Grant windfall to fund emergency training for Suffolk volunteers

County councillor Colin Spence

County councillor Colin Spence - Credit: Archant

Organisers of a new project aimed at training community volunteers to deal with emergencies are delighted after scooping almost £10,000 in grant funding.

Stowupland Parish Council, working closely with Mid Suffolk District Council and the Joint Emergency Planning Unit, has been awarded £9,886 from Awards for All England.

It is to use the funding to provide emergency training opportunities for more than 70 volunteers across the county.

The programme, which will be taught over four days and train 18 people at a time, aims to arm the volunteers with the necessary skills to deal with emergencies such as flooding, electricity failure, explosions, weather extremes and road traffic accidents.

It is then expected to be rolled out across Suffolk to ensure better access and wider attendance for all existing and new volunteers.

Sue Herne, who works for the joint emergency planning unit in partnership with Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils said: “Suffolk has suffered a number of major incidents in the last 12 months, including storms, a tidal surge and localised flooding.

“Many of our existing community groups were able to activate their emergency plans during these emergencies, which was a great support for local authorities to help prioritise responses and resources.

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“With our new project, we can train over 70 new volunteers from around Suffolk, which will be invaluable when managing emergencies in the future.”

Stowupland Parish Council identified the need for the training when developing its emergency plan.

Keith Welham, chairman of the parish council said: “Our good neighbours team felt the training would benefit their volunteers, and we expect volunteers from other community groups, not just in Stowupland, to join the training programme.”

Sara Michell, Mid Suffolk’s portfolio holder for environment, said the district council was “very grateful” to all the volunteers who help in the community.

She said: “Running this programme will help us to work together more effectively and teach the volunteers new skills that can be used in their day-to-day lives as well as during emergencies.”

Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said: “The community emergency groups are an extremely important part of our preparedness in Suffolk.

“We have seen over the past 12 months how the effects of flooding and severe weather can affect us all.”

For more information about the emergency volunteer training, email