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Forming a Scottish Community Flood Resilience Group

Why have a Community Flood Resilience Group?      Community of interest
Group agenda and community flood plans         Facilitate not dominate
Structure of the group and group constitution       Using existing networks
Community hostility       Need help forming your group?

If your community suffers from flooding, or is at risk from future flood events, forming a community based flood resilience group to work on behalf of local residents and businesses is an effective way to minimise the effects of flooding.

61 community flood groups have been set up throughout Scotland by the Scottish Flood Forum and work closely with agencies such as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), local authorities, water companies and the emergency planning agencies.

Flood groups closely reflect the interests of local communities and differ from area to area, depending on the particular issues faced by those communities and it is our role to provide help and ongoing support to all flood resilience groups.

Request help now in forming a group in your area

Why have a Community Flood Resilience Group?

If a community is facing a particular issue and needs a local and focused way of dealing with that issue then flood groups are formed to:

  • Co-ordinate community action in the event of a flood.
  • Bulk buy flood prevention equipment.
  • Be part of a wider community resilience programme or community development initiative.
  • Offer support and be supported by those who are also effected by flooding.

The most important thing is the flood group is there for you and your community to help minimise the impact of flooding and to ensure that a plan is in place if flooding does occur. The Scottish Flood Forum will help you set up a group and will be there to support you. They will help you attract interest in the group through offering advice about raising media interest. They will help you establish a group agenda and will maintain regular contact with your group through meeting attendance, newsletters and personal contact with key flood group members.

 

Here are some things to think about if you are interested in forming a flood group:

Community of interest

You have what is technically known as “a community of interest”, in other words people see a problem and want it solved. They do not all need to have the same motives or solutions in mind. For any group to work it needs to represent a body of opinion or a community. The best way of doing this is to arrange a public meeting. The Scottish Flood Forum will help you to arrange this first meeting and will support you once the group is up and running. The most important thing is to get people along to your meeting. This will involve advertising locally with posters or flyers, putting an announcement in the local press and using any community magazines or websites.

The group really needs to be formed during this first public meeting. If a further meeting is arranged, interest can wane quickly and it may be hard to get people along again.

Group agenda and community flood plans

It is important to establish what the flood group is there to do. This will depend on the local situation. Things to consider are:

  • What measures can the group take to minimise the risk of flooding (for instance, bulk buying flood products to reduce costs).
  • Whether there are wider issues that need to be discussed with agencies involved in flooding.
  • What can the group do in the event of a flood (including identifying a network of key people with responsibilities and identifying vulnerable members of the community who need help during a flood).
  • Identifying a group agenda and plan for the prevention stages of a flood, for during a flood and for the recovery phase if a flood does occur will result in the production of a community flood plan. The Scottish Flood Forum will help you identify priorities and form a tailored plan for your community.

Facilitate not dominatehawickfwg-thumb.jpg

Individuals within the community will have their own points of view and opinions. The purpose of a public meeting should be to understand these views and explore potential solutions together. If representatives from organisations such as SEPA or the local authority are invited to your meeting, it is important to make sure they are given a chance to contribute and that their reception is civilised. No-one likes being shouted at and agencies are far more likely to be cooperative if they think you are a group of people they can work with.

Structure of the group and group constitution

Different people have different skills. Make use of these by allowing everyone in the group a chance to contribute and by taking an open mind. It’s not always the loudest people in the group who make it work! Everyone has something to contribute. Once the group is formed it is wise to adopt a constitution. This shows the outside world that the group has a mandate and elected officers to represent their community.

The main points of any constitution are:

  • What it is set up to do (objectives).
  • How it will do those things (powers).
  • Who will run it (committee/board).
  • What happens if changes need to be made (amendment provision).
  • What happens if it wishes to wind up (dissolution provision).
  • How the group or association will be run.
  • Internal arrangements for meetings, voting, looking after money, etc.

This may sound complicated but the Scottish Flood Forum will support you in establishing your group constitution.

Using existing networks

Perhaps your community already has an existing community organisation which is concerned with community resilience or development. This could be anything from a neighbourhood watch scheme to a green transition scheme. Have a think about whether it makes sense to contact members from other groups or to see whether your interests coincide with other groups. Flood groups are there to serve your community, so it is worthwhile exploring whether they will do this best by being connected to a wider community group (perhaps as a sub-group) or standing as a separate group.

Community hostility

Because flooding is such a traumatic event, hostility may have built up both within the community and towards external agencies. This should not stop you from forming a flood group! Forming a group and discussing both internal and external problems is the best way to take a positive step forward rather than complaining without taking positive action. The priority is to establish a group and plan of action which will serve the community. Please remember as an independent organisation, the Scottish Flood Forum can act as a mediator in difficult situations.

Above all create a community flood group that supports and helps your community through the trauma of flooding

Need help forming your group?

We provide assistance in establishing community flood groups throughout Scotland.  Please also download our Flood Group Guide from the ‘Factsheets’ page.