Volunteers Week 2021 – The people working together to manage flood risk in their communities

Across Wales, there is a network of Community Flood Volunteers, that lead or take part in their community’s response to flooding and work with organisations like Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to help prepare for flooding. 

Kelly McLauchlan, Lead Specialist Advisor for Community Engagement & Resilience at NRW, explains the benefits of a community-led, partnership approach to flood risk management.

The volunteers often develop a Flood Plan using the templates and supporting advice we provide and work within their communities, and for their communities, to help coordinate the plan and promote the plan to other residents who may be at risk of flooding. They provide valuable support to their communities, helping them to prepare for flooding and recover more quickly from flooding.

Community Flood Plans

The overall aim of a Flood Plan is, where possible, to help reduce the risk of harm to people and damage to property.

Working together as a community through a flood plan can have many benefits

It can:

  • Provide coordination, support and guidance to a community before a flood
  • Help share local knowledge during a flood to assist the Emergency Services
  • Help relay local knowledge, concerns and issues to the relevant authorities before and after a flood

More information about Community Flood Plans is available on our what do do before, during and after a flood advice pages: 

Natural Resources Wales / How to prepare your home, business or farm for a flood

Other sources of advice

A Facebook community group is available for Community Flood Volunteers, where NRW shares information about flood risk, and we encourage others to do the same. During normal times we also run volunteer network support events across Wales to bring Community Flood Volunteers together to share best practice, meet organisations who can support them and provide feedback to NRW on flooding issues in their community.

During the recent pandemic when face to face events have not been possible, we have started to publish a quarterly newsletter containing advice, updates and other news of relevance to the Community Volunteers. You can read the latest newsletter and subscribe here: Flooding Matters – Issue 4

You can get in touch with us at befloodready@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk if you’d like to find out if there’s Community Flood Plan in your area. We can put you in touch with your local community group – they may also plan for wider emergencies, or other issues specific to the local area.

How NRW can help

  • We will provide advice and support for people who want to undertake a community volunteer role
  • We will signpost people to other sources of useful information and organisations who can sign them up and manage them and who can provide additional training, kit and insurance, if they wish to take their role further
  • We will continue to arrange and support volunteer network events and will continue to advise groups on the completion and testing of community flood plans, so that communities in Wales are more aware of their flood risk, more proactive about what they can do for themselves, and recover quicker / be more resilient if the worst were to happen in the future
  • We will share information on grant funding available in Wales to support flood resilience
  • We will encourage community groups to self-manage local flood plans, which is happening across Wales. We have seen that these groups tend to be more sustainable if they lead themselves, using NRW and other professional organisations for advice and referring issues that need wider involvement or specialist input
  • We will help groups who ask us for assistance and also refer them to other organisations who can provide practical support specialist advice and further guidance
  • We will continue to improve flood advice available on our website to make it relevant and clear, and signpost to where others can help
  • Following a flood event, we will continue to work with partners including Local Authorities, Utility Companies and the Voluntary Sector to support events to assist with advice
  • In summary, we are here to help you and your communities be more resilient to flooding

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