A flood-risk awareness event and a riverbank wall replacement are among projects attracting a total of nearly £60,000 in Operation Watershed awards.
Community groups from Singleton, Itchenor, Worthing, Poynings and the Manhood Peninsula have all benefited from the county council scheme.
Councillor Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “The Operation Watershed Active Community Fund continues to help communities deliver excellent local schemes that provide real value for money.
“Operation Watershed has helped protect thousands of homes from flooding and other flood-related issues.
“Through the excellent relationship with community groups, we have been able to really help communities, providing willing volunteers with the support they require to protect themselves against extreme weather events. I am very pleased that we have awarded five more projects funding across the county.”
The five projects given funding in the latest round of awards are:
Singleton Valley Flood Action Group receives £36,100 towards replacing a retaining wall along the River Lavant, reducing potential flood risk to local homes and the community in general. The Operation Watershed award also ensures the group can receive additional funding, of around £20,000, from the SSE Community Fund. The project will be managed by the volunteers of the Singleton Valley Flood Action Group. It would not qualify for Environment Agency funds because it is on privately-owned land, which carries ‘riparian ownership’ responsibilities.
West Itchenor Parish Council, working with West Manhood Drainage Improvement Group, received £5,549 for survey and evaluation works, including jetting culverts that are critical to protecting homes. This will help identify future improvement and maintenance works which may be required. The funding also includes dredging and preliminary works to the village attenuation pond.
Transition Town Worthing has received £14,500 to create an ‘Eco Open Houses’ community event that provides opportunities to see practical examples of sustainable ways to manage surface water, energy, water usage and local waste. The event will raise awareness of surface water flooding and how individual households can contribute to reducing the risk. The project will involve local households, businesses and schools, as well as inviting the general public to take part. The previous event attracted more than 700 people to be involved.
Poynings Parish Council has been helped by community volunteers to clear and maintain ditches and gullies in its patch. It has been awarded £1,386 for gulley re-location to help deal with water ‘run-off’ from a field, as well as some additional fencing to complement a previous scheme.
Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Volunteer Group has actively worked in the peninsula since 2000 and manages more than 20 sites across the area. Operation Watershed has awarded £1,200 for a secure tool storage container. A landowner has kindly provided somewhere to put the storage unit, free of charge.
Community groups, volunteer groups and town and parish councils within West Sussex can apply for funding for projects they can deliver for themselves. The criteria we use to assess applications are:
• How it addresses recognised flood issues
• If it has strong community support
• That it demonstrates value for money
• How it will realise benefits for the community.
All applications need support from the local county councillor. Communities, in particular, are encouraged to come together and develop the network of local action groups.
More information about Operation Watershed can be found here