Increased resilience through network of locally based advisers
Gloucestershire is a rural county with a dispersed population and a higher than average proportion of people aged 50+. Desire for forward planning for emergencies, coupled with vulnerability to extreme weather events – notably flooding.
Gloucestershire Village Agents support people aged 50+ in rural areas of Gloucestershire. Provide a link between local community and statutory and voluntary agencies that serve them. Emergency planning for weather events is included in this work. Agents were active during the 2007 floods in a number of ways such as ensuring supplies of water, milk and bread (and other staples) were reaching people, raising awareness and understanding of associated health issues, identifying location of such premises as launderettes.
Risks: Flooding and rural isolation, vulnerable communities, older people.
Key messages and learning outcomes
Named local person identified as a source of information and support, especially to vulnerable people is key.
Partnership with statutory authorities mean that the scheme can be centrally funded but locally delivered.
Skilled network of advisers, raised awareness leading to greater community resilience, increased community engagement, enhanced social capital.
Local recruitment, therefore local knowledge, but underpinned by ongoing training.
Trust and confidence in a member of the community.
203 Parishes covered – responding to a locally identified need. Now providing advice to other local authorities across England interested in similar schemes.
Reliance on continuation of funding from public agencies.
Kate Darch (Village Agents Project Manager), 01452 528491