Enrol for free to a new training on building Resilient Communities in the Byron Shire
‘Resilience’ has become a buzzword in Australia over the past few years, as communities across the country struggle to cope with fire, floods and a pandemic. Defined as the ability to recover from, or adjust to misfortune or change, our collective resilience will determine how we emerge from the adversity of the past 16 months and deal with future challenges.
But how do we foster this community resilience? And how do we add the element of regeneration, so that rather than just surviving, our communities can thrive? Working collaboratively with the many organisations already active in this field, Resilient Byron seeks to achieve these goals through information dissemination, strengthening links between existing organisations, and activating local communities. But Resilient Byron is not just about resilience.
Even though they aim to support the Northern Rivers communities by building resilience in the short term, such as addressing emergency and other immediate needs as well as weaving a fabric of community resilience, they also work to transform our society by being regenerative in the long term, by planning for sustainable food, water, housing, energy and social wellbeing as the climate crisis worsens.
For this, they bring together local citizens via a web of local communities (e.g. streets, neighbourhoods, local associations, youth groups, etc.) organised as interconnected areas of local resilience, themselves supported by residents organised in thematic groups (food security, water security, housing security, energy security, health & well-being, safety & emergency, etc.) aiming to create resilience and regenerative projects that benefit the wider community. Resilient Byron collaborates and partners with existing organisations, including councils, emergency agencies, businesses, community groups, etc.
Although it is a relatively new organisation, Resilient Byron already has a strong track record of achieving its aims, such as the 2021 Resilience and Regeneration Roadshow which brought together several hundred residents in five different towns of the Byron Shire. Resilient Byron is also a winner of the Byron Shire Council 2020 Sustainability Awards.
Our governments and combat agencies are giving us the message that when it comes to disasters and other challenges, they simply cannot be everywhere at every moment, so it is fundamental that we, as communities, build our own capacities. Resilient Byron, with funding from the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, is offering the chance to do just that. They have partnered with OzGreen to provide “Resilient Communities”, a series of free workshops that allow communities to generate their own solutions to local and global concerns, focusing on seven key areas, which include climate change, fire and ecosystems, water, food, infrastructures and economy, and health resilience.
The outcomes of the pilot series of workshops in Bangalow have been impressive. In Bangalow, participants’ actions ranged from switching energy providers, installing solar panels and buying local to community initiatives such as creating a Food for Bangalow Facebook Page. At the end of the series, participants reported that the workshops had given them the time, information and motivation to act. Local Bangalow vet Megan Kearney valued “the community connections and conversations on important topics, which have made me more aware of the resources and the wealth of expertise in the community.”
Workshops are offered in different locations of the Byron Shire (and Uki and Lismore) and you are welcome to enrol! More details here: Free community resilience workshops offered from mid-June — Resilient Byron.
Resilient Communities is just one of Resilient Byron’s many projects! Resilient Byron completed the Byron Shire Resilience and Regeneration Roadshow jointly organised with Renew Fest, from February to April 2021. The Roadshow was a series of free events implemented in five different towns of the Byron Shire. The Roadshow encouraged local communities to connect, share, listen and work on concrete ideas to take on the challenges presented by bushfires and floods, the economic and housing crisis, and COVID. Each roadshow event featured a different guest speaker, which recording you can listen below, followed by hands-on workshops. Participants expressed feeling empowered, with a sense of hopefulness about what can be done locally. A number joined Resilient Byron’s sub-groups and others proposed contributions to Renew Fest. If you couldn’t make it to one of these events, you can read and listen below to a range of media stories and podcasts featuring special guests of the Roadshow: Gallery 1 — Resilient Byron.
Resilient Byron is currently designing a two year project funded by Resilience NSW to establish a network of 100 trained and mobilised Community Carers and Responders (CCRs) who support their community throughout the disaster management cycle (prevention, preparedness, response and recovery) and build community resilience and regeneration in 5 Northern Rivers LGAs affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires (Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Kyogle, Lismore City, Richmond Valley).
CCRs will be trained in first aid, psychological first aid, and building resilient communities. They will support the community in disaster prevention and preparedness; assist in the first instance in an emergency in their neighbourhood and help the coordination with emergency agencies; and support the recovery post-disaster. Beyond disasters, CCRs will also work on strengthening links within their community, by creating an atmosphere conducive to caring for each other, identifying the most vulnerable in their communities and exploring ways to support them, organising localised events to bring the community together, and facilitating links and connections within their community. They will also be working with the community to explore opportunities for building resilience through regeneration. More on this next time!