Get Flood Ready!

The Lancaster team’s latest digital game – Get Flood Ready! – is designed for younger (primary-aged) children. Like Flood Snakes & Ladders, the game takes players on a journey through the experience of flooding and recovery but this game focuses much more on increasing flood awareness and preparedness.

The game can be played individually, in groups of 2-4 or as a whole class.

To access the game or to download an Android version, visit our Flood Snakes & Ladders website.

screenshot of Get Flood Ready! game

Please reference as: Flooding – a social impact archive, Lancaster University

Policy submissions

The Lancaster University team has contributed to a number of government policy consultations:

Evidence submitted to the Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry Flooding: Cooperation Across Government (PDF) 23 March 2016
Mort, M., Walker, M., Lloyd Williams, A., Bingley, A., Lancaster University, UK

Submission by Lancaster University to Defra’s National Flood Resilience Review Call for Evidence (PDF) 4 March 2016
Mort, M., Lancaster University, UK

Submission by Lancaster University for Defra consultation on the Draft Flood and Water Management Bill (PDF) 24 July 2009
Sims, R., Medd, W., Mort, M., Twigger-Ross, C., Walker, G., Watson, N., Lancaster University, UK

Locally appropriate response and recovery – submission by Lancaster University for Defra consultation on the National Flood Emergency Framework 27 March 2009
Sims, R., Medd, W., Mort, M., Twigger-Ross, C., Walker, G., Watson, N., Lancaster UK, 21 p.

Perspectives on resilience from households in Hull – response to Defra consultation on policy options for promoting property-level flood protection and resilience, 31 October 2008
Sims, R., Medd, W., Mort, M., Watson, N., Walker, G., Twigger-Ross, C., Lancaster UK, 27 p.

The ongoing experience of recovery for households in Hull – response to the Pitt Review Interim Report Learning the lessons from the 2007 floods, Chapter 9 of the Pitt Review Interim Report, 31 March 2008
Sims, R., Medd, W., Kashefi, E., Mort, M., Watson, N., Walker, G., Twigger-Ross, C.,  Lancaster UK, 14 p.


Flood Suitcase

Flood Recovery

two painted cardboard suitcases

Designing the Flood Suitcase

The Flood Suitcase is a workshop programme designed to support flood-affected children and young people and build more resilient schools and communities. The programme was developed from the creative methods used during the Children, Young People and Flooding Project and are designed to support children to talk about their experiences of flooding in a safe space.

Lancaster researchers piloted the Flood Suitcase programme with children and parents in Cumbria affected by the flooding caused by Storm Desmond in December 2015. A group of 18 primary school children and five parents took part in two creative workshops during the 2016 summer term. The group walked and took photos around the local flood-affected area and the workshops drew on drama games and exercises, sandplay and 3D modelling to help the children tell their story of the floods and share their experiences with others.

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At the end of the workshops, the group was given its own ‘Flood Suitcase’ to keep in school, which the children had co-designed. This suitcase is a place to store photographs and other items which evoke memories of the flood and the recovery process. It also provides a focus for discussing flooding in school and opening a dialogue about community flood awareness and resilience building.

The Flood Suitcase pilot project ended with evaluation sessions with the children, parents and staff. A number of the children talked about how the workshops had been both fun and helpful and they had lots of ideas about how to continue using the school’s Flood Suitcase!

Following this pilot, the research team ran the Flood Suitcase project in 2017 at St. Michael’s on Wyre C.E. Primary School in Lancashire and wrote a short case study about this. During both projects, the team worked alongside staff from the children’s charity, Barnardo’s, training them in the use of the Flood Suitcase.

colage of resources including book Memories o the Flood, photographs and the Flood Suitcase

Some of the resources the children saved in their school Flood Suitcase


Barnardo’s have since run the Flood Suitcase programme successfully in three primary schools in Cumbria. The children who took part in this work with Barnardo’s reported that the project had helped them to better understand flooding and what action to take when there is the risk of a flood. Many said how much they had enjoyed the work and that they wanted to learn more about flooding.

The workshop facilitator’s Flood Suitcase

If you are interested in the Flood Suitcase workshop programme for your school or youth group, please contact us at:


Please reference as: Flooding – a social impact archive, Lancaster University

Flood Snakes & Ladders

Flood snakes & ladders board with 30 squares alternately coloured in blue & aqua, white dice with black dots, a red and a yellow avatar displayed as 'wellington boots' for team playersA major output of Lancaster University’s research into the social effects of flooding is the Flood Snakes & Ladders game, which takes participants on a flood journey from a child’s perspective. The game uses real data from two of our research projects (quotes, photographs, drawings and 3D models) to explore what it is like to experience and recover from flooding. It can be played either online (1-4 players) or ‘live’ in a workshop setting.

Go to our dedicated Flood Snakes & Ladders website for more information and to play the game:

(Transcript of sound bite)

Flood Snakes & Ladders is a versatile training tool that highlights the different ways that social research data can be used to engage with the policy and practice of flood risk reduction, preparedness and emergency management. It can be used in a variety of situations such as:

  • With emergency planners – to highlight the issues that they might wish to think about when planning recovery
  • With policymakers – to help them experience how their policies are played out on the ground
  • With public and private sector practitioners involved in disaster recovery – for example, insurers, loss adjusters, damage management professionals, local government workers, teachers, health professionals – to highlight good and bad practice and stimulate debate on the best ways to manage recovery
  • With students – to help them explore the disaster recovery process, to illustrate the potential consequences of climate change and as the basis for exploring issues of flood preparedness and response
  • The game also makes an excellent ‘ice-breaker’ for courses dealing with a wide range of subjects – from hazard and disaster management to emergency planning and understanding the social impacts of climate change. While flooding is the case study used, the game shines a light on issues generic to disaster preparedness, experience and recovery

drawing of family with quote in bubble above their heads. The quotes says "at 4 o'clock in the morning my step mom went downstairs and shouted us down. my bedroom was downstairs it got totally flooded".

Please reference as: Flooding – a social impact archive, Lancaster University

Research in practice

Here you can read about how policymakers and practitioners have applied the findings from Lancaster University’s research. These case studies from our Children, Young People and Flooding Project are given here to illustrate how emergency planners can take a more participatory approach to community resilience building.

Environment Agency logoThe Environment Agency (EA) is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). A key aspect of their Environmental Management work in England is Flooding and Coastal Change. The EA has engaged strongly with the findings of our research and now sees working with children and young people as essential to achieving flood resilience: Environment Agency Case Study

Surrey County Council logoSurrey County Council has responded positively to the recommendations of local flood-affected young people arising from our research. Children and young people are now included in the work of Surrey Prepared, a partnership between county and borough councils, police, Fire & Rescue, the utilities, and relevant voluntary sector partners that aims to support local people ‘to be informed, to plan and to be prepared’ for emergencies: Surrey County Council Case Study

BDMA logoThe BDMA is the certifying body for damage management professionals, setting standards and providing training and accreditation for practitioners across the wider insurance industry involved in the recovery and restoration of damaged properties. The organisation has done a great deal to spread the word within their sector about the need to listen to, and involve children and families in flood recovery work: British Damage Management Association Case Study

Interactive Tools

Do you want to get people thinking about flood risk? One way is to use interactive tools and games!

If you are a student, teacher, emergency planner/responder or you are involved in developing policy you will find these resources open up new conversations and pathways to action.


How will you ‘Help Callum’?

Help Callum is a 360 virtual reality video in which viewers experience flooding and the difficult road to recovery from the perspective of a young boy and his family. The video aims to promote flood awareness among adults and children.




Flood snakes & ladders board with 30 squares alternately coloured in blue & aqua, white dice with black dots, a red and a yellow avatar displayed as 'wellington boots' for team players

Roll the dice!

Flood Snakes & Ladders is an interactive game that invites participants to walk in the shoes of flood-affected children. It can be used to stimulate discussion and learning around flood preparedness and response.




A decorated flood suitcase

Flood recovery resource

The Flood Suitcase is designed to support recovery and resilience building with flood-affected children, young people, families and teachers.





screenshot of Get Flood Ready! game

Prepare for flooding

Get Flood Ready! is a digital game for primary-aged children, aimed at promoting flood awareness and preparedness.





glass kilner jar with moonlight image of boat sailing on the waves

The Tide Jar

How to Catch a River is a set of resources created by Claire Dean during her PhD at Lancaster University.


Here are a set of final reports from Lancaster University research projects about the social effects of flooding:

Mort, M., Walker, M., Lloyd Williams, A., Bingley, A. & Howells, V. (2016). Children, Young People and Flooding: Recovery and Resilience Project Report (PDF). Lancaster, UK: Lancaster University.

This report outlines the key research findings into the experiences of children and young people during the UK winter 2013/14 floods. The report makes a number of key recommendations for policy and practice in England and Wales.



Kemp, R.J. (2016). Living without electricity: one city’s experience of coping with loss of power (PDF). London: Royal Academy of Engineering.

Over the first weekend in December 2015, Storm Desmond brought unprecedented flooding to North Lancashire and Cumbria, including to parts of central Lancaster. At 10.45 pm on Saturday, 5 December, electricity supplies to 61,000 properties in the city were cut. This report details one city’s experience of coping with loss of power.



Walker, M., Whittle R., Medd, W., Burningham, K., Moran-Ellis, J. & Tapsell, S. (2011).Hull Children’s Flood Project Final Report (PDF).

This is the Final Project Report and Executive Summary for ‘Children, Flood and Urban Resilience: Understanding children and young people’s experience and agency in the flood recovery process’. Lancaster, UK: Lancaster University.



Whittle, R., Medd, W., Deeming, H., Kashefi, E., Mort, M., Twigger Ross, C., Walker, G. & Watson, N. (2010). After the Rain – learning the lessons from flood recovery in Hull (PDF).

The Final Project Report for Flood, Vulnerability and Urban Resilience: a real-time study of local recovery following the floods of June 2007 in Hull. Lancaster, UK: Lancaster University.

Books and articles

Here are a number of articles and books arising from Lancaster University’s research into the social effects of flooding and children’s role in Disaster Risk Reduction:

This book, produced by the CUIDAR project team, argues for a radical transformation in children’s roles and voices in disasters. It shows practitioners, policy-makers and researchers how more child-centred disaster management, that recognises children’s capacity to enhance disaster resilience, actually benefits at-risk communities as a whole.

Our case study features in this publication to guide experts and policymakers, technical working groups, international and non-governmental organisations in their work to reduce disaster risk and build resilience.

This article is aimed at emergency managers, public health practitioners, policymakers, journalists and others who can implement and amplify the findings from our disaster research with children.

This paper draws on case studies of several of the children and young people we worked with during the Children, Young People and Flooding project to discuss how flooding causes multiple losses and affects children’s relationship with place and space.

This article draws on our Children, Young People and Flooding project report to make a case for including children and young people in policymaking in UK flood risk management.

  • Easthope, L. (2018). The Recovery Myth: The Plans and Situated Realities of Post Disaster Response. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

This book provides an innovative re-examination of the ‘recovery’ phase of a disaster. Drawing on two decades’ of work, the book develops an ethnography of the residents and responders in one flooded village and applies this to other cases of UK flooding, as well as to post-disaster recovery in New Zealand. The book shows how localised emergency responders find ways to collaborate with residents, and how an informal network uses nationally generated instruments differently to co-produce regeneration within a community. The book considers the plethora of government instruments which have been produced to affect recovery, including checklists, templates and guidance documents, and discusses approaches to community resilience and recovery risk management.

This paper brings together the interdisciplines of performance studies, disaster studies and mobilities studies to argue that flood-affected children can mobilise and be mobilised by performance-based methods. We suggest that these methods help children’s voices to ‘travel’ and support them to become change agents in disaster planning.

This paper reports on the findings of a longitudinal study using an action research model to understand the everyday experiences of individuals following the floods of June 2007 in Hull. The research shows that what happens after a flood in terms of getting your life and your home back on track is often harder for people to deal with than the event itself. The paper argues that recovery involves a more varied process than is assumed and concludes with suggestions for addressing the ‘recovery gap’.

Recovery practices following the loss of home, sense of security, space and possessions, have recently become a focus of government attention. How people recover from disasters is seen to have a direct bearing on individual, community and economic well-being. A raft of instruments: templates, checklists and guidance documents have been produced to instigate recovery, which work within a wider context of disaster planning to create order where much is uncertain, reactive and dependent on emerging relationships. While such instruments are not necessarily unwelcome, they carry many assumptions. We show how they are built from official narratives that are often remote from situated practices or recovery-in-place. From a five-year study of a flooded community in South Yorkshire and the development of government recovery guidance, it became clear that such protocols became transformed locally when enacted by newly formed collaborations of residents and local responders. In this way, operating alongside, and sometimes underneath the official response, residents and local responders demonstrated a remaking of the politics of recovery.

  • Whittle, R., Medd, W., Mort, M., Deeming, H., Walker, M., Twigger-Ross, C., Walker, G. & Watson, N. (2014). Placing the flood recovery process. In: I. Convery, G. Corsane & P. Davis (Eds). Displaced Heritage – Responses to Disaster, Trauma and Loss. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, pp. 199-206, ISBN: 9781843839637.

This chapter ‘Placing the flood recovery process’ is part of the section looking at ‘Displaced Heritage: Lived Realities, Local Experiences’. The chapter reports on the findings of the longitudinal study of people’s recovery from the floods of June 2007 in Kingston-upon-Hull, UK in which over 8,600 households were affected. The chapter begins by exploring the ways in which the policy and research literature describes the recovery process, and then moves on to the experiences of the Hull residents.  It argues that if we want to understand the recovery process then it is essential to think about what it is that is being recovered. 

The growing body of literature that seeks to understand the social impact of flooding has failed to recognise the value of children’s knowledge in understanding the impact of flood. This paper argues, through a case study with flood-affected children in Hull, the significance of children’s accounts. More specifically the paper identifies first, how children have specific flood experiences that need to be understood in their own right, and second, how through children’s accounts we can understand more about the nature of flood and the flood recovery process.

This paper uses concepts of emotion work and emotional labour to explore people’s experiences of the long-term disaster recovery process. It draws on data taken from two qualitative research projects which looked at adults’ and children’s recovery from the floods of June 2007 in Hull, UK. The paper argues that the emotional work of recovery cannot be separated from the physical and practical work of recovering the built environment. It shows that a focus on emotion work can lead to a more nuanced understanding of what recovery actually means and who is involved, leading to the identification of hidden vulnerabilities and a better understanding of the longer timescales involved in the process.

Dissemination is a vital but neglected component of research with children. Drawing on our experiences working with 46 flood-affected children and young people we evaluate the evolution of a creative methodology for disseminating research results to non-academic audiences in tandem with the participants. Reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of this process, we highlight three key conclusions: the importance of reciprocity in research, the necessity of taking a creative, active approach to dissemination, and the role of dissemination in providing a means by which other issues can be explored.

This paper approaches flooding as a socio-natural-technical assemblage, a phenomenon that comes into being in relation to the spaces that `bad water’ occupies. We use the case of the major flood in the city of Hull in June 2007, and the accounts of those who experienced it, to follow the flood water into homes and household spaces. Through the analysis of data from two parallel projects examining the experiences of adults and children, we show that the boundaries of the flood remained open, contested and socially complex. Finally, implications are explored in relation to the processes embroiled in producing ‘flood status’ and the consequences for the actors involved.

This article is based on a case study of the summer floods of June 2007 in Hull, Northeast England. We use a real-time, diary-based methodology to document and understand the everyday experiences of individuals following the floods.  We ask what can we can learn about caring when the home is disrupted. Focusing on the diaries, we explore what flood reveals about the emotional and physical landscapes of caring in the context of recovery and illustrate the intimate connections that exist between ideas of dwelling and caring. In drawing on the accounts of carers (who are often also those displaced by flood), we explore the tensions between, and intersections of spaces of care work as these are enacted between the routines of everyday ‘normal’ life and the specific disruptions generated by flood.

  • Watkins, S. & Whyte, I. (2009). Floods in North West England: a history c. 1600-2008. Lancaster University: Centre for North-West Regional Studies. 





Supporting life after flooding

Research exploring people’s recovery after the 2007 Hull floods changed government policy and national guidelines on managing recovery after flooding and other disaster events. The Economic and Social Research Council, who co-funded this study, has produced a case study of the Hull Floods Project, as well as this short film.

Children, young people and flooding – the flood project

Children are often ignored in disaster related planning and policy development. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, this collaborative study between Lancaster University and Save the Children researched children’s and young people’s experiences of the UK winter 2013/14 floods. Watch this six minute film to hear about the children’s experiences and their ideas about what needs to be done to improve recovery for people who are flooded in the future.

Transforming disaster planning – a child-centered approach

Supporting children’s right to participate in disaster management enhances disaster resilience. The CUIDAR Project – Cultures of Disaster Resilience Among Children and Young People – was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. CUIDAR worked with more than 500 children and young people from across Europe. They collaborated with filmmakers to produce a film about what needs to be done to improve disaster risk reduction.