Resilient Communities Fund

Resilient Communities Fund enables Gillingham to prepare for an emergency

Funding received from Southern Electric Power Distribution’s Resilient Communities Fund has enabled Gillingham Town Council to purchase equipment which will help protect the welfare of the community and improve communication during an emergency situation.  

Southern Electric Power Distribution established the fund to support communities in order to improve local resilience for future emergency weather events.  During an extreme weather event, emergency services need to prioritise those in greatest need and this means that in certain situations communities may need to rely on their own resources to cope with an incident until they can be reached by professionals.  In Gillingham, a small working party has been set up by the Town Council under the leadership of Cllr Paul Harris.  The working party has built on existing relationships and networks, and applied local knowledge to ensure that the town can act in a way that complements the responses of the emergency services and creates a stronger, coordinated framework from which to effectively deal with severe weather situations.

Following receipt of the grant, equipment was purchased and Gillingham’s Community Resilience Plan was updated.  On 20th April 2017 a table top exercise was arranged by the Civil Contingencies Unit to test the effectiveness of Gillingham’s Community Resilience Plan.  The exercise was attended by representatives from Gillingham Town Council, Dorset Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dorset County Council, British Telecommunications Plc, Dorset RAYNET, The Environment Agency and the Dorset Local Resilience Forum.   Civil Contingencies Officer, David Beavis said, “The exercise was well received from all of those who attended.  Gillingham’s Community Resilience Plan is a prime example of what effective measures can be put in place at a local level, and the Civil Contingencies Unit will refer to Gillingham’s plan on the Local Resilience Forum’s webpage as an example of good practice”.

Cllr Paul Harris, who attended the exercise on behalf of Gillingham Town Council stated, “We have had great support from SSE in further developing our emergency resilience plans and to purchase additional equipment.  We have specific challenges in Gillingham around flooding and much of this equipment will allow our flood wardens to be more effective in their work”.

If anyone would like to find out further information on how they might assist, the Resilience Team will be available to answer questions and show the equipment between 6pm and 7pm, prior to the Full Council meeting, on Monday 26th June 2017 at Gillingham Town Hall.