Planting the seeds for a flood resilient future

Springwell Village Primary School

26 February 2018

A Sunderland school is more prepared for flooding after a rain garden planter was installed and the school’s pupils created a flood plan as part of the Environment Agency’s ‘Flood Weeks’.

Community Engagement Officer Taryn Al-Mashgari helped the youngsters at Springwell Village Primary School develop a flood plan and ‘grab bag’ so they are prepared in the event of a flood.

And partners at Northumbrian Water installed a rain planter - which captures and stores rainfall from the school’s roof – as part of its Rainwise initiative.

Youngsters at the school helped put flowers into the planter in an event today (Friday 23 February) and then ‘tagged’ the school with a flood warden logo designed by a pupil from Hetton Lyons Primary School.

This was done using Rainworks – an invisible spray which will only show the logo when it rains. It will remind pupils during key times to be aware of their flood resilience learning.

A workshop held by the Environment Agency, Northumbrian Water and Northern Powergrid then also took place for parents and local councillors to see what the children have been leaning and to see them demonstrate their newly-created flood plan.

It’s part of an Environment Agency initiative to help schools across the North East be better prepared for flooding. Taryn works with children in all year groups to help them understand different types of flooding and how it happens.

They learn what to do before and during a flood, and what the flood warning symbols used by the Environment Agency mean.

Taryn said: “It’s important that younger people understand what flooding is, how it happens and what the different organisations that deal with flooding do.

“We also teach them how to prepare for and what to do during a flood in a series of interactive sessions where they design their own flood protection and describe how they would keep their favourite possessions safe.

“It’s absolutely devastating to be flooded and that’s why we are working with schools and our partners to educate our future generations about what they can do to keep themselves and their valuables safe.”

Northumbrian Water’s Rainwise initiative aims to spread the word about how managing rainfall better can help increase capacity in the sewer network and encourages residents to make small changes around their homes and gardens.

Rain garden planters help reduce the risk of flooding by reducing the amount of water directly entering the sewer network, as well as slowing the amount of water that does.

Northumbrian Water’s Project Manager, Chris Bond, said: “The Environment Agency’s flood week gave us a real opportunity to work with the school to raise awareness of our Rainwise initiative and how it’s important for families to manage rainfall better around their home to help reduce flood risk.

“The planter captures rainwater from the roof of the school, which is then absorbed by the soil and plants and helps to take some of the pressure off our sewer network. It’s been great working with the children to put in these plants, which builds their knowledge of flooding and creating new natural habitats.”

For more information on Rainwise, visit

The Environment Agency is urging people to ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’ by visiting the Floods Destroy website and do three things to prepare for flooding.

• check your postcode and find out if you are at risk of flooding
• sign-up for free flood warnings if you are at risk
• view and save the 3-point flood plan so you know how to ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’ in a flood

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