Preparing your community

Information on our 'What if?' programme and how you can help your community during disruptive events.

The aim of 'What If?' is to empower local people to prepare for, respond to and recover from events that disrupt the community from normal life.

It also aims to ensure local communities can adapt to adversity by using local resources in an innovative way to meet the challenges of a changing society.

In the event of a widespread or major emergency, all the responding agencies will need to prioritise who they assist first. During these times, there will be much that volunteers can achieve in preventing the situation from becoming worse, keeping people safe and supporting those that may have to wait for professional help to arrive.

The programme covers the four key areas listed below.

Young people

The aim here is to increase the participation of youth organisations in community resilience awareness and training through participation in the Duke of Cornwall Community Safety Award.

Those who have completed the award have gone onto supporting wider community improvement and safety events within their locality.


The communities element is generally delivered at parish council level through the facilitation of free training.

It aims to:

  • provide information on developing community resilience
  • encourage a confident approach to supporting each other in reducing the impact before an emergency occurs
  • strengthen existing community networks.

A number of training elements are delivered, comprising of:

  • first aid
  • personal safety
  • identifying and supporting the vulnerable
  • team leadership and community welfare
  • factual information on health and safety and the law.

Each of these elements are supported with the provision of basic safety equipment to allow communities to prepare, respond and recover in times of emergency, using local skills, knowledge and assets.

The result being parishes are safer, stronger and more resilient with the on-going assistance from the What If team.


The business element targets small and medium sized enterprises to raise awareness of the importance of having business resilience/continuity plans to prepare for disruptions and to put plans in place to cope and recover in times of crisis.

Personal wellbeing

This aims to identify and support vulnerable members of the community to ensure they are prepared for emergencies, such as:

  • power failure
  • loss of communications
  • reduced mobility
  • reducing the impacts of severe hot or cold weather.

There is much that individuals can do to increase their own resilience, to be better able to deal with disruptions to their everyday lives.

The 'What If?' programme is recognised nationally as best practice by the National Consortium for Societal Resilience.

If you wish to join the programme or require any further information, please contact us.

Last updated:
12 February 2024
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