Bushfire resilience


What happened to those communities in Clarence Valley that were hardest hit by the devastating 2019-20 bushfires? How did they support each other? What can they teach us and each other? How did they rebuild and recover? Have they recovered? How will they prepare for future disasters? There are so many stories to tell. 

Fully funded by Resilience NSW, the Resilient Clarence program is a first-of-its-kind partnership between Clarence Valley Council, Red Cross, Clarence Landcare, St Vincent de Paul, Envite Environment and other bushfire recovery & environmental organisations. By working together with the communities, we aim to capture some of these stories and to use everyone's experiences to build resilience and natural disaster preparedness across the Clarence Valley. 

Through community-led workshops and events, those impacted by the fires can support and inspire each other, build capacity, reconnect with nature and share (cultural) knowledge.

Community-led resilience

resilient-clarence_icon-1-white-community-small.pngThis project empowers rural communities to better prepare for future disasters through the Red Cross’ award-winning Community Resilience Teams model and training opportunities. A program of activities will be tailored to each community and communities will be supported to develop their own Preparedness Plans.

Reconnecting with nature

resilient-clarence_icon-environment This project responds to high levels of community concern about the impact of natural disasters on the environment. It aims to deepen community understanding of natural hazards and their impacts while boosting environmental recovery efforts. We will bring communities together through activities, establish a Clarence Working Group and roll out a community education campaign.

(Cultural) Knowledge-sharing

resilient-clarence_icon-knowledge This project will use creative storytelling to document experiences of natural disasters and showcasing community resilience. It will capture local knowledge, promote collective learning, record cultural history and give people the chance to tell their story. Stories will be presented at a travelling exhibition and through innovative digital mapping.

Focus areas

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How do we measure our success?

The Resilient Clarence program is funded from three grants received from Resilience NSW under the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund Stream 2. The program is managed by us and our project partners include the Red Cross, Vinnies,  Clarence Landcare, and Envite Environment. Each of the bushfire-impacted communities we will be working with are very different and each has its own characteristics and (hi)story.

To capture our program's progress and define what success looks like, we have commissioned the expert consultants from Strategic Development design our Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Framework (MELF). We will be guided these principles:

  • strengths based
  • resource efficient   
  •  dignity and safety
  •  collaborative 
  •  inclusive and accessible              
  •  reconciliation 


The MELF is based on a co-designed Theory of Change that articulates our program’s pathway of change towards achievement of the objectives set:


Mental health / trauma support

The effects of a bushfire can be felt long after the embers have burnt out. Talking about Resilience can bring back memories.
Be kind to yourself, check in on each other, and reach out if you need help. The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 9978
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
  • Suicide call back service: 1300 659 467
  • Standby (support after suicide): 0417 119 298
  • Northern NSW Connect to Wellbeing (a free service for people impacted by fires and droughts, no GP referral needed): 1300 160 339