Start Your Own Group

We have learnt a lot from establishing the group here in Bradford on Avon and if these pages have inspired you to set up your own group in your community then don't reinvent the wheel, feel free to copy what we have done and get yourself up and running.

We've put together a starter pack that will provide you with some guidance:

Starter Pack Link

Here are some basic steps to help you get yourself up and running:

1 - Get your Parish or Town Council on Board.

We started by organising a Town Council Emergency Planning Group and the idea of the CEVs were gradually developed from there. Getting your CEV group set up under the auspices of your local Town or Parish Council helps it to be taken more seriously by external bodies as well as organising things like insurance and finance.

2 - Appoint a Senior Coordinator

A lot of responsibility and hard work will fall on their shoulders in terms of setting up your group. The person chosen should be motivated to see this happen, and be able to motivate others to get things done. My house flooding motivated me! Once the Senior Coordinator is appointed support them however you can as there will be a lot of work to do. If necessary form a management committee to take on defined roles and relieve the Senior coordinator of some of the burden. I'm very lucky with the team around me.

3 - Speak to your Local Authority Emergency Planning Team

Getting early support and encouragement from the experts will help you get you on the right track, thinking about the right things and avoid wasting time. Invite them to your meetings. Our Local Authority have been only too helpful in coming along to countless meetings and advising us as to what to do.

3 - Come up with a Community Specific Emergency Plan

CEVs need a plan to follow that is specific to the types of threats their community might face. We considered a number of scenarios and rated them from most to least likely. Then we designed our emergency plan response based on these scenarios with the most likely taking most of our effort. It may sound like common sense but its important to follow this as it will direct your efforts and training.

4 - Engage with your Local Emergency Services and Statutory Authorities

Speaking to the Emergency Services can be very intimidating, but take it from me, they are a very friendly bunch and are only too willing to help! Your local Utilities suppliers, the Environment Agency, Network Rail, and the like are equally pleased to help and often have teams dedicated to community resilience planning. Test your plan with them. Ask how you can integrate your plan and proposed roles with theirs. The better the links between you and them the more effective your group will be.

5 - Decide on a budget

You may be a small Parish Council without large amounts of money to splash out on expensive kit. Even our Town Council cannot fund all we wish to achieve in Bradford. There are many avenues to explore in terms of seeking funding for equipment such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), storage containers, from either your local authority or The Big Lottery Fund. Local Businesses might also be willing to help. Assume start up costs of between £2000-£10000 depending on the size of your group and what you are trying to achieve.

6 - Insure your Volunteers

A good reason for coming under the Town Council is that our volunteers are protected by its Employers Liability Insurance and Third Party Insurance. The premium excess is not as much as you might imagine, so long as you are clear about your roles and responsibilities, training, and Health and safety. Ensure you have insurance in place before advertising for volunteers.

7 - Advertise for Volunteers

Don't expect volunteers to fall at your feet! We all have such busy lives these days that volunteers are a valuable commodity, so you must do your best to grab peoples attention and keep it going. We have put up eye catching posters in local shops, set up this blog, gone to community meetings to spread the word, appeared on local radio, and written countless articles in local freebie magazines and papers. We've also held meetings for prospective volunteers to explain more about the scheme. I'm sure you can come up with plenty of imaginative ideas of your own!

8 - Instigate a comprehensive training Programme

In order to ensure our volunteers know what they should be doing we having set up a yearly programme of training. Feel free to copy our training notes as a basis of your own training. We have tried to involve as many of the Emergency Services and Statutory Authorities as possible in our training programme. This is firstly so they can build confidence in us and secondly so our volunteers feel like part of the wider resilience team. All the agencies contacted so far have been only too happy to come and help us.

9 - Test your systems

We aim to hold a training exercise once a year and hopefully involve the emergency services and other agencies to test our systems and make sure we can do what our emergency plan says it can do. Hopefully it will be fun for us all!

This is not a comprehensive guide and you will no doubt come across lots of challenges of your own, but do persevere. It is very rewarding! If you want copies of some of the standard forms we have come up with to deal with procedural and H&S issues please do contact me on

Kind Regards

Paul Robertson

Senior Coordinator

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