Community-led resilience building initiative in Grampians

Winners of last year’s Resilient Australia Awards are encouraging Victorians to apply to be recognised on a national stage.

Australian Red Cross in the Grampians won the Resilient Australia Community Award for their RediCommunity Project.

At the very heart of the project was the desire to empower individuals and communities to exercise choice and take responsibility.

The project ran over 12 months following the 2013/14 bushfires that impacted the Grampians region.

The goal of RediCommunity Project was to facilitate community-led resilience building initiatives to increase community capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from severe weather events and other emergencies.

The project was based around five townships within the Ararat Rural City, Horsham Rural City and Northern Grampians Shire Council areas: Great Western, Elmhurst, Pomonal, Dadswells Bridge and Moyston.

This was achieved by:

  • increasing the understanding of local risks and hazards through community education and engagement about shared responsibility
  • facilitating the development of flexible, networked local responses to support communities handling change, and to help them adapt to, and manage adverse events
  • using a place-based approach: activities were planned, implemented and tested in the context of the complex capacities and vulnerabilities of each community
  • encouraging the strengthening and nurturing of community leadership and coordination through enabling partnerships

To make the project a success, organisers found it essential to spend time engaging community leaders and gradually build a collective understanding of what resilience and risk meant to them and how the community could share the responsibility.

The success of the project is evidenced by the creation of:

  • Three community-based emergency resilience groups
  • Five community emergency resilience plans
  • Three resident information kits
  • Five local town emergency preparedness guides
  • Emergency messaging inclusion in tourist information kits

All of the participating communities graduated from being passive recipients of information about disaster to considering the risks and mitigations from a local perspective and redeveloping community messaging accordingly.

The process, framework and resources have been compiled into the development of the Community Emergency Planning Toolkit, a resource that can be used across other communities, councils and emergency management agencies to help build resilience at a community level.

To apply for this year's Resilient Australia Awards head to https://resilient.awardsplatform.com/ (External link) (External link)