Yorkshire Flood Resilience launches new online game to teach children about preparing for flooding

By Yorkshire Flood Resilience Project Officer Lauren Davidson

The role of the Yorkshire Flood Resilience project is to raise awareness of property flood resilience (PFR) measures among audiences across Yorkshire. Since the project was established in 2019, we’ve developed a wide range of information, tools and resources aimed at everyone from home and business owners to private landlords to help people understand what property flood resilience is, how it works and what the benefits are.

We’re determined to reach people of all ages and with differing levels of knowledge about PFR, but we were particularly keen to find a way to reach the younger generation with our messaging. With this in mind, for the last few months we’ve worked with Yorkshire-based BetaJester and The Serious GeoGames Lab at The University of Hull to develop a new, online game to help primary school children aged between seven and eleven years understand the importance of preparing for flooding. The idea was to introduce the concept of flood resilience in an engaging and accessible way using a medium that would appeal to the target age group.

Called ‘Flood Alert!’, the finished product is an immersive, interactive digital experience that’s lots of fun but also very informative. As well as teaching children about PFR measures, it explains the important role they play in protecting people’s homes from flooding and how they can speed up the recovery process when flooding does occur, enabling people to move back in more quickly.

The game features many of the elements that we know children of the target age group enjoy about other games that they’re familiar with, including avatars, a companion animal, a reward-based approach and a leader board where they can track their scores. However, it also has an important message because it helps children and their families to understand that there are simple steps they can take to protect their homes and minimise the risk they face from flooding.

At various stages of the game’s development, we gathered feedback from a focus group of children aged between seven and eleven years, as well as an educational psychologist at City of York Council. We’re incredibly grateful to them for their fantastic feedback, which really helped us to shape the game, turning our initial idea into a reality.

In the first three days following its launch, the game was played almost 300 times and is proving to be an increasingly popular addition to the website. We’re also sharing it with local education authorities across Yorkshire in the hope that it can be used by schools, as well as individual families, to help children understand the importance of preparing for flooding.

Shelley Evans, Senior Flood Resilience Emergency Planner for JBA Consulting and Impact Translation Fellow for iCASP, explained that the overall aim of the Yorkshire Flood Resilience Pathfinder project is to increase the uptake of PFR across Yorkshire.

Her role with iCASP was foremost to carry out a baseline qualitative and quantitative data collection survey at the beginning of the project to identify the barriers that exist to the uptake of PFR across all stakeholder groups throughout Yorkshire. The baseline data collection also captured the knowledge, attitudes, and uptake of PFR measures across the region.  The results from the baseline evaluation were then used to inform activities to help overcome barriers to uptake.

Shelley also has a role as a local evaluator for the project and with iCASP continues to monitor and evaluate the impact of change in peoples’ perception, attitude and behaviour towards PFR. The data collection will be repeated at the end of the project to understand the true impact the Pathfinder has had across the Yorkshire RFCC region.

‘Flood Alert!’ can be found in the ‘Kids’ Space’ section of the website, alongside other educational resources for children. Please do take a look and have a go at playing the game

  • Yorkshire Flood Resilience is funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and led by City of York Council.