. On the plus side, I ascend to acceptance and even advocate swiftly, albeit reluctantly at first. Just so you realise just how stuck in my ways I am, I have had the same curry every Sunday night, almost without fail, from the same place for about ten years. A couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t make it and the next time I went there Mr Choudhary, the owner told me he was worried something had happened to me. He gives me Christmas and birthday presents too. I also eat the same breakfast cereal every day, out of the same bowl with the same spoon – there are more examples, but you get the picture! Joining my colleagues on the change curve So the other week, I visited the Cilfynydd depot who were having the new tablets and smartphones rolled out. To show solidarity with my colleagues, I surrendered my desktop PC and switched to a tablet myself. It had been sitting there for three weeks on my desk, so I figured I’d better get out of the “Denial” phase. As it was a change I inflicted on myself, the “Anger” phase was swifter, but not helped by being ill and having a fever, though I didn’t break anything this time. I’m definitely in the “Exploring” phase now and feel comfortable that I have a better appreciation of the journey staff are on. The staff in Cilfynydd all seemed very positive and clearly weren’t too angry with the change, as they directed me to a nice café to pick up some lunch. It’s different for everyone, but I wish I could move through the early phases as quick as some of the guys I met the other week. It would be great to hear your thoughts about riding the change curve – especially if you’re stubborn like me!
The Welsh Government announced on 7 November the results of the quality of Wales’ bathing waters during the 2014 season.
The results show that bathers were able to enjoy clean water at our fantastic beaches.
Here’s a video showing one of our samplers at Dinas Dinlle beach in North Wales. We collected samples from all of the 102 bathing waters every week from May until September.DISCOVER MORE OF OUR VIDEO BLOGS
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