The full effects of flooding on a community are often hard to quantify, and hard to forget. Widespread floods in the winter of 2013/2014 flooded more than 10,000 properties across the UK, including extensive surface water flooding in Southend-on-Sea.

In partnership with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and UK Flood Barriers, we helped local property owners install property level protection (PLP) measures into their homes, to build local flood resilience, across a whole community. Within a challenging five month programme, we have helped fit 150 properties across the borough with bespoke PLP measures, including flood-proof doors, automatic airbricks, raising of internal wiring and waterproofing of walls – something that, prior to our partnership with the council, would not have happened.

Working with the council’s emergency planning team, we identified property owners who could apply for Defra’s Repair and Renew Grant, which gave up to £5,000 to individual homeowners and businesses across the UK who experienced flooding in 2013 to 2014 financial year. Instead of expecting individual homeowners to apply for funding themselves, a process that can be daunting for members of the community such as the elderly, the council applied for funding at a borough level.

Our team administered the scheme from conception to completion, which included managing sub-contractors UK Flood Barriers, knocking on front doors, speaking to individual property owners and sending out funding application packs for residents to complete, which we submitted to Defra on the councils behalf. UK Flood Barriers surveyed hundreds of homes to determine flood damage and which PLP measures would be most suitable. While taking the pain out of the application process, it also ensured as many homes as possible benefitted from the scheme and became more resilient.

We’re supporting Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to work with the community in helping them maintain the PLP measures and coordinating community dry runs to ensure they work. This is helping homeowners in Southend feel reassured that they can protect their own homes when a flood occurs.