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Community First Responders

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  • #10817
    Jean Renouf
    Participant

    Hey everyone,We’ve been rolling our version of a community first responder program in the Northern Rivers of NSW and I’m keen to hear about other initiatives that may be similar or not, to see what we can learn from each other. Our project trains, equips, and supports community leaders across the NSW Northern Rivers to become a network of 300+ volunteer Community Carers and Responders (CCRs). Rolled out shortly after the 2022 February floods, the CCR network is currently being rolled out across 7 LGAs and as we completed the first phase of the program, we undertook an evaluation of it. CCRs are community members who undergo an intensive and trauma-informed five-day free training, encompassing self-care, disaster resilience, community building, emergency communications as well as food, water, and energy security, first aid and psychological first aid. Upon graduation, participants are mentored to implement a project that builds their own community’s resilience. CCRs are then invited to additional workshops and community events to deepen their knowledge and foster interpersonal connections. The CCR model, in which local councils and emergency services are flexibly integrated to ensure a ‘whole-of-community’ approach, is transposable to other parts of Australia, urban or rural. Our evaluation has found that the CCR program has had significant achievements, including improved community resilience, increased awareness of disaster preparedness, and the formation of strong community bonds. Tangible outcomes include the creation of risk reduction plans, the formation of neighbourhood resilience groups, the organisation of many community-building events and food security initiatives, the setting-up of emergency radio communications, and more. One of the greatest benefits of the CCR program has been enhancing networks and connecting community leaders across the Northern Rivers. The CCR project also enabled local solutions to disaster preparedness and recovery, established well-being initiatives, and addressed the needs of vulnerable groups in disaster situations. There has been a notable increase in disaster preparedness due to local CCR-led initiatives, and the CCR project has also transformed the perception of emergencies from being external problems to shared responsibilities. As important, the project has catalyzed transformative recovery by imparting knowledge, confidence, and skills to participants, leading to a profound personal shift. But it hasn’t been without challenges, including Covid-19, devastating floods that severely impacted the Northern Rivers, and the need to seek ongoing grant funding to continue rolling it out. The good news though is that we’re now expanding the CCR program to the youth, in the shape of a Young CCR network that we are currently developing. Anyway, sorry for the long message (so much more could be said about it!) but I’m keen to hear your views, if anything similar exists in your region and what is done differently. Thanks! Jean (CEO of Plan C, the charity which develops the CCR network)

    • This topic was modified 6 months ago by Jean Renouf.
    • This topic was modified 6 months ago by Jean Renouf.
    • This topic was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by kate.admin.
    #10820
    Jean Renouf
    Participant

    ps: sorry for the editing, the platform somehow prevents me to look it normal! :)

    #10825
    Bill Hyman
    Participant

    Hi Jean,
    Thanks for your post. I’ll remain glued to its development and am keen to hear more.
    I am a community member of Kangaroo Valley (KV), a fire impacted community just north-west of Nowra on the south coast about 2 hours south of Sydney. Our Resilient KV has just been incorporated and about to launch itself within the local community. We would be interested in sharing with your group in due course.
    Additionally, I am interested to know if the training your group provides includes ‘conflict resolution & consensus building’ or if this is of interest. I have recently compiled a simple but profound facilitative process in ‘beyond conflict to consensus’ and am seeking feedback as to its effectiveness amongst communities. If this is of interest, I’d love to hear from you.
    Regards Bill

    #10826
    Jean Renouf
    Participant

    Hello Bill, and thank you for your message. I’d be more than happy to provide you with further info about our CCR network when you’re ready (you can reach us at hello@planc.org.au).

    As for your question and suggestion about conflict resolution, the initial CCR training includes something based on conscious communication as a way to engage with and transcend conflicts, and we are on the cusp of offering additional conflict engagement workshops for those CCRs who wish to go more in-depth. So yes, if you had any documents you could share, we’d be keen to look at it :)

    Thank you,

    Jean

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