Hawick to weather emergencies as a new ‘resilient community’

PLANS are gathering pace for Hawick to join the Borders’ burgeoning Resilient Communities initiative.

Hawick and Burnfoot Community Councils are spearheading the town’s involvement, and have this week issued a plea for potential area coordinators to come forward, and are also welcoming expressions of interest from anyone willing to take on the role of overall Resilient Communities coordinator.

It is hoped that each local community – with Mansfield set to be the first to fall under the resilient umbrella – will have a coordinator and several deputy coordinators, as well as a group of people who have signed up to be volunteer resilient community responders.

Kevin Sewell, the council’s assistant emergency planning officer, told the Hawick News: “By adopting the Resilient Communties system, the residents of Hawick and Burnfoot will be able to respond to an emergency situation in an organised and structured manner.

Fifteen areas in the region have already signed up to scheme, which aims to raise Teries’ awareness and understanding of how to respond effectively to an emergency such as severe weather, flooding, fires or a major incident involving transport.

And among the issues it his hoped local volunteers will tackle are the clearing of snow from school and nursery routes and playgrounds; the placing of sandbags and domestic flood gates to prevent flooding; and checking on neighbours to ensure their safety and wellbeing during bad weather.

Mr Sewell added: “Scottish Borders Council will supply the equipment and training, but the volunteers and the leadership has to come from the community.”

Hawick Community Council chairperson Marion Short commented: “I am delighted to now be participating along with Burnfoot Community Council in this initiative covering the whole of Hawick which will enable us to prepare, organise and respond to emergency situations such as severe weather, power failure and flooding. And on this latter issue, we are very grateful for the support and expertise of the Hawick Flood Prevention Group. There is already good community spirit within the town on situations such as checking on neighbours and clearing snow, but this initiative will build on what we already have with equipment provided by SBC and information made available to all in the community as to who to contact locally for assistance.”

Among the 15 Resilient Communities that are already up and running are Earlston, Ettrick and Yarrow, Innerleithen and district, Newtown and Eildon, and Southdean.

Further information on becoming a Resilient Communities coordinator from hawickresilience@gmail.com