Insights / 5 lessons from communities

5 lessons from collaborating with communities

By mel peverill

MAR 1 2023

We have collaborated with more than 50 communities around the country in the past 10 years.

From co-designing solutions to reflect the unique make-up of each community to embedding local people in local projects, we have picked up some useful insights along the way.

And we know from our own experience that there is no cookie-cutter solution when it comes to helping communities to cope with and recover from disasters.

Communities are unique

We have learnt that every community is different and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach,

Resilient Ready Operations Manager Mel Peverill said.

While communities can share geographical boundaries, and local and state governments, the impact of disasters on businesses and people, no matter how similar the experience, will vary.

This is why we put significant effort into tailoring bespoke solutions that work with and for communities.

Local knowledge = local people

After years of working alongside communities, we know the importance of having a local lens on issues, people, and politics. And this is why where funding permits, we employ local people on every project we undertake.

“You can’t underestimate just how powerful it is to have local people as part of your team,” Renae Hanvin said. “Local people ground and connect projects and embed the purpose in a way well-meaning out-of-towners never can.”

Co-designing solutions

Hiring local people is just the start. Involving local people in volunteer roles also plays a part in the Resilient Ready methodology.

By setting up steering committees to involve key stakeholders from the communities Resilient Ready operates in, community members have a say in how a project is rolled out in their town or local government area and also have their feedback incorporated.

Finding common ground

It is easy to become sidetracked by contentious local issues that predate a project.

The key thing is to remember – and refocus on – the project’s primary purpose and find the common ground that positively connects a community so that everyone can move forward in recovery.

Earning trust

While government grants and aid usually have a finite delivery period, it is important to remember that disaster recovery can take years. The lingering trauma, economic loss, and changing demographic of a community can make it difficult to move forward.

By ensuring community members feel seen and heard, and acknowledging these issues, you can start to build trust so that people can feel more optimistic about the benefits of a project and can play a role in creating a more resilient future for themselves and their community.


Resilient Ready is a social enterprise delivering innovative solutions to enable every organisation to thrive before, during and after disasters. To keep updated on news and current projects, sign up to our newsletter.