It’s all go­ing swimmingly for our flood vol­un­teers

Sun­bury: All 10 pass level 5 train­ing with fly­ing colours – now they need some help, with £8,000 to be found for equip­ment

Surrey Herald/News - - NEWS - By Ge­orgina Town­shend

SPELTHORNE’S Sun­bury Flood Vol­un­teers (SSFV) have passed their level 5 Wa­ter In­ci­dent Man­age­ment Course, en­abling them to reg­is­ter as a na­tional flood as­set. The SSFV char­ity first came to­gether to as­sist res­i­dents after last year’s flood­ing. All 10 SSFV mem­bers com­pleted train­ing at level 5 Wa­ter In­ci­dent Man­age­ment last week and all passed, with 75% achiev­ing 100%. Al­sion Grif­fiths, who set up the group, said: “I can’t be­lieve what we have achieved in the past seven months. I’m very proud of my team, whose ef­forts have made this hap­pen.

“It feels amaz­ing to re­ceive the awards. I’m very grate­ful that we have been recog­nised by the lo­cal coun­cil, Ro­tary and No 10 Down­ing Street. “The train­ing for me has been very im­por­tant, not only to keep us safe and help our res­i­dents, but to re­ward all the vol­un­teers who have been out at week­ends since Fe­bru­ary to this day. With­out them there would be no res­cue unit.”

Ear­lier this year the vol­un­teers un­der­went Level 1 Wa­ter Aware­ness train­ing in Poole. This taught them some ba­sic forms of res­cue and how to help at a flood res­cue site. The group is now plan­ning to start Level 2 First Re­spon­der train­ing early next year. This will mean they will be able to be­come even more in­volved with res­cues. “The main rea­son we have un­der­taken all of this is that if another flood was to arise, SSFV mem­bers would be qual­i­fied to safely and ef­fi­ciently de­liver hu­man­i­tar­ian aid, in­clud­ing clean wa­ter, food, and med­i­ca­tion to sur­round­ing res­i­dents,” said Mrs Grif­fiths.

“If a flood were to oc­cur, we could now re­spond first, man­age the area, per­form res­cues or call in other ser­vices to at­tend.

“Un­for­tu­nately, none of this can be achieved with­out our per­sonal pro­tec­tion equip­ment (PPE).

“For ex­am­ple, flood suits, dry suits, hel­mets, etc. “We have been given a quote of nearly £8,000 for this. With­out the PPE, we are not able to com­mence level 2 first re­spon­der ei­ther.” “I have man­aged to get our vol­un­teers train­ing pro­vided by £2,500 from a Heathrow Com­mu­ni­ties To­gether grant and £2,000 from Sur­rey Flood Re­cov­ery Ap­peal ear­lier this year but this was just for the train­ing alone.”

Coun­cil­lor Daxa Pa­tel has do­nated £350 and Cllr Denise Saliagopou­los £750 to the cause but the vol­un­teers need more if they are to carry on their cru­cial work within the commu- nity. Mrs Grif­fiths added: “We are in need of vol­un­teers as well. We have places for peo­ple to join us and re­ceive free train­ing. We are look­ing for any age, any level of fit­ness. “We are a group of young and old, thin and fat. Ba­si­cally, we will take any­one who would like to help and in­te­grate them into our team, no mat­ter what their ca­pa­bil­i­ties.” To do­nate

visit www. go­fundme. com/ SFVolun teers or con­tact Mrs Grif­fiths at al­isonl­grif­fiths@ hot­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

Lo­cal he­roes: Months of self­less hard work from Spelthorne’s Sun­bury Flood Vol­un­teers saw all 10 pass their level 5 ex­am­i­na­tions – an im­por­tant step in pre­par­ing them to pro­vide in­valu­able support in the event of more flood­ing.

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