Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
Funding helps local preparedness projects get off the ground
Local groups in Korumburra, Myrtleford and Whittlesea township and surrounds, are taking an active approach to preparing their regions for future disaster, thanks to a partnership with FRRR’s Disaster Resilient: Future Ready (DR:FR) Victorian program.
As part of the place-based DR:FR program, the three regional communities are sharing a total of $120,839 in grants. These funds are already being put to use, with communities leading local initiatives designed to improve wellbeing, increase preparedness and strengthen resilience so that each place has greater capacity to endure, adapt and evolve positively when faced with the impacts of climate, disasters and other disruptions.
Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that FRRR is the DR:FR initiative is an active partnership between FRRR and the communities.
The premise of the DR:FR program is to partner with local groups and community members, and provide them with the tools and resources to identify what their community needs to prepare for the impacts of climate change, natural disasters and broader disruptions.
“The priority projects have been under development since March, so it’s a major milestone to see the local groups getting these important ideas off the ground. We are inspired by the passion and persistence shown by each group and their eagerness to make a difference when the next emergency arrives. “We look forward to continuing to partner with these communities to better prepare their regions to withstand the impacts of future disasters,” Ms O’Brien said.
Korumburra is setting up a Helping Hub, to be run from the local Community House.
The Helping Hub will match community volunteers with those in need of assistance via a website, social media and six-monthly volunteer expos.
The Hub will build community networks and provide connection to residents who need support, improving resilience generally and in emergencies such as storms or heatwaves.
Mytrleford is fortunate to have a range of community groups and resources that can be mobilised to support the community during a disaster.
FRRR funding has been used to engage a person in a Community Connector Role for the Myrtleford neighbourhood to understand each group’s facilities and resources.
They will continue to work with the groups to plan how they can collectively support residents in the first 72 hours of an emergency event such as flooding or bushfire, and develop a Contacts Directory and Community Assets Map to make communication and co-ordination of resources easier in an emergency.
Whittlesea Township and Surrounds
Whittlesea Township and Surrounds’ Community Resilience Committee (CRC) is using their grant to employ a project officer to support a range of initiatives.
The CRC is keen to ensure that grassroots community action in future events is recognised in the formal Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP) and, therefore, by the formal disaster response agencies. They have received support from the MEMP Committee and are currently rewriting a previous Community Emergency Management Plan, to be endorsed later in 2023.
A key project for this group is to set up a Community Emergency Response Network (CERN) of local residents and community organisations. For future large fires and storms, the CERN would be recognised as part of the formal emergency response and would coordinate the local community-level relief efforts.
The DR:FR initiative is collaboratively supported by many generous donors, who are acknowledged on the FRRR website.
For more information about this program, visit https://frrr.org.au/drfr-victoria/.