Roadshow Recap - Resilience Work in NSW

The ABV Capable Communities Program has ended after 22 months of supporting the communities in the Snowy Valley and the South Coast of NSW.

To honour the dedication of our community partners, collect feedback, and hand over the community projects to the funder, Reconstruction Authority, the team at ABV hit the road for a six-day roadshow to meet with those we've worked with for one last time.

Over the last 22 months, our skilled business volunteers and expert staff have supported community organisations with business plans, sustainability scoping and disaster preparedness.

Image: ABV Team, Nat and George with Reconstruction Authority rep Bryan Smith.

These are areas that were heavily affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires; the trauma of that time is still held by the residents today.

The first day of the roadshow was spent in Tumbarumba, on the southwest slopes of the Snowy Mountains. In this community, our team worked with the Chamber of Commerce to build its business capacity and assigned volunteers to support several businesses and not-for-profits.

The second stop was Aruluen. It was a chilly -2 morning under the dramatic ranges that hold the valley. Four years after the fires, you can still see the scars on the mountains where it surrounded the town. Our volunteers assisted the Araluen Federal Hall Association develop a marketing plan after their rebuild. The hall has become a community hub, hosting movie nights, markets, birthdays, and selling local jams and spreads to fund back into the hall.

Representatives from the Braidwood Business Chamber also attended. ABV led two tourism development workshops to support the communities in creating a tourism corridor between Canberra and the South Coast, positioning Braidwood as a destination rather than just a rest stop on the way through.

The roadshow then hit the South Coast, to connect back in with a few community organisations we've supported, including the Moruya Compost Club, Repurpose for Resilience, and the South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA).

SHASA is currently focusing on adding solar panels to the new Eurobodalla hospital, for which ABV volunteers helped with the feasibility study. These panels would act as a shade for the carpark and power what will be one of the council's largest energy expenses.

The Compost Club was matched with two long-serving volunteers, who acted as their "business brain" to promote sustainable food practices to the community more widely. The team was lucky to visit the composting site and see the operation (and the worms) in action.

The team then visited Repurpose for Resilience, a solar panel recycler and innovator. We were enthusiastically shown solar innovations, including an outdoor table made from a panel. Although our volunteer match wasn't successful, we reconnected to take feedback. We saw the progression of their projects, including a solar truck and a portable power station. Accessible energy is essential in times of disaster when power goes down and services are shut off.

The team took a final site visit to Wallaga Lakes Aboriginal Community, where we worked with engineering firm Arup to help develop another access road to provide a safe way in and out during disasters. Merriman's Local Aboriginal Land Council identified this project as essential, as the community was left to fend for themselves in the fires. We had the privilege of seeing the planned road and other sites inside the reserve.

Our final day was in the seaside community of Eden, where we were lucky enough to have the Mayor and a councillor join the discussion inside the historic log cabin. We led a disaster preparedness workshop in Eden in March 2023, which the community still use today.

Listening to the communities passionately discuss their ongoing priorities had challenging moments but was important in a safe space for sharing. The Reconstruction Authority team attended each of these gatherings to hear what the community had been working on, and it also provided a chance to raise questions.

The ABV team's sadness to be leaving is mixed with anticipation for future collaborations. The roadshow not only marked the end of a chapter but also highlighted the importance of meeting face-to-face and solidifying bonds. ABV believes in the transformative power of community-centred resilience initiatives.

Funding note: The Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.

View all Roadshow Photos here.

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