Guest blog: Paul Cobbing, Chief Executive of National Flood Forum

Paul Cobbing, Chief Executive of National Flood Forum joins us to look at the importance of the Let’s Talk About Flooding campaign

With the growing population, an increasing demand for housing, ageing infrastructure and the impacts of climate change, flooding is a significant problem which will inevitably threaten and affect many more communities across the country.  Being flooded is often a life changing event for people, affecting their health, employment, education and economic well being, as the example below highlights.

Thanks to the support of Flood Re we have been running a series of events that provide an opportunity for people at risk to share their experiences, build networks and highlight their issues, challenges and successes.  People have been working together to identify their common issues that need to be tackled nationally and locally.

Many flood action groups work tirelessly with partner organisations to reduce the risk of flooding in their communities and they are a fantastic way of helping to drive change.  People often have knowledge about their area that professional organisations simply can’t access, so this is combined with professional expertise to manage risk in the most effective ways.  They are also the people most affected – professionals go home at night to a dry home, those at risk always live in fear of having their homes destroyed.

Whilst we need many more flood action groups across the country, we also need places for individuals to talk and share their experiences.  The events have provided an important platform for people to talk and meet others different communities as well as industry professionals to network, seek advice and information.

Our first event in Birmingham was a great success with a fantastic attendance. We were joined by one of our Trustees, Anne Wheeler who opened the event and Bob Haddon from Shifnal Flood Partnership Group who discussed the groups journey and experiences with flooding and the challenges of trying to bring about change.

There was a lot of discussion, interesting insight and thoughts about what we can do to push flood risk community’s agenda forward.

It was great to be meet some new faces who share our passion for protecting communities at risk of flooding and pushing for change.

It was great to be meet some new faces who share our passion for protecting communities at risk of flooding and pushing for change.

This was followed by a second successful event hosted in Tonbridge. We’ve had some great feedback from our Birmingham and Tonbridge attendees:

“The event was really useful”

“It’s a great idea to link flood groups along a stream or river”

“It’s great to hear from others in the same situation”

“It’s good to know that there are people out there organising flood relief”

So where does this all take us?  Whilst there were lots of ideas about how to reduce flood risk effectively there was also a real enthusiasm for working together across the country to help make this happen.  People identified some very big issues that need to be tackled nationally and locally in the way that we manage water and there was a recognition that the best chance of creating a safer future, of reducing the fear of flooding, is if we work collectively to bring about change.

We’re looking forward to our upcoming events in 2019 so keep an eye out for where and when we’ll be visiting an area near you and Let’s Talk About Flooding!

 

 

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