Community Resilience Handbook

Catherine Quinn 


Southwell, a town in Nottinghamshire, suffered a major flood in July 2013.  Local people joined together to create the Southwell Flood Forum and with support of local government bodies and other agencies have developed a Community Resilience Handbook to enable the community to deal more effectively with a future disaster.

Church Street, Southwell 2013

Community Resilience is defined as a way of future-proofing Southwell for incidents that have the potential to disrupt day to day life.  Equipping the residents to know what to do and when to do it is key to this resilience. It encourages residents to make their own emergency plan and provides some things to think about and links to other services for further information.


The Handbook is clearly set out and attractive to read. It covers a diverse range of topics including:


  • The progress from flood to resilience
  • The meaning of community residence for an individual or household including the importance of pre-planning
  • Understanding weather
  • The Emergency Plan including an Emergency Communications Hub, a road closure scheme with map and the role of trained wardens
  • Looking after drains and watercourses
  • The roles of the emergency services and other agencies
  • Flood mitigation and management, and concludes with
  • a Quick Emergency Guide


The Handbook is an example of how a community has worked together with other agencies to create a framework for better residence to flooding and other emergencies.


The Southwell Flood Forum has used various methods of engaging with the community to raise awareness including co-operating with a PhD student from the University of Nottingham in involving the community in flood modelling.


The National Flood Forum supports communities to set up their own local flood forums and there is helpful information about this on their website.