As concern over the level of funding allocated to flood response work grows, one group of Lynn residents are preparing themselves for the worst of the elements.
An awareness event was held at the King’s Lynn Minster on Saturday, both to increase understanding of flood protection measures and promote efforts to set up a new community response programme.
The session was organised by the St Margarets with St Nicholas ward forum, in association with the Environment Agency and West Norfolk Council.
The forum’s secretary, Sally Turff, said issues relating to public funding were one of the reasons why they decided to stage the event.
She said: “We could see people were going to have to look after their areas.
“We realised after the surge the people just weren’t there to help residents.”
The forum wants to establish a community group to lead a local response to a flood warning and help vulnerable residents to cope with such an emergency, as and when it arises.
It is envisaged that members would work in a similar way to how community flood wardens did in the past.
And Mrs Turff said the idea, which is being developed with support from Environment Agency officers, had also attracted interest from other public service organisations.
She said: “We had a couple from the police there, who brought a couple of police cadets with them and they were very interested. They said, ‘If you set it up, we’d like to be involved.’”
A number of businesses were represented at the event to demonstrate some of the measures residents can take themselves to protect their properties against flooding, including alternatives to the traditional sand bag, and offer free flood risk assessments.
Residents also had the chance to sign up to the Environment Agency’s flood alert messaging systems, as well as advice on what to do if a flood warning is issued and on basic measures that can be taken to protect property before a flood.
Mrs Turff said there was a “steady flow” of visitors to the event, which was open to residents from all areas of the town, all of whom were keen to pick up any helpful hints and advice.
She said: “What we got were people who really wanted to know.”
The forum’s efforts have also been praised by North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, who has called for communities across the area to follow their lead.
He said the threat posed to this area by flooding, as demonstrated by the damage caused during the tidal surge of December 2013, showed the need for people to be ready for an emergency.
He said: “Every community, I think, needs to consider having voluntary teams working alongside the professionals.
“There’s great community spirit in West Norfolk and we need to tap into that.”