Cumbria innovative flood resilience (CiFR)

CiFR - Investigating flood resilience with rural communities

Our programme will be working in four areas that represent the diverse landscapes across Cumbria, and so the different kinds of flood risk that our communities face. These small, rural communities have suffered repeated flooding in the last two decades, but they aren't eligible for funding for traditional flood defences, and so we need to develop new ways to support and protect them. We'll be working with the communities to co-design and deliver an ambitious programme to build environmental and social resilience to flood threats that they face.



CiFR builds on a strong base of existing work in Cumbria around natural flood management, community resilience and blended finance. Cumbria has suffered significant flood events (including in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2015), but many of the communities affected are not eligible for traditional flood defences. This means we need to work with those communities to develop new ways to protect them and to prepare for flooding.

CiFR will investigate how we can bring together the good practice that already exists in Cumbria around natural flood management, community resilience and blended finance, and work with those communities to develop and test a “whole place” approach to flood resilience. Our strands of work include:
  1. Focussing natural flood management work in the areas where modelling shows it is likely to make a meaningful difference to the community’s flood risk, monitoring the impact that this work has on flood risk and water quality, and gaining a better understanding of the landscapes in which natural flood management makes the most difference to flood risk.
  2. Employing Farming and Community Officers to work with farmers and local communities to co-design and fund natural flood management interventions that work for everyone.
  3. Supporting communities to prepare for the residual flood risk, and building networks between communities to allow them to share knowledge and experiences.
  4. Using the data gathered on the impact of natural flood management work to explore and expand the opportunities for increasing blended finance.


We will be bringing this learning from the different workstreams together to develop resources we can use to improve flood risk management and community preparedness within Cumbria and other areas with similar landscapes, build the evidence base and so expand the funding opportunities, and to influence relevant policy.


Cumbria from the air during the 2015 floods

Our project will:

  1. Build our understanding of the effectiveness of natural flood management in different landscapes, allowing us to better target, fund and implement future natural flood management.
  2. Consolidate our knowledge around community resilience and collaborative working, producing resources to help replicate this work in other areas.
  3. Develop an evidence-based case for change, bringing learning from the workstreams together to influence flood resilience practice and policy at both local and national scale.


How you can get involved

If you'd like to find out more please drop us an email at CiFR@cumbria.gov.uk.


How our project is testing innovation

We’ll be pushing the boundaries of our existing work, testing how we combine these strengths to take a truly place-based approach to building flood resilience, developing an evidence base and using our learning to produce the tools and resources to change practice and policy.

We are testing 5 resilience actions and 1 policy challenge as part of the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme.

  • Nature based solutions
  • Community and voluntary sector action to be better prepared and recover more quickly
  • Monitoring and management of local assets
  • Enhanced flood warning systems
  • Local emergency response equipment
  • Balancing agricultural, flood and environmental priorities in low-lying agricultural land.
Visit the programme evaluation page to find out more.


Who we are working with



CiFR - Investigating flood resilience with rural communities

Our programme will be working in four areas that represent the diverse landscapes across Cumbria, and so the different kinds of flood risk that our communities face. These small, rural communities have suffered repeated flooding in the last two decades, but they aren't eligible for funding for traditional flood defences, and so we need to develop new ways to support and protect them. We'll be working with the communities to co-design and deliver an ambitious programme to build environmental and social resilience to flood threats that they face.



CiFR builds on a strong base of existing work in Cumbria around natural flood management, community resilience and blended finance. Cumbria has suffered significant flood events (including in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2015), but many of the communities affected are not eligible for traditional flood defences. This means we need to work with those communities to develop new ways to protect them and to prepare for flooding.

CiFR will investigate how we can bring together the good practice that already exists in Cumbria around natural flood management, community resilience and blended finance, and work with those communities to develop and test a “whole place” approach to flood resilience. Our strands of work include:
  1. Focussing natural flood management work in the areas where modelling shows it is likely to make a meaningful difference to the community’s flood risk, monitoring the impact that this work has on flood risk and water quality, and gaining a better understanding of the landscapes in which natural flood management makes the most difference to flood risk.
  2. Employing Farming and Community Officers to work with farmers and local communities to co-design and fund natural flood management interventions that work for everyone.
  3. Supporting communities to prepare for the residual flood risk, and building networks between communities to allow them to share knowledge and experiences.
  4. Using the data gathered on the impact of natural flood management work to explore and expand the opportunities for increasing blended finance.


We will be bringing this learning from the different workstreams together to develop resources we can use to improve flood risk management and community preparedness within Cumbria and other areas with similar landscapes, build the evidence base and so expand the funding opportunities, and to influence relevant policy.


Cumbria from the air during the 2015 floods

Our project will:

  1. Build our understanding of the effectiveness of natural flood management in different landscapes, allowing us to better target, fund and implement future natural flood management.
  2. Consolidate our knowledge around community resilience and collaborative working, producing resources to help replicate this work in other areas.
  3. Develop an evidence-based case for change, bringing learning from the workstreams together to influence flood resilience practice and policy at both local and national scale.


How you can get involved

If you'd like to find out more please drop us an email at CiFR@cumbria.gov.uk.


How our project is testing innovation

We’ll be pushing the boundaries of our existing work, testing how we combine these strengths to take a truly place-based approach to building flood resilience, developing an evidence base and using our learning to produce the tools and resources to change practice and policy.

We are testing 5 resilience actions and 1 policy challenge as part of the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme.

  • Nature based solutions
  • Community and voluntary sector action to be better prepared and recover more quickly
  • Monitoring and management of local assets
  • Enhanced flood warning systems
  • Local emergency response equipment
  • Balancing agricultural, flood and environmental priorities in low-lying agricultural land.
Visit the programme evaluation page to find out more.


Who we are working with



CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
Page last updated: 11 May 2023, 02:12 PM