NEW flood defences in Abbeydale were put to the test during the recent torrential downpours and gale-force winds.
Abbeydale Community Centre was forced to close for a few days as a precaution, but escaped flood damage thanks to the measures installed.
Volunteers and staff from the community centre were out in force to help put nine temporary rubber-sealed flood boards in place to keep water out of doorways.
Andy Tickner, chairman of Abbeydale Community Association, said it was a big relief to see the flood arc defences working when the water started coming over the car park.
"The investment was made by Severn Trent after the floods in 2007 and they have helped enormously," he said.
"The trust has worked very hard to secure grants to improve the centre and it is important it is protected. The flood defences have done their job. One thing we have learnt is that these defences need to be left in place overnight when heavy rain is forecast."
A section of the river from Abbeymead Avenue to the Speedwell Close weir is renowned for flooding.
City council clean-up teams pulled a telegraph pole and other debris from the River Twyver that runs nearby to the centre to keep it running freely during heavy rain on Thursday, but water still spilled over into surrounding areas.
One-way air bricks around the community centre, drains with a one-way valve and the nine flood boards combined to keep the centre dry and water out.
Chris Adams, centre manager, said: "Trustees, staff and members of the community including regular Lounge Bar users all put wellies on to fight through the water and erect the flood guards and place sandbags at the doors to the building. With the floods in 2007 when we didn't have these defences in place, the building was devastated by the water, and this could have happened again."
Abbey ward councillor Andrew Gravells was impressed by the community spirit.
"Everyone pulled together to stop the centre from flooding. The city council's staff were brilliant and responded very quickly to our requests for help."
For information on weather warnings and areas at risk, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk.