COMMUNITIES in Devon are being invited to apply for funding to help them be better prepared for emergencies or unexpected events.
Independent charity Devon Communities Together is working with the Environment Agency and Devon County Council to provide the funding opportunities.
This latest programme is financed by the South West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee local levy funding and Devon County Council, and is administered by Devon Communities Together as part of its role in the Devon Community Resilience Forum (DCRF), whose core mission to help communities prepare for, and respond to, emergencies.
Scheme 1 - up to £250 for communities that wish to develop their own Community Emergency Plan.
The Devon Community Resilience Board (DCRB) wants to encourage more communities to produce a Community Emergency Plan (CEP).
A CEP is a document which helps guide a community to organise a response to a local emergency; from flooding or snow to the completely unexpected. They ideally need to be updated every three years, however some communities in Devon either don’t have a plan in place or are not sure how to put together a support document for their community.
The aim is that by providing this funding, many more communities across the county will be able to put plans in place to ensure their resilience in case anything happens within their community.
Once approved and completed, the DCRB will upload a completed CEP to a secure government gateway. This enables emergency responders to combine local knowledge with their expertise, allowing an effective place-based, joined-up response.
Devon’s communities can bid for this fund to help form their own Community Emergency Planning group.
Further guidance and support on creating the group can also be provided from the DCRF with in-person attendance from a Devon Communities Together Resilience Project Officer.
Scheme 2 - up to £1,500 for small scale works and resilience equipment (once a CEP is in place).
Experience has shown that a wide range of small resilience measures can make a real difference to communities. This funding is available to communities to improve their own resilience with equipment and small scale works, and may range from the provision of sandbag stores and other flood protection equipment, road signs, tools and personal protective equipment, to one off small scale works to reduce risk.
DCRF recommends that a Community Emergency Response Team defines its own shopping list to meet local requirements. Examples of resilience measures can be provided by the DCRF, other communities, or Devon County Council to help a Community Emergency Planning Group consider what might be best for a particular area.
Laura Dixon, Project Manager at Devon Communities Together, commented: “The importance of having a plan in place in case of emergencies cannot be underestimated. It may feel like it is something that you might never need – and you might not.
"However, if you do need to help your community bounce back from an event that is out of your control, wouldn’t it be great if you had something that could help you and your community straight away?
"Please get in touch or find out more if you want to be part of the resilience of your community.”
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Equality, said: "The grant funding available through these two schemes aims to help communities to help themselves.
"Whether it's to enable them to draw up their own emergency plans or, if they already have a plan in place, to carry out small scale work or purchase equipment to reduce flood risk, it should enable communities to be better prepared if they have to respond to an emergency."