Communities Assessing their Own Resilience - A Pilot Project

At the time of the May 2018 extreme weather event, the most affected Hobart suburbs were Lenah Valley, New Town, Sandy Bay, and South Hobart.

Project Rationale

Research shows that the bringing together of people to focus on a common goal has the potential to initiate and foster relationships, creating connectedness and unity of purpose where it may not have previously existed, laying the foundation for building resilience.

 This project sought to create this foundation by bringing together and facilitating community members to focus on a common goal: a critical assessment of their own community’s resilience according to an established and tested resilience scorecard, the Torrens Community Disaster Resilience Scorecard.

Project Aim

The project aims to monitor the implications of this initial self-assessment on working group members’ efforts to continue their existing relationships with each other for the purpose of resilience-building, to build relationships with other members of their community for the same purpose, to take ownership of their recommendations, and to take action towards making their suburb a more resilient community. An impact evaluation at 0, 2, and 6 months will provide the necessary data and learnings to assist other municipalities seeking to implement a similar strategy.

Recruitment

Community members from these Lenah Valley, New Town, Sandy Bay, and South Hobart were invited to express interest to be part of a voluntary working group that would assess the resilience of their respective suburb. This assessment had potential to guide action for strengthening the resilience of the suburb.

Working Group Structure

The working groups were expected to commit to four sessions that would take them through the Torrens Community Disaster Resilience Scorecard and allow time for planning a potential way forward. The four sessions were facilitated by an external consultant.

Outcome

Three working groups were formed for the suburbs of Lenah Valley, Sandy Bay, and South Hobart. Community members from New Town had expressed interest but were not able to form a working group due to their low numbers and availability mismatch.

Lenah Valley, Sandy Bay, and South Hobart working groups all completed the Scorecard assessment and devised an action plan each that either involved the working group in its entirety or individual plans. A 3-month check in has been completed to assess working group member reflections on the journey to date and whether any steps have been taken towards building community resilience. A 6-month check in is yet to occur after which a final report will be made available to interested parties.

This project has been jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.