RESIDENTS in a high-risk flood area of Weymouth learned how to protect themselves and their homes at drop-in events this week.

Two events for Melcombe Regis residents were held at the Park Community Centre as part of an important project being piloted in Weymouth.

Dorset Coast Forum is launching the Building Resilience in Communities’ (BRIC) project to help residents in high-risk areas such as the Park District, town centre and harbourside prepare for increased flooding due to climate change.

The events involved listening to residents' concerns and offering key advice on positive actions that can be taken to protect the community - particularly those who are elderly and vulnerable.

The Echo joined the first of the two sessions at the community centre in Chelmsford Street on Tuesday, with "a lot of good local knowledge" imparted to organisers to help shape the project going forwards.

Residents were encouraged to pinpoint areas of concern on a map of the town and offered practical tips and advice.

Project coordinator Dan Williams outlined plans for setting up sandbag stores in at-risk streets, with community flood wardens being appointed as key-holders and who would also help alert vulnerable people in the event of a flood.

Key advice is to sign up for flood alerts with the Environment Agency as well as having a grab-bag containing essential items such as a head-torch and important documents.

"It's easy to get very concerned over climate change, Mr Williams said."We're trying to approach it from an active standpoint and focus on what we can do, rather than what will happen."

At the event was Melcombe Regis councillor Jon Orrell, who said the BRIC project represented welcome investment in building resilience to mitigate flood risk in Weymouth. "It's not a question of if it will happen - it's when it will happen," he said.

"Previous floods, such as those seen in 2014, fired a warning shot across the bows that we need to be prepared."

Meanwhile Park District resident Helen Hardwick praised organisers for passing on useful advice: "I don't think people should be put off from living here - by taking practical steps you can still enjoy your home. Sandbanks in Poole is one of the most expensive places to buy property - and is also at risk of flooding."

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