Meet the Blue Heart team
The Blue Heart team contributes different knowledge and skills. We work for different organisations and are based in different places around the country.
We are working with colleagues from our own organisations and collaborators from outside.
Once or twice a year we’ll all meet up in person for a couple of days thinking, planning and collaborating. We call these meetings ‘sprints’, because we make lots of progress by having that time and focus together.
My role involves day to day running of the project; keeping the team, partners and residents happy and strategic direction.
I studied Geography at University and previously worked as a Flood Risk Consultant. I started working at East Sussex County Council the week funding was announced; my first task was coming up with an idea and turning it into a comprehensive successful bid.
I think of myself as a part time lazy surfer – a surfer who has never been able to stand up but I love being in the water. I’m either found doing this, or photographing the sport from the shoreline and other water landscapes.
Communication and Engagement Lead
I’m a link between the project team, and the people who live and work within the project area and care about its future. My role is to support clear communication and understanding both ways, so that Blue Heart delivers on its aims, and benefits local people.
My background is in community, science and heritage engagement.
I find being near water very peaceful – but I never successfully learnt to swim so I don’t enjoy being in it!
My role on the project is to oversee the workstreams being completed by JBA Consulting for the Blue Heart project. This is largely focussed on the hydraulic modelling side of the project and we have teams building an integrated catchment model, looking at rainfall thresholds and assessing the flood risk assets in Eastbourne. I also support Anna Hastings with project management.
My background is in flood forecasting and warning, delivering incident management training and response, and supporting local authorities with flood risk management.
I’m a keen swimmer and frequently swim in rivers and the sea in Sussex.
Flood Risk Technician
I provide support to Blue Heart in the form of writing reports, producing maps, and pulling together and analysing data relating to the project.
My background is in Flood Risk Management, Environmental Science and Geographical Information Systems.
I find it fascinating how water has such a huge impact on people and the natural world in such a wide variety of ways.
Farzan is a Water Engineer and AIoT Researcher at University of Exeter.
As a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, I am leading on the new technologies being installed for monitoring water levels across the Blue Heart area and providing related research insights.
I have previously worked on wide variety of projects related to the world of water, such as monitoring of sewage for evidence of COVID-19 and modelling water distribution systems to improve resilience.
I find being in or on the water a great way to unwind from a busy week, and particularly enjoy wild swimming to coastal rowing.
Kate Baker – Academic Lead for Community Engagement
As a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and Director of Agile Rabbit, a communications and engagement charity, my role is to ensure the messaging of the Blue Heart project is delivered effectively to key stakeholders, local businesses, and members of the public. To do so, my team utilises a variety of community-driven techniques with a focus on innovation – designing and evaluating playful activities to increase community resilience to flooding.
I live by the sea and try to get in as much as I can!
Town Planner/ Planning specialist
I’ve been Flood Risk Manager with East Sussex County Council for 13 years. Before that I worked at the borough, county and regional levels of planning with specialisms in coastal planning, flood risk, natural resource management and climate change.
Water features prominently in my professional life, and having been brought up on the rural east coast it is equally significant in my personal life. Living on the coast led to direct involvement in shoreline management issues, experience of flooding and, of course, a lot of sailing.
I am leading on the research-side of the project, leading our team of researchers and PhD students on data gathering, analysis and insights. I lead the Stormwater Intelligence Group in the Centre for Water Systems at the University of Exeter and have spent 15 years pursuing all forms of projects that can help us understand how rainwater interacts with our cities, helping communities to see rainwater as a resource rather than a threat.
When I am in, on, or under water I am content – pools, rivers, surfing, paddling, sailing or diving. When it isn’t being drunk, water is truly a great amenity.