[A]iming to attract people whose homes were flooded, the first Cumbria Flood Expo is being held at Carlisle Race course on 2nd and 3rd February.
Organised by CERT UK (Cumbria Emergency Response Team), the two day event has attracted a combination of national speakers, local specialists and a host of exhibitors who can genuinely provide help and support to people who have been affected by the floods.
The timing of the event has co-incided with the government extension of the Flood Resilience Grants which has been extended to the end of March. CERT UK is hoping that those who have not yet applied for the grant will come along to discover how they can protect their homes in the future.
The idea to host a Cumbria Flood Expo event came from CERT UK’s Chief Executive Kerryanne Wilde who had been listening to feedback from the hundreds of people they have supported. Kerryanne said “Obviously people have found the aftermath of flooding very stressful. There are lots of reputable companies out there who can help with flood resilience, but people are afraid of making a wrong decision.
“We felt an event like Cumbria Flood Expo could help take the scariness out of planning flood resilience work. There are reputable suppliers and it doesn’t have to cost the earth – there is more choice than some would imagine. Government grants of up to five thousand pounds are available and the deadline has been extended to the end of March so people still have time to take action, and if eligible, these grants may be topped up with help from the Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF).”
A trip to London Flood Expo in October gave the CERT UK team chance to hear the national speakers and evaluate how the Cumbrian event could take shape. As well as Flood Resilience exhibitors, there are over a dozen speakers already lined up, some with national experience, and also plenty who have been on the ground in Cumbria. Leading the first day in Cumbria will be well known national flood speaker Mary Dhonaue OBE and Chief Executive of Know Your Flood Risk. Mary has experienced flooding herself and turned the trauma into positive action. It was her strong motivation that inspired the CERT UK team to invite her to Cumbria.
Mary Dhonaue OBE said “Whilst government can manage flood risk, they cannot remove it. With the changing climate, flooding will become more regular and potentially worse. We all need to adapt to enable ourselves to recover more quickly.
“I’m very much looking forward to presenting at the Cumbria Flood Expo. This is a great initiative to bring together all those who are involved in the world of flooding, whether it is by the appalling first-hand experience of being flooded, or those who manage Flood Risk. It will be an ideal opportunity to see just what can be done at property level to reduce the awful impact that being flooded can bring. I commend CERT for organizing this event and encourage everyone to come!”
On day two visitors will hear from Heather Shepherd MBE from the National Flood Forum. Heather focuses on community engagement and flood recovery and again, knows first-hand the experience of being flooded.
Kerryanne Wilde said “Heather will be talking about empowering grass roots to lead in reducing flood risk. She has a strong affinity with Cumbria, having spent many months here after the floods of 2009. Cumbria has a very strong community spirit and Heathers words are likely to resonate with our communities. Our geography means we have very strong local groups working together without government (or council) support. Our ‘can do’ attitude means we don’t always need to rely on the government to fund what we want to achieve.
Speakers and exhibitors are still being finalised, but from the outset, IBS Engineering Products Ltd have been keen to support Cert UK and they are now our lead sponsor.”
Over 20,000 homes were damaged by the Cumbrian floods, and the risk is still there in the future. The Cumbria Flood Expo is an ideal opportunity for anyone concerned about flooding to find out more -both on a physical level with Flood Resilience Grants, and on an emotional level too, with speakers like Paul Hendy from Carlisle Flood Advice Centre talking about the emotional impact and how to cope.