Disaster Resilient: Future Ready
FRRR has long known that well-prepared communities recover better following natural disasters. This was a strong driver in FRRR creating the Disaster Resilient: Future Ready (DR:FR) program. In partnership with private donors, and the NSW Government through its Get Ready program, we have piloted a community co-designed disaster resilience framework in Ocean Shores, North Richmond / Kurrajong and Wee Waa, NSW.
Communities have prioritised locally-relevant disaster preparedness initiatives, which have then been supported with grants. Sydney University has also been engaged as the program Learning Partner, helping to build the evidence base for community-led disaster resilience approaches. The research findings will be published in 2021.
The program will begin rolling out in Victoria in 2021, with seven communities to be invited to express their interest in participating in the program.
North Richmond and Kurrajong, which are said to have the highest single flood exposure in New South Wales, if not Australia, and are also in a high fire-risk area, were the first of the three communities to complete its DR:FR pilot journey, with their StreetConnect initiative attracting further funds to expand.
StreetConnect aimed to increase the awareness of natural disasters, connect residents to trusted local information sources, and ensure they have access to a home emergency / evacuation kit.
It was managed through the local schools, with an adult working group combining forces with students to test some ideas to connect residents, street by street.
Michael Laing, StreetConnect Community Project Leader, reported that after trialling a street survey, they changed tack, including developing a touching video.
“Due to low levels of participation in the survey, the focus shifted to more event-based engagement through the schools, community events, and ideas from students such as a poster competition.
“This project led to the promotion of the StreetConnect vision for the students, their families, and the wider school community. It also produced a resource that was promoted at major events, as well as online throughout the community.”
Investing in Rural Community Futures
This new flagship program, established in partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, works proactively with locally led and governed not-for-profit organisations to strengthen their effectiveness and sustainability.
The IRCF program provides grant funding, facilitation support, and capacity building tools to increase the long-term vitality, liveability, and regional competitiveness of their communities.
IRCF has been running in the New South Wales
communities of Junee, Leeton and Nambucca Valley.
This financial year, the VFFF IRCF program:
- distributed $300,000 for Start Up grants, to kickstart the IRCF journey;
- facilitated the development of sector roadmaps that prioritise needs and actions to strengthen capacity, delivery, and collaboration;
- appointed local facilitators to support capability building in each community.
At the beginning of 2020, the Snow Foundation
committed $2.6M to expand the IRCF program
to Nowra, Ulladulla and Bateman’s Bay, NSW. The program has already brought community groups together via COVID-safe online forums, provided $525,000 in Start Up grants and appointed a locally-based IRCF coordinator.
The longer-term, flexible approach to funding, and being able to listen, reimagine and respond to the future represents a unique and exciting opportunity to support all these communities as they adapt and respond to existing, new, and emerging challenges and opportunities.