Communities can bid for grants of up to £500 to support the development of their emergency and flood plans under a new scheme launched by Cornwall Council.

With towns and villages around the county affected by severe storms in 2010 and 2012, the Council has been working with communities to help develop emergency and/or flood plans.

The grant is available to groups with a plan in place as well as those looking to set one up. Those with existing plans can claim up to £500 to further develop their schemes or buy items such as emergency blankets, torches or high visibility jackets for volunteer wardens. Groups who want to start making their emergency or flood plan can apply for an initial grant of £100 to get the plan off the ground with up to another £500 available on the plan’s completion.

£50,000 has been allocated to this grant scheme in the first instance, with funding coming from the Government’s Severe Weather Recovery grant.

“This funding cannot be spent on infrastructure repairs, so increasing resilience and supporting our communities is a positive use of the funding,” said Councillor Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Housing and Environment. “We are pleased to be able to offer grants to those groups who already have plans in place as well as those communities who want to set up a plan for their area.”

A Community Emergency Plan is something that is developed by a local community to help them be more prepared during the initial stages of an unexpected event or emergency in their area. This could be a flood, fire or another incident that affects part or the whole of a community. By having a plan in place, the community can better support itself until the emergency services and other support agencies are able to attend. Plans can be developed for residential areas as well as other areas such as town centres or industrial estates.

“The call for volunteers to help our Parish in an emergency produced a warm response and many people came forward to offer their skills and services. These included first aiders and trained nurses, those who can drive tractors and four wheel drive vehicles, and members with chainsaws and lifting equipment as well as general helpers to man emergency reception centres, should they be needed,” said Robert Wright, Cury Parish Emergency Plan Coordinator.

“Our emergency plan was developed around the volunteers available and is designed to cope with most situations, there being no specific event that is likely to pose a threat. The launch event last year produced an encouraging number of attendees.”

There are currently thirteen completed plans in Cornwall with another 27 in development. The Police, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency strongly support such plans being put in place.

“If a community has a plan in place it provides us with vital information which enables us to respond quicker and possibly save lives,” said Chief Superintendent Julie Fielding, Policing Commander for Cornwall. “We would encourage more communities in Cornwall to consider creating a plan.”

Cornwall Council will shortly be writing to those groups with completed plans informing them how they can apply for a grant. If you want to find out more about setting up a plan, visit our Emergency Plan pages.

The grant scheme builds on work carried out by the Council and the Cornwall Community Flood Forum (CCFF) between June 2013 and March 2015 to help communities understand and respond to their risk of flooding. One of 13 local authorities to receive Defra funding to deliver the Community Flood Resilience Pathfinder project, the Council has recently published its evaluation of the project.

Among the success stories the project has delivered;

  • Bespoke training for flood wardens – developed by the Council and CCFF, this training has attracted national interest. There are almost 300 flood wardens throughout Cornwall, Devon and Somerset who have received this training. Flood wardens help their communities look at how they can best protect themselves before, during and after a flood.
  • The funding has helped the CCFF to grow on both a local and national stage. The organisation’s work in bringing together local communities, authorities and interested parties has been cited as an example of best practice.

Read the Cornwall Flood Resilience Pathfinder report in full.