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Byron Shire
May 23, 2024

Community carers and responders program launched

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Resilient Byron; Tracey Morison from SES, Sasha Mainsbridge of Mullum Cares, Mullumbimby Fire and Rescue’s, Jean Runoff and Ella Goninan from Renew Fest. Photo Jeff ‘Care Bear’ Dawson.

Following the recent second anniversary of the bushfires that hit our region, Resilient Byron say they are proud to announce the beginning of their communication campaign for the Northern Rivers wide Community Carers and Responders program.

This program is funded by Resilience NSW, and is aimed to establish a volunteer network of 100 trained and mobilised Community Carers and Responders (CCRs), who will support their community throughout the disaster management cycle (prevention, preparedness, response and recovery).

The aim is to build community resilience and regeneration for five Northern Rivers local government areas (LGAs) affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires: Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Kyogle, Lismore City, Richmond Valley.

Jean Renouf, co-chair of Resilient Byron and a local firefighter, says that CCRs will be trained in first-aid, psychological first-aid, and building resilient and regenerative communities.

‘They will also be trained to support the community in disaster prevention and preparedness, assist in the first instance in an emergency in their neighbourhood, help the co-ordination with emergency agencies, and support the recovery post-disaster’.

Community links

‘Beyond disasters, CCRs will also be taught skills to strengthening links within their community in ways that support an atmosphere conducive to caring for each other, identifying and exploring ways to access and support the most vulnerable, organising localised events to bring the community together, and facilitating links and connections within their community. They will also be given resources and training to explore opportunities for building resilience through regeneration.

‘Now, more than ever, we need to come together as communities and build our self-reliance’.

‘The 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements was very clear that not only “Australia’s disaster outlook is alarming”, but also “in significant emergencies and disasters, emergency management personnel do not, and never will, have the capability and capacity to solve the emergency threat for every individual at risk.”

‘It’s on us to ensure we are prepared for the next waves of disasters.

‘It’s on us to build our community connections so that we can support each other. In addition, and given the gravity of the multiple crises we are going through, we believe the best way to become resilient to future disasters and crises is to transform our society by becoming regenerative. We do so by contributing to the reorganisation of our food, water, housing and energy systems. Hence our focus is on connection, resilience and regeneration’.

Training will commence in March 2022, and is being designed in consultation with the Red Cross, SES, FRNSW, RFS, Police, Ambulance, local councils and community organisations. Applications for the training will open in January. To find out more or register your interest to please write to [email protected].

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