A NEW emergency fund to support communities at risk of flooding has been announced by Devon County Council.

The Devon Emergency Community Flood Resilience Fund will make funds of up to an initial £2,000 available, via town and parish councils or community groups to Devon communities.

Grants will help communities buy flood resilience equipment such as sand bags, sand stores, tools, and personal protective equipment and emergency road signs.

A new Devon Community Resilience Forum was formed recently in order to provide a network of support and flood prevention advice to local communities, with support from the county council.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member with responsibility for flood prevention, said: “The county council already makes a significant financial contribution towards flooding and water management, but we recognise that some communities need more support.

“Following the recent exceptional weather conditions and the success of the launch of the Devon Community Resilience Forum, we are pleased to be able to offer grants to those communities who want to do more themselves, and reduce the impact of flooding on their communities.”

The council will also consider making financial contributions to small scale practical works that will provide immediate benefit to communities’ flood resilience.

Recent rainfall caused property flooding in towns and villages including Bideford and Ilfracombe, Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton, Modbury, Ivybridge and Beaworthy.

“Rainfall over the Christmas and New Year period caused localised flooding in some parts of the county. 

“We are encouraging all communities across Devon to produce or finalise their own Community Emergency Plans to ensure that their resilience equipment is used as effectively as possible,” added Cllr Hughes.

Town and parish councils can apply for the funding, as can community groups.

For advice about applying for the grant, contact David Kinross at Devon Community Together, or visit the Devon Community Resilience Forum pages at www.devoncommunities.org.uk/emergency-flood-resilience-grant.