Drop in for a chat and a cuppa at a Climate Café

A building in York being flooded

Climate Cafes are being held next month (September) in York and Hull as a novel way of helping people protect themselves from flooding.

Yorkshire Flood Resilience, one of three DEFRA funded property flood resilience pathfinder projects across England, is working with the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute to host the two free events open to anyone with an interest in flood resilience and climate change.

They will focus on the increasing risk of flooding, and the significant disruption and damage it can cause, as well as highlighting the role that property flood resilience measures can play in minimising the risk of homes and businesses flooding.

Property flood resilience is a term used to describe measures that reduce the risk of flood damage to our properties, speed up recovery and help us to move back into our properties quicker after flooding. These measures are installed in our homes or businesses to make them less vulnerable to flooding.

iCASP is supporting the Yorkshire Flood Resilience project with the collection of data to help understand the true impact of the project. One of our Impact Translation Fellows Shelley Evans, who is also Senior Flood Resilience Emergency Planner for JBA Consulting, explained that the overall aim of the Yorkshire Flood Resilience Pathfinder project is to increase the uptake of PFR across Yorkshire. Shelley is monitoring and evaluating the impact of change in peoples’ perception, attitude and behaviour towards property flood resilience measures.

The Climate cafes have been set up to help people learn how to improve the resilience of their home or business premises in a friendly and informal setting. Speakers range from flood resilience experts to members of the public who have experienced flooding first hand and then go on to install property flood resilience measures in their own properties. Following a series of short presentations, there will also be an opportunity for guests to chat to the speakers and ask any questions over a coffee.

Dr Steven Forrest, Lecturer in Flood Resilience and Sustainable Transformations at the Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull, is one of event organisers. He has seen how powerful Climate Cafes can be in bringing people together against the effects of climate change when he worked in the Netherlands and so welcomes having the opportunity to get involved in these Yorkshire events to support flood resilience.

Dr Forrest said: “This will be a great opportunity to hear from speakers with a diverse range of experiences in dealing with floods. Flood risk is increasingly becoming an urgent problem and we need to work together to help society cope with future floods. We’re looking forward to working with Yorkshire Flood Resilience to run these Climate Cafés and answer questions that people may have about dealing with floods in Hull and York.

“Communities and residents are crucial in helping to deal with the climate emergency – we need to connect academics, practitioners and communities together as much as possible in order to share ideas and come up with solutions to help create more climate resilient places.”

Steve Wragg, Flood Risk Manager for City of York Council and Project Manager for Yorkshire Flood Resilience, added: “We’re delighted to be working with the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute to run these events. We have some really interesting guest speakers lined up and there will be plenty of time for guests to chat to them afterwards. I do hope that as many local people as possible will come along to find out more about property flood resilience.”

Promoting the use of property flood resilience (PFR) measures is a crucial part of the Environment Agency’s long-term vision to better protect homes and businesses from flooding and create climate resilient places.

Phil Foxley, Flood Risk Programme Manager with the Environment Agency, commented: “We want to ensure people have access to the information and other measures – such as PFR – that they need to plan ahead for flooding and ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’.

“We encourage local residents and business owners to come and listen to practical advice about reducing the damage of flooding and getting back into their homes or businesses quicker after a flood, at this event or have a look online.”

The York event will be held at City Screen (off Coney Street) on Thursday 2 September and the Hull event at The Deep on Thursday 16 September. Both events start at 5.30pm, free refreshments will be available and there will be an opportunity for people to chat with the speakers informally after the presentations. Tickets must be booked in advance via Eventbrite.

To book a place at the Hull event visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/climate-cafe-tickets-164742167257.

To book a place at the York event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/climate-cafe-tickets-165729789261.