[06 April 2023]

Local community centres work with Flood Innovation Centre to boost their flood resilience

A Hull-based community centre that’s receiving expert advice from the Flood Innovation Centre to boost its flood resilience is urging other local organisations to take advantage of the support on offer.

St Stephen’s Neighbourhood Centre, which is located on Annandale Road and supports communities on the Greatfield Estate, and The Freedom Centre on Preston Road are both receiving fully funded support from the Flood Innovation Centre. Having recently had free flood surveys carried out at their premises, they’re now working with the team to understand the findings and take steps to become more resilient to flooding in the future.

Diane Thomson, a Treasurer and a Trustee of St Stephen’s, who is also currently responsible for its day-to-day management, said:

“Obviously Hull is built on flood plain, but we’ve had some flooding issues in the local area in recent years. Just three or four years ago, a number of nearby homes were affected by surface water flooding following torrential rain. We also have a major drain nearby and there are certainly drainage issues in the area. As one of the city’s designated rest centres in the event of flooding, we’re supposed to be able to provide a sanctuary to local people if their homes are flooded, so it seemed sensible to work with our local experts at the Flood Innovation Centre, who were able to look at the building in an objective way.  The centre was built in the 1960s, when flooding probably wasn’t really thought about, so this is something that we’re keen to address to ensure that it can continue to be a good asset to the local community. It has been great working with people who know what they’re talking about.”

The Flood Innovation Centre was established by the University of Hull to drive innovation and support different approaches and solutions to flood resilience. It’s funded through the England European Regional Development Fund to provide support to eligible businesses and charitable organisations in several local authorities areas across the country, including Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. More recently, the Flood Innovation Centre was awarded a £21,000 grant from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to deliver a Community Sector Flood Resilience pilot project with two community centres in Hull; St Stephen’s Neighbourhood Centre and The Freedom Centre.

Sam Ramsden, a Research Associate at the Flood Innovation Centre, explained:

“We’re funded to provide free flood surveys and follow-up support to businesses and charitable organisations in several different areas of the country. However, the UKSPF funding that we’ve received recently means that we can go beyond that and also help these two community centres to act on the findings of their surveys by funding any low-cost property flood resilience measures that may be required.”

“We hope that this Community Sector Flood Resilience pilot project will encourage other local organisations to take steps to improve their flood resilience in the future. As well as providing a valuable case study and offering best practice guidance, it’s also hoped that this project will eventually support the roll-out of a wider community flood resilience programme in the local area.”

Property flood resilience is a term used to describe measures that reduce the risk of flood damage to our properties, speed up recovery and help us to move back into our properties quicker after flooding. Property flood resilience solutions are bespoke to each property. When installing them, the aim is to identify the measures that are most appropriate for the property, the type of flooding you face and the need to minimise damage and give you peace of mind.

For more information about help for SMEs to improve their flood resilience, please email flic@hull.ac.uk or complete our registration form to access support with the Flood Innovation Centre.