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NNDC encourages communities to help themselves

06 February 2013

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has run its first ‘Community Resilience’ workshop, and is encouraging communities to ‘help themselves’ and be better prepared in the event of an emergency.

Get Ready for Winter

Local residents and representative from partner agencies, including the Environment Agency, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, the British Red Cross, HM Coastguard, Flood Sense and voluntary group 4x4 Response, joined NNDC’s Civil Contingencies Manager, Richard Cook, at Sandy Hills Café in Sea Palling on Monday 28 January to help communities understand what they can do to help themselves.

Chosen as one of the few buildings close to the seafront that still stands following the great flood of 1953, Sandy Hills Café acted as a poignant reminder of how devastating the floods were for those who lost loved ones, homes, cattle and land. A display of pictures depicted a community united in grief, but one determined to rally round and recover.

NNDC is hoping that the community resilience workshops will reinvigorate such community spirit and is encouraging people to consider forming local emergency teams.

NNDC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, John Lee, said “Creating teams of local people, with an understanding of local issues and threats that are prevalent in the area, can help to improve the bond between residents and help strengthen communication between communities and emergency service providers.”

Any member of the community can volunteer to act as a Community Emergency Coordinator. The role involves putting together a simple resilience plan by gathering information which may be useful to a community in the event of an emergency. The plan might include a map, lists of vulnerable people, a coordination or meeting point, a note of those with specialist skills (doctor, for example) and any notable risks within the community the plan is being devised for.

NNDC is offering the first three communities that create and publish their community resilience plans a free emergency pack. The pack incudes solar blankets, a first aid kit, high visibility jackets and other useful items. Additionally, the first three communities to publish their plans and carry out a plan validation exercise will be entitled to a free, enhanced emergency pack. This includes extra items such a heavy duty dry bag and a set of two-way radios.

Mr Lee continues, “The packs will certainly aid communities to help themselves in the event of an emergency. I am confident that we can start to rebuild the sort of community spirit that was in abundance during the great floods of 1953, and I am pleased to hear that several communities have already made contact for more support and advice”

Additional meetings and workshops can be arranged where residents interested in community resilience can network with other teams and gain help to create their own plans. Funding for those interested in setting up a community resilience group may be available through the North Norfolk Big Society Fund.

For more information and for advice, support and guidance on how you can make your community resilient and better prepared to handle emergency situations, please contact Richard Cook on 01263 516172 or visit www.northnorfolk.org/environment/3235.asp

Further information can be found at www.norfolkprepared.gov.uk and www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/community-resilience