Chew Magna is one of the first villages to benefit from flood warden training provided by Communities Prepared, a newly piloted programme in the South West, funded by The National Lottery and run by the charity Groundwork South in partnership with the Environment Agency, Cornwall Community Flood Forum and Cornwall College. The village’s experienced team of flood wardens has received free specialist training through the programme, learning how to develop a flood plan and recruit and train a team of community wardens in preparation for future flooding.
Sixteen local volunteer flood wardens attended the training at Chew Magna’s Millennium Hall on Saturday 26 November 2016, just days after localised flooding caused by Storm Angus resulted in two primary schools being closed and some houses being evacuated.
Lynne Easton, Parish Councillor and Flood Warden Coordinator for Chew Magna said: “After the 2012 floods in Chew Magna it became clear we needed to coordinate the professional and volunteer support for the rapid response needed for our catchment area. As Coordinator, my role was to establish a team of neighbourhood wardens for each of the ten zones and to develop a Flood Plan. The way we managed to get the village so quickly back to normal after the recent floods shows how much more resilient we are now.
“The Communities Prepared training has been terrific and will help us ensure our volunteers are protected. It has also given us new knowledge into how the emergency services work and skills to tackle flooding. It has given us a lot of ideas of how we can work even better together in the future.”
Rose Lloyd, Flood Resilience Advisor for the Environment Agency’s Wessex region that includes Chew Magna, also contributed to the training event. She said: “It is great to see the strong community spirit in Chew Magna; all credit must go to Lynne and the flood wardens for the hard work and dedication they put in as volunteers to make their community prepared for flooding.
Working with the Communities Prepared project gives us extra capacity to support and empower flood wardens and community volunteers to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies safely and effectively “.
Liz Richardson (Conservative, Chew Valley North), the Bath & North East Somerset Council Cabinet Member for Homes and Planning, said: “As recent events have shown it is important that individuals and communities are prepared to manage their flood risk in order to be more resilient to the impacts of flooding. What the community has achieved in Chew Magna is a fantastic demonstration of what can be accomplished when local people work together with conviction in order to deal with a real and present risk that affects the whole community.
“It’s great to see that the work achieved in Chew Magna is going from strength-to-strength and the support from the programme is is a terrific boost for everyone involved. From the Council’s point of view it’s great to know that there is such robust flood warden training place. Well done to everyone involved.”