Issued 12 April 2018
ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) is supporting community resilience and emergency planning activities across Cumbria, as part of a 3 year BIG Lottery funded programme. This includes helping people to get together to share their experiences, think about future risks and what they might do to be better prepared.
All over Cumbria communities are having conversations about the difficulties caused by extreme weather, such as heavy snowfall or flooding, and other major disruption. Some focus on how households can be better prepared, or how good neighbour activities can increase community resilience, others choose to write a Community Emergency Plan. Two such communities in Cumbria are Kendal and Appleby.
In Kendal ACT helped to establish a Community Emergency Planning Group, supporting them to raise funds, promote their activities locally, link up with local authority support, and write a plan using an ACT template. They are now far better prepared to respond in a bad weather emergency situation, with good communications networks and a growing group of hands-on volunteers. The group has also distributed a Household Emergency leaflet, prepared by ACT, to 2500 homes in Kendal, to encourage personal resilience and good neighbourly behaviour.
Joe Murray QPM, Chair of Kendal Community Emergency Planning Group explains how ACT supported the group: “When looking to put a plan together, Kendal Community Emergency Planning Group found the template Community Emergency Plan and guidance from ACT was ideal to lead us through the whole process from start to finish.
“In times of emergencies it is vitally important that householders also know and understand how best to prepare themselves. ACT’s Household Emergency Plan leaflet leaves you in no uncertainty about how best to prepare for such events.
“ACT has gone to great lengths to ensure communities and households are better prepared for emergencies and these tools reflect a great deal of thought and commitment to deal with such events.”
Appleby Emergency Response Group has also received support from ACT, helping them to develop a plan which is appropriate for Appleby, based on local needs, volunteers, and their experience of previous events. ACT helped the group to access a small grant, provided by Eden District Council, to assist with the process. The grant is available to all communities in Eden to help with emergency planning and anyone interested can contact ACT for details.
Mandy Morland, Project Coordinator for Appleby Emergency Response Group describes the activities of their group: “Volunteers of the Appleby Emergency Response Group have been busy visiting properties in the flood risk areas of Appleby, delivering leaflets and carrying out a survey to find out what support the residents would need in the event of an emergency, such as a flood. Our volunteers can be easily recognised by their high-vis waistcoats kindly donated from Metcalfe Plant Hire.
"We have prepared a Community Emergency Plan with the support from ACT and are currently kitting out our volunteers with a full supply of PPE using funding provided by Cumbria Community Foundation and supported by donations from Waitings and Thomas Graham of Carlisle.
“A Facebook page for the group has been well received and a website is also at the development stage. NFU Mutual donated Walkie-Talkies for the group which will prove invaluable in the event of the town being divided by flooding, like what happened during Storm Desmond. A recent Volunteer Training event was well attended and this confirmed the commitment of a dedicated team of volunteers who are willing to give up their time to help and support the community of Appleby.”
ACT wants to help more communities think about community preparedness and how local people can support each other in difficult times. Rose Lord, ACT Development Officer for West Cumbria gave details of an upcoming ‘Keeping Your Community Safe in an Emergency’ event at Thwaites Village Hall, Millom, on Thursday 19th April: “This free event is a great introduction for anyone wanting to know more about community resilience and preparedness. Anyone who is interested in how their local community can be better prepared is welcome to come along.
“Louise Coid, Copeland Borough Council’s Emergency Planning and Community Safety Officer, will also be explaining the role of the district council in emergency situations. It’s not all about communities writing plans though, we’ll also be looking at how village halls can act as places of safety when people need to get together or leave their homes in an emergency.”
To book onto the event or for more information please contact ACT on Tel: 01228 817224 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who can’t make it, if there is enough interest ACT can arrange further events in other areas in the county.
Photo: ACT Development Officers, Rose Lord and Hellen Aitken, with the Household Emergency Plan leaflet
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