Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Bendigo, 2nd March 2018: The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) has announced that three NSW communities will be the first to trial a new national framework to improve community disaster preparedness and resilience.

The pilot communities are Ocean Shores, Wee Waa and North Richmond. With support from the NSW Government through the Office of Emergency Management, as well a number of philanthropic partners, the pilots will identify effective approaches to building community resilience and determine what is needed for their communities to be better prepared and more resilient in the event of a natural disaster.

These three pilots are the first in the Disaster Resilient: Future Ready program, which will empower local communities to co-design a framework and provide an evidence base that aims to ultimately increase awareness of risk and build capacity to strengthen the disaster preparedness and resilience of communities throughout NSW and Australia.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR says that with more frequent and severe natural disasters, there is clear evidence that their effects can be mitigated with better community preparedness but that each community needs to be involved in developing its own approach that is relevant to their context.

“We know that when communities are better prepared for disasters, they recover faster and more effectively than those that are not. So, we are using the latest research into how communities can build their resilience to inform these community-led, place-based pilots.

“Each of the pilot communities is either at-risk or has experienced the impact of a natural disaster in the past. Most importantly, they have the capacity and interest to participate in this new approach to developing community-led preparedness.

“To help us develop this into a national framework and ensure it is robust, we have engaged the University of Sydney to support and evaluate the co-design process and the approaches adopted by pilot communities.

“Local leaders will use the framework to identify priority community initiatives, which we intend to fund with grants. The projects will be evaluated to establish evidence of best practice approaches that can be adopted and adapted on a national-scale for other communities, so they too can improve their preparedness and resilience,” explained Ms Egleton.

FRRR has been able to develop and implement this program with the generous support of partners including Prince’s Trust Australia, Ronald Geoffrey Arnott Foundation, a number of private donors and the NSW Government.

FRRR estimates that this project requires a minimum of $1.5 million over the next three years to deliver the program nationally.

Roadshow kick-starts new research program

6 September 2017: The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the NSW Government, through the Get Ready NSW initiative, are collaborating to develop and evaluate effective community-led disaster preparedness practices. The first phase is a roadshow to some high-risk disaster areas, in a bid to find communities to participate in the Get Ready community disaster preparedness pilot.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR says there is strong evidence that well-prepared communities recover better following natural disasters. However, there is a gap in knowledge around exactly what makes some communities better prepared and therefore better able to respond.

In response to this, FRRR developed the Disaster Resilient: Future Ready program. The program builds on current research and by engaging with a range of stakeholders in communities, it will develop and evaluate reality-tested indicators, methods and tools to build community resilience. The aim is to develop effective community-led disaster preparedness practices in grass-roots communities.

Ms Egleton explains that the damage caused by natural disasters can be mitigated with better community preparedness.

“There is no one size fits all solution and we firmly believe that locals know the best approach to solving local problems, but sometimes they need support to do just that.

“That’s why this project will have direct involvement from ‘at risk’ communities. With the support of partners including Prince’s Trust Australia, Ronald Geoffrey Arnott Foundation, private donors and the NSW Government, through their Get Ready program, we’re doing a roadshow through at-risk communities in New South Wales.

“We’re looking for communities willing to participate in the Get Ready community disaster preparedness pilot and co-design approaches to improve community preparedness and resilience that integrate with local priorities.

“We will work with them to identify what projects need to take place to help them withstand and recover from any future disaster. We then intend to fund these projects and to share what we learn with other communities so they too can improve their preparedness and resilience.

“The collective learnings will inform evidence-based, community-led preparedness practice, and help to develop and hone a disaster resilience framework that will then be rolled-out nationally,” explains Ms Egleton.

The roadshow has already visited Windsor, Kandos and Rylstone. Other locations and dates are:

  • Wednesday 6 September                 Wee Waa
  • Friday 8 September                           Ocean Shores
  • Tuesday 12 September                     Holbrook
  • Wednesday 13 September               Hay