Leaders sought for new emergency crew

Eyemouth Community Resilience exercise, testing how they'd cope with a major flooding incident, with support from Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland.
Eyemouth Community Resilience exercise, testing how they'd cope with a major flooding incident, with support from Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland.

Selkirk is to have another stab at putting together a resilient community group, following a stalled attempt the last time round.

At last Monday’s meeting of its community council, Kevin Sewell, one of three emergency planning officers at Scottish Borders Council, took members through what was required to run a resilient community – in which residents take charge and look out for vulnerable persons if they are cut off from help elsewhere.

He cited Eyemouth as a town where it works particularly well, thanks to the leadership of florist Gemma Landels, who self-activated the town’s flood team.

He also mentioned the resilient community in Fountainhall as one which recently organised an exercise, looking into the possible repercussions of a derailed train.

He said the first thing Selkirk needed to do was to identify a leader. A group of people could then be established, and a call tree system set up, so the group could be self-activated with no input from Newtown St Boswells.

Regular exercises would need to be organised and the members of the team would have to be prepared to mobilise at any point.

Members were told an earlier attempt in Selkirk failed to bear fruit, despite early enthusiasm.

Chairman Alastair Pattullo said: “The last time we got this far, everybody thought it was a good idea, but it didn’t go any further.”

Graham Easton reminded him: “At that time we were but six hardy souls. We now have a full compliment of community councillors who can help to bring this forward.”

While many members agreed that it would be a good thing, and moves were made to find leaders, not everyone around the table was sold.

Alasdair Lockhart said: “There are hardly any police, and the council budget is shrinking.

“You can’t tell me this isn’t anything other than the council passing the buck. It won’t wash.”