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Bodenham Flood Protection Group

In June 2007 I moved into the rural village of Bodenham in Herefordshire. Within 72 hours I had surface water at my door and exactly four weeks later, I had 8 inches of water in the house.  The house had never flooded in its 400 year history and I was determined that it would never happen again.

As a result of 40 properties in the village suffering from flooding in 2007, the Parish Council decided to form the Bodenham Flood Protection Group to ensure that the village would be better protected should such flooding ever occur again. I was appointed Secretary for the Group on its formation in August 2008 and shortly after I was lucky enough to meet Mary Dhonau, who knows more about flooding first hand than anyone else I’ve met; Mary helped the Group  with advice and how to take action to help ourselves.  She put us in touch with Sarah Marriott, who at the time was Managing Director of UK Flood Barriers, a local firm specialising in flood protection.  Sarah invited a mini bus full of Bodenham residents who had suffered from flooding to the UKFB headquarters in Droitwich, and spent a few hours explaining the types of products that could be used to help prevent our homes from flooding as well as giving us a practical product demonstration in their flood tank under “flood” conditions.  As a flood protection group we work closely together within the village, clearing the culverts of debris and maintaining the clear flow of water through the two main watercourses which run though the village.  As a Group we also lobby our local council for assistance where the task involved is too big for us to tackle.  With Mary’s guidance, we secured an Environment Agency grant to have “property level protection” fitted to 35 of homes in the village in 2011.  Again, Sarah worked with us to ensure that the project went smoothly and any issues were ironed out.  We were also very grateful for the after sales support which we received from her team.

I was delighted to hear from Sarah that she has now taken a huge step to raise standards in the flood mitigation sector, and using knowledge gained during her tenure at UK Flood Barriers has now left the company to set up a new not-for-profit initiative to help communities like ours to raise awareness and spread the message about self-help measures available to flood-prone communities. The Bodenham Flood Protection Group has recently been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service and I am delighted that the teamwork amongst the community has been recognised in this way.  In her new role as MD of the Flood Advisory Service, Sarah is keen to promote the activities of communities such as Bodenham in the hope that other flood prone communities across the UK can take better control of their future in times of heavy rain.

Babs Mitcheson
Secretary, Bodenham Flood Protection Group
Tel: 01568 797170

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