The major flooding experienced on 26th December impacted upon many communities in the North of England. What was taken for granted, traffic, Internet, power, food and shelter, were lost for many within a matter of hours, over the Christmas holidays.
The university under its Greenvision project has initiated a consultation project to investigate how communities have responded and what they have learned in response to the flood events.
This study culminated in the flood risk and community engagement event which was held at old broadcasting house on Monday 23rd May. Our three Keynote speakers included Mike Potter from the Pickering civic society who presented an excellent examination of an integrated community project integrating passive natural systems such as leaky dams, forestry management and uplands management. Dr Frances MacGuire who has extensive experience in environmental risk analysis provided a personal account of the immediate clean up and recovery in Hebden Bridge. The immediate impact and how community centres play a focal role in disaster recovery was presented by Phil Marken, a volunteer and owner at the Open Source Arts Centre in Kirkstall. Phil was involved in providing local community support using the arts centre and Facebook to coordinate the clean-up and reopening of local businesses.
Each of the key note speakers chaired a series of round table sessions and were joined by Gillian Darbyshire, president of the Whalley Lions club in Lancashire, proving we can work across borders and recognise the interconnection of our communities.
The round table sessions summarised good practice and considered the next steps. We concluded that community, communications and the coordination of vital information are important. Knowing who is where and who are the most vulnerable was critical. Social media is seen as an invaluable tool. Everyone is now planning for the next time, where to meet, what to store and how to replan and refurbish housing and shops to overcome the inevitable damage from future flooding events.
Through the event, everyone wished to keep in touch, particularly on learning how to apply for grant aid or simple hard cash. We hope our Greenvision event can provide a means of linking communities.
The presentations can be viewed at the link below along with our storify collating the best images and tweets from the event.