What’s community resilience and how can we build it?

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Community Resilience

Building community resilience is a key part of the Blue Heart project, but what is it, and what does it have to do with flooding?

Defining Community

Before defining resilience, let’s first set out what we mean by community. Whether linked by geography (neighbours or wards), common interests, or shared challenges – wherever groups of people live, work and socialise, you’ll find pockets of community. This shared sense of togetherness is part of what stitches together the fabric of society, creating safe and supportive networks, encouraging business and campaigning for what matters.

Resilience

All communities, whatever their nature, face challenges and as climate change takes hold, many of these communities find themselves increasingly vulnerable to weather-related events like flooding and drought.

Communities where the majority are facing daily challenges around low income, employment, housing and representation are often the ones who would be most impacted by a flood or other emergency. They have the fewest resources to respond to, or recover from, an unexpected crisis on top of everything else. Vulnerable and elderly people can become isolated and unsure who they can ask for help; many of us don’t know our neighbours or have relationships with people living nearby who could offer us support in a crisis.

Resilience is about supporting communities to develop relationships, networks and collaboration that can make them more confident and prepared to manage risks, respond to emergencies, and recover more quickly from them. Although Blue Heart’s focus is on flooding, once a community is more resilient to one risk, they’re better prepared to deal with many more.

For some, initial steps might focus on building a sense of belonging and mutual care in ‘ordinary’ times; others might want to create a more formal network that’s ready to respond to challenging situations, or even create a community emergency plan.

Thinking back to the COVID 19 pandemic, many communities came together to respond, identifying and supporting the vulnerable and unwell. In many cases this was not led by authorities, but initiated by local people who understood what their community needed. 

Blue Heart Community Fund

This year, we’ve added a new category to our Community Fund, to support groups building resilience in their communities, in ways that work for them.

This could involve:

Even if you’re not sure about your idea, it’s worth getting in touch for a chat.

Contact Eleanor at Blue Heart: contact@blueheart.org.uk or call 07936 440074.

The application window for large applications (up to £5,000) will re-open in early 2025, but smaller grants of up to £500 are available all year round.

Find out more and apply