Neighbourhood Centres, otherwise known as Community Centres or Neighbourhood Houses, play a unique role in the preparedness, response and recovery phases of natural disasters in local communities, particularly supporting the needs of vulnerable people.
In Queensland, the most disaster effected state in Australia, the peak body for Neighbourhood Centres, the Queensland Families and Communities Association (QFCA) has co-developed with Neighbourhood Centres three Queensland Neighbourhood Centres Strategies for Drought, Monsoon and Bushfire Resilience. The important strategies have been developed to explore and recognise current practices and future possibilities for greater collaborative action in response to the changing global climate.
The extent of the significant role Neighbourhood Centres play in strengthening local relationships and community-led actions towards safe, resilient and sustainable communities is not widely known in the Disaster Management sector.
The largely untapped potential of Neighbourhood Centres to know and respond to the complexities of local community’s needs in real time of disasters holds great potential for enhance disaster management, particularly in the recovery phase, for organisations and local communities.
Neighbourhood Centres hold great potential to be further tapped into with their wide-range of networks, as a trusted, local source for support and communication of vital disaster-related information.
As a “place people can come and debrief” and access information, support and referral, Neighbourhood Centres are well placed to respond to the needs of the community affected by disasters. Neighbourhood Centres can be incredibly resourceful when supply chains are cut to external services and embedding in long term recovery efforts in the years following.
To discuss opportunities to collaborate with Neighbourhood Centres, please contact Natasha Odgers from QFCA (E. email@example.com, M. 0424 240 964) or seek your local Neighbourhood Centre.
To access the Neighbourhood Centres Strategies, launch videos and further information, visit the QFCA Website.
About the Author:
Natasha Odgers is the State Disaster Project Coordinator with Queensland’s peak body for Neighbourhood Centres, the Queensland Families and Communities Association (QFCA). Natasha is coordinating the development of a State-wide Neighbourhood Centre Strategy for Disaster Resilience and has co-developed three Strategies on drought, monsoon and bushfire resilience.