Making a Showcase of Flood Resilience

Jan 29 2018

Mary Dhonau OBE, the head of the Know Your Flood Risk campaign, has been spearheading an exciting flood resilience project for Cumbria. Funded primarily by private businesses, with support from the NW Regional Flood & Coastal Committee and the Environment Agency, the project aims to make three property showcases for flood resilience, to demonstrate to home and business owners just what can be done to reduce the devastation that flooding can cause.

Mary has rallied support from companies and individuals who were willing to support the campaign; through funding, donation of materials, services or man power.

Confirms Mary: “At the outset, I originally described this project as a bit like ‘Challenge Anneka’, only this time, it was ‘Challenge Mary’, yet with a serious message to really show just how flood resilience is possible. Two properties were selected in conjunction with Carlisle City Council, who were able to identify candidate properties – a community centre and a home – both located in Cumbria, and both of which had been hit hard by flooding over the years.” Should further funding become available, we hope to then adapt a business to make it flood resilient in the future.

Since the launch of the project in mid-2017, it has received input from property surveyors, flood protection providers and builders specialising in flood resilience repairs. Plus, the team is working in partnership with The Prince’s Business Emergency Resilience Group from Business in the Community, Adler and Allan, the Environment Agency as well as the Building Research Establishment (BRE), which has been providing its expertise, services and flood mitigation products along the way. We also thank Flood Re and AXA for supporting the project.

Continues Mary: “The Minister, Therese Coffey, and the Chair of the EA, Emma Howard Boyd visited the community centre just before Christmas and were impressed by the work we have completed, particularly the flood resilient kitchen which is rather beautiful. These ‘showcase’ properties will ultimately enable other home and businesses owners to see just what can be done to reduce the impact of flooding. Having been flooded myself, I know how awful it is and I also know the huge benefit of using flood resilience measures. As a result, I am evangelical about flood resilience and have spent many years promoting it far and wide!”

The results of the team’s efforts at the Botcherby Community Centre can be seen on a project film, which is now available on YouTube. The Community Centre was severely flooded on the 5th December 2015, when Storm Desmond hit and it had never fully re-opened since those devastating floods. Now, with the flood measures in place, the online video diary documents the work that has taken place to make flood recovery far easier in the future.

You can watch video footage of the Resilient Showcase project in action here: