Community resilience

Community resilience

Community resilience is where people come together in the event of an emergency. By using local resources and expertise, they help themselves and each other.

Communities who are resilient can also assist the emergency services when needed

Why community resilience is important

There are lots of ways that you can help your community become more resilient. Find out about your neighbours and see if you have anyone close to you who may need help in case of an emergency. Have a list of vulnerable people is important. This list can include:

  • the elderly
  • pregnant women
  • children or babies
  • the disabled

Have this information ready to pass to emergency services. Do not put yourself at risk.

Often, those affected or displaced are put up in a nearby rest centre. If you have the skills to help you can volunteer at the rest centre. This could be for roles like translator for someone who cannot speak English. Offering a cup of tea or being a listening ear can be very comforting during these times.

Community emergency plan

Individuals and communities may need to help each other in an emergency. Lots of communities already help each other in times of need. Those that spend time planning for emergencies are able to deal with them better and recover faster.

This does not mean creating a whole new community network or a one-off response to an incident. It is an ongoing process to improve emergency preparedness. We are keen to encourage communities to write their own community emergency plans. There is no statutory responsibility for these groups to plan for, respond to, or recover from emergencies.

However, it is good practice for communities to identify hazards and make simple plans on how they can respond to an emergency.

The ways emergency planning can help your community are:

  • by identifying local risks, resources, and vulnerable people
  • using local resources to help in the response, providing support to emergency services
  • helping those that are vulnerable and providing care, support, information, or practical help
  • by initiating a group to provide a point of contact and determine priorities
  • maintaining communications within the community and with the Council
  • managing the response of parish or town voluntary organisations
  • representing the community
  • assisting with community recovery
  • people in resilient communities are aware of the risks that may affect them. This helps them to take action to prepare for the consequences of emergencies
  • resilient communities work in partnership with their local authority, and other relevant organisations. These relationships ensure that the community complement the work of the emergency services, and it is done safely
  • members of resilient communities are involved in influencing and making decisions affecting them. They take an interest in their community and act in its best interest

Here are some links to resources which may help you and your community form an emergency plan:

Read more here: The Community Resilience agenda

Our team is happy to talk to you about this and support you in creating plans
email: [email protected].

Cold weather planning and response

The UK Health Security Agency has updated their guidance on how the voluntary and community sector can help respond to cold weather alert levels 0 through to 4.

The cold weather plan gives guidance on:

  • Level 0 (year-round planning)
  • Level 1 (winter preparedness programme)
  • Level 2 (when severe winter weather has been forecast)
  • Level 3 (response to severe winter weather)
  • Level 4 (major incident and emergency response)

View the cold weather plan from GOV.UK (PDF, 180 KB)


The voluntary sector is a great source of help to the emergency services. There are many organisations you can join, including:

If you are interested in finding out about volunteering in your area here are some good resources you can use:

Flood warden

We need flood wardens to play a key role in helping communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from flooding.

As a flood warden you will be a vital link between your community and those responsible for dealing with flooding events. You will forge strong links within your community, and be critical when building community resilience.

Volunteering as a flood warden can be a great way to get to know people in your local area. If you would like to know more about becoming a flood warden, contact your local town or parish council to see if they operate a flood warden scheme.

Helping a neighbour

In many emergencies some members of the community may be more vulnerable than others, so it is good to know your neighbours.

For example, the elderly, very young or disabled are more vulnerable to extreme heat and cold.

You should always ensure you and your family are safe first. However, helping your friends and neighbours is also important and can save lives.

Checking that someone is well, providing extra blankets, collecting supplies for them or even having a chat can make a huge difference.