Welcome to our Summer 2020 Slow The Flow newsletter, enabling you to see at a glance what we have been doing in the last few months & giving you easy access to reports, videos and blogs on our excellent website, which supports the promotion of Natural Flood Management (NFM) and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in Calderdale and beyond.
We are keen to share with you some new initiatives which we hope you will follow and help us develop as we continue to promote and support working with the natural environment to slow the flow.
Firstly, none of us can ignore the challenges of the last 4 months. Covid-19 has defined for the entire globe how we currently live our lives and this has affected nearly every single one of us in one way or another.
In line with government guidelines, and to protect each other from this terrible pandemic, we cancelled all volunteer days for the foreseeable future. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the National Trust to ensure that we re-instate our volunteer days in line with government guidelines, once we are able to continue.
We are not expecting to be back very soon but we will let you know when we have plans in place, whatever they may be.
When we do go back, we will of course be subject to the appropriate social distancing rules and safe working so we do hope you will join us in the great outdoors when we can. Flood risk still pervades here in Calderdale and around the UK and we must continue to work to slow the flow where we can, when it is safe to do so, and also to develop other initiatives and ideas while we are in lockdown to fight this growing risk in our communities.
We also had to cancel our open meeting in March and our AGM we had planned for April. At this moment in time we do not have a date on when we will be able to hold the AGM but revised dates will be published when we can.
During this time, we hope you all stay safe and will continue to support the work we do at Slow The Flow in one way or another.
What do NFM and Covid-19 have in common? Please read the fascinating blog we have written on this subject.
Developing our Policies, and Position Statements
While we have been off and unable to continue our practical solutions to flood risk, we thought it would be a good chance to talk about all that stuff that goes on behind the scenes to ensure we are socially and practically compliant and to make sure we continue to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all our volunteers, friends, trustees and supporters.
This has been no small task and it has involved much internal and external discussion and debate on what we do. Over the last month we have:
- Published our new Constitution
- Updated our Health & Safety policy
- Updated our Risk Assessments
- Our Safeguarding Policy
- Our Equal Opportunities Policy
- Codes of Behaviour
- Our Volunteer guidance
- Health Hazards in Natural Flood Management Work document.
- Completed our Financial report for 2019
- Learnt how to hold meetings via Zoom
If you want to learn more, you can now view all of our completed policies on our website.
These all-important activities mean that we can keep operating and be a voice for the local community, and in flood management discussions on a national level.
Visit to UK Parliament
Prior to Lockdown, we had arranged a visit with our two MPS, Holly Lynch MP and Craig Whitaker MP, to host a reception at the Houses of Parliament to speak to other Members of Parliament about flood risk in their constituencies. This was going to be a unique opportunity to discuss with such an influential group how working with natural processes can play a part in reducing flood risk, where ever you live.
You can imagine our disappointment when it became clear we would have to postpone due to the Covid-19 crisis.
We will keep you posted as to the new date but if you have contact with your own MP outside of Calderdale and Halifax, and would like them to meet us to discuss our work and how NFM may help to reduce your flood risk, please encourage them to attend or to get in touch with us.
We will let you know the rearranged date when it is in the diary.
Slowing the flow together Film – June 2020
One major piece of work which we undertook this year was the commissioning of our short film about our work at ‘Slow The Flow’. Funded by The Environment Agency and in partnership with The National Trust at Hardcastle Crags, film maker Andy Clark, of ‘High Water, Common Ground’ fame, made 8 shorts for us on the many aspects of running a group like Slow The Flow.
These 8 short films included the topics of;
- Why Do We flood?
- What Is NFM?
- How Do You Do NFM?
- How Do You know It works?
- Sustainable Urban Drainage
- Creating Your Own Group
- Community Engagement
- Hardcastle Crags
You can watch all of these short films on our website (2-3 minutes each in length) and the long form version (23 minutes) which links all of these films together.
The film will also be shown at Gibson Mill in the newly re-purposed Pump Room. This will be available to members of the public and organised groups who visit Hardcastle Crags in the coming months.
Additionally, at the virtual film showing in June using a Zoom Webinar, we asked viewers to ask us questions about the film and the issues around using NFM to reduce flood risk. These questions are now published HERE along with all of our answers. This is well worth a look if you are involved in flood alleviation, want to know more about NFM or are looking to set up your own group to reduce flood risk.
NFM Grant fund and landowner engagement
One of our major new projects this year is to develop a simple process for Slow The Flow and Calderdale Council to engage with landowners or tenant farmers in the uplands above the Calder Valley who have farmland or woodland and who would like to help reduce flood risk in the valley around the Calder Valley.
Examples of Natural Flood Management (NFM) on farmland could be the construction of shallow attenuation ponds storing large quantities of water which empty once the storm has passed, tree planting, or installing leaky dams. You can see examples on our website on our blog and case study pages.
As an incentive, there are NFM grants and ongoing annual payments for landowners who can prove they have maintained the Natural Flood Management interventions installed on their land. Although the grant fund is currently closed, we do expect another round in the future.
If you would like more information, or have land which you think might be suitable, please contact us, complete the form and either we or the NFM Officer at Calderdale Council will be in touch with you.
Please note that this is only for land that falls in the Calderdale Council area. If you live outside of Calderdale, please contact your own council about their NFM plans and opportunities.
If you need more advice, please do get in touch and we will help if we can.
New look Website
We have taken the opportunity to do a “Spring Clean” of the website, give it a fresh look, and make it easier to find what you are looking for.
The main menu has been re-designed to ensure that you get the information you need quickly. For example, if you click on Case Studies and/or Blogs on the main menu, it will now show all historic entries, with pictures, in a single click.
Thanks to Slow The Flow’s Comms team for putting in the time to review the current pages, suggest updates and make the technical changes. This was no small task for a group of volunteers who manage the website and other communications alongside their day jobs.
Recent Blogs and articles
Our Blogs HERE continue to grow each month with interesting articles about NFM. One of our core aims is to provide education on NFM and these blogs serve this purpose perfectly. Please do have a read and share them on your social networks. If you have a blog you would like to share with us, please let us know.
Additionally, if you have implemented a SuDS or NFM project, please do tell us about it. Our growing list of case studies can be seen HERE, please have a read and tell us about your own scheme.
Slow The Flow Fundraising
We would like to thank all who participated and donated to these events in March that raised funds for Slow The Flow
Fiction: This was a fundraiser held at the Trades club to display incredible young people’s graffiti art work. The funds were donated to Slow The Flow & Community Foundation for Calderdale to support victims of this year’s flooding
Joseph Thompson: Did 17 runs, 1 in each ward in Calderdale, around 200km to raise money for Slow The Flow.
Extinction Rebellion held a fundraiser for us at The Trades Club in March. They raised over £500 which has gone into our funds to slow the flow.
Tree Planting at Hardcastle Crags
In early March we worked with the NT on “tree day”. We had over 30 volunteers turn out for the event. It proved to be a very worthwhile event, even if we did clock up the miles to get to the remote location in Hardcastle Crags. We planted nearly 80 new trees which was a great effort by everyone.
Thanks to all our volunteers for making this a success. If you want to get involved in more tree planting days, please contact Treesponsibility for more information .Thank you
If you have supported us in some way, thank you. We simply could not do what we do without your sharing our work, taking part in projects and promoting the many benefits of NFM and SuDS. We will return to normal service at some point but if you have anything you would like to discuss with us, please do get in touch.
Slow The Flow July 2020