Building Resilient Communities From The Ground Up

Not-for -profit environmental organisation OzGREEN is partnering with Resilience NSW to bring  their Fostering Community Resilience Program to the Bellingen Shire.   It is is based on OzGREEN's Living Communities program, which draws on proven community education processes.

‘Resilience’ is the concept of 2020, and rightly so.  Defined as the ability to recover from, or adjust easily to misfortune or change, our collective resilience will determine how we emerge from the insults of the past twelve months and deal with future challenges going forward.

But how do we build this community resilience?  Fortunately, we are hearing about many programs right here in the Shire aiming to do just that.  However, there is one program that stands alone, tried and tested, and able to demonstrate more than 20 years of substantial, continuous success.

Not-for-profit environmental organisation OzGREEN is partnering with Resilience NSW to bring a Resilient Communities Program to the Bellingen Shire.   (The OzGREEN team above from left: Resilient Communities Coordinator Kathleen Hannah, Program Manager Anna Juodvalkis, Co-founder Sue Lennox and CEO Anton Juodvalkis).  It is based on OzGREEN’s Living Communities program, which draws on proven community education processes.  “This is a community driven program.  We don’t tell the community what they need to do. Experts will provide the information and context, but absolutely don’t provide the solutions. Rather, we facilitate the community to work out what it will take to be resilient, prepared and sustainable, drawing on community intelligence and innovation, and ultimately empowering participants to make change,” says OzGREEN CEO Anton Juodvalkis.

The Resilient Communities Program prepares the community for all eventualities. (Photo credit Mel Bradbury)

OzGREEN has a strong track record in sustainability leadership development and community engagement. For nearly 30 years, OzGREEN has been offering award-winning learning and leadership programs, which provide a process for people of all ages to reduce their eco footprint and make sustainability a daily routine. “The challenges we face have grown exponentially in the past 12 months, which has meant that our programs are now geared at fostering preparedness and resilience as well as the traditional focus of sustainability,” says OzGREEN Co-Founder Sue Lennox. “We are working for the best possible outcomes whilst also  preparing for the worst.”

The real points of difference with this program are:

  • We ensure that community participants are fully informed, thereby affording them the ability to recognise the key areas of threat
  • Participants develop a vision – ‘How do we want our home and community to be in relation to these key areas of threat?’
  • Participants develop an action plan for achieving their vision


OzGREEN is reaching out to people in our community who would like to be trained as volunteer facilitators for the program.  Once trained, facilitators will guide a group of community members through the Resilient Communities Program.   Resilience NSW is supporting OzGREEN to deliver its program in the Thora, Kalang, Gleniffer and North Bellingen regions, but OzGREEN is keenly aware of the need for this program right across the entire Shire.  They would therefore like to hear from anyone in the Shire who is interested in facilitating a group of community members.

People might like to facilitate OzGREEN’s program in their neighbourhood or they might like to run the program with an interest group with whom they’re already affiliated.

Resilient communities have the opportunity to choose the solutions

Facilitator training is essential to the success of this program.  “An in-depth understanding of the processes and facts is key, plus the ability to not only bring a group together but to work collaboratively. When people get involved and start to understand the process, then they begin to understand the power of this model and the results can be transformative,” says Sue.  Sue’s background in education is imbibed into the program and fundamental to its success.

We have all been craving a grassroots program, based firmly in knowledge sharing and community consultation, with proven success.  Let’s be the change we want to see in the world.

Local people who are interested in facilitating the program in their own community are encouraged to apply for one of the limited spaces by completing an expression of interest HERE by the 9th of August 2020. 

Facilitators will receive free training on OzGREEN’s engagement process, as well as topic-specific training on each module.  The first facilitator training day is scheduled for Sunday 16th August at Cedar Bar and Restaurant. Once trained, OzGREEN will help facilitators with venue hire, catering, module materials and advertising as well as providing support to facilitators in delivering the program.


One Comment

  • Sally Lattin says:

    Hi I love the sound of this initiative and have worked in community development and trauma counselling and education for many years so feel Very drawn to the aims of the project.

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