Widely regarded as Australia’s largest community resilience building program led by a non-government organisation, Volunteering Queensland’s Step Up Program increases preparedness and empowers communities for potential disasters, and contributes significantly to ‘civil society rebuilding’ in the aftermath of the Queensland Floods and subsequent disaster events.
The Step Up Program is a combination of six separate but related projects with a focus on building community resilience to natural disasters by empowering a diverse range of community stakeholders with the necessary knowledge, tools and resources to build community self-reliance. The program provides tailored information, resources, pathways to engagement and support mechanisms for individuals, leaders of community groups and organisations, business owners, young people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The projects which make up the Step Up Program are:
With established ties across all sectors, Volunteering Queensland’s many services and programs, assist individuals, families, businesses and communities become self-reliant – a fundamental component of any resilience plan. Through this multifaceted approach, we encourage communities to focus more on resilience and uphold the principle that communities can create opportunities for resilience development. This program and each of its components are an essential first step in kick-starting local community resilience initiatives.
We work at state-wide and local levels ensuring communities across Queensland have equal opportunity to take part in innovative projects. We maintain a level of adaptability sensitive to local issues and meet the requirements of diverse communities who face different hazards with varying levels of experience and existing adaptive capacities.
The cornerstone of the Step Up Program is the goal of enabling communities to overcome the complex myriad of intertwining issues inhibiting community resilience. From our experience, which includes holding community resilience workshops and various levels of community engagement on the topic nationally and internationally, a number of key inhibitors to community resilience have been noted. These include a growing dependence on scarce government resources, a predicted increase in the number and severity of natural disasters due to climatic changes, a challenging economic environment, barriers to community participation (such as the culture of litigation and the cost of public liability insurance) and a lack of community interest and preparedness relating to disaster resilience. Our projects work to address adaptive capacities of resilient communities and aim to make long term sustainable impacts.
> Read more about our work in the Volunteering Queensland Inc Annual Report 2012 / 2013.