Hundreds of pupils will learn about the risks and dangers of flooding and how they can help build up resilience for the future this week.
The University of Cumbria’s campus in Bowerham Road, Lancaster is hosting an event in partnership with the Lune Valley Flood Forum, welcoming up to 400 pupils from 11 primary schools.
Statutory agencies, charities, and nature and wildlife bodies including the National Flood Forum, Environment Agency, Met Office, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Cumbria Wildlife Trust are playing major roles in this multi-agency event.
Six ‘learning zones’ are being created for children to explore. They include a ‘Flood Hub’ where children will discover how flooding affects people’s lives, with an opportunity to talk to residents whose homes have been affected and flood emergency groups from the local area.
Environmental organisations will be in the ‘Systems Zone’ where young visitors will discover more about how river systems work. A ‘Reactive Zone’ will feature the work of the Met Office, emergency services and local authority civil contingency teams and a ‘Proactive Zone’ will educate young visitors on what can be done to reduce the risks of flooding and help be better prepared for the future.
A water rescue boat and fire engine will also be in the grounds of the campus.
Event organiser Chris Barlow, senior lecturer at the university’s Institute of Education, said: “Over the last year I’ve been working with the Lune Valley Flood Forum advising on ways in which they can reach out to primary schools to make children aware of the impact of flooding, and how they can be more resilient in the face of such matters. As a geographer, it has been a huge of interest of mine to see how we can help our children learn about how flooding but how it impacts on not just us as communities but the world around us.”
Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith is among the figures supporting the event, visiting the university’s Bowerham Road campus recently to contribute to a film that will be shown throughout the day and which will be uploaded to the Lune Valley Flood Forum website.
The ‘talking heads’ film project, being launched at Thursday’s flood awareness day (6 June), also aims to support primary school children’s understanding of flooding issues in the local area. The information and resources brought together on the day will create a new teachers’ flood resource on the Lune Valley Flood Forum website.
Janet Taylor, chair of the Lune Valley Flood Forum, said: “We know that our region continues to rebuild following the devastation of a number of major flooding events the worst of those being in 2015 and 2017. Extreme weather events have been on the increase over the past 20 years due to climate change, therefore we’re pleased to see that so many people, schools, organisations and partners have taken up the invitation to be involved in such an important day that will help future generations.”
Kathryn Fox, co-head of the Institute of Education at the University of Cumbria, said: “We are aware here in the north west of England of the impact flooding has on our communities. We’re looking forward to welcoming so many to this flood awareness event which will not only help local children and families, but will also demonstrate how our academics’ research and work is having a real impact locally and further afield.”