Resilient Eden Community Workshops next step for a disaster prepared Eden

Ideas for projects to kickstart a disaster prepared and more resilient Eden will be explored at two workshops to be held in late November in the Eden Library Event Space.
The Access Centre’s Disaster Preparedness Project Coordinator, Dr Jodie Stewart said the Resilient Eden Community Workshops are designed to bring the community together to have input to how Eden might develop projects and use tools and resources that have been effective in other regional areas.
“There are two dates – Wednesday 23 November and Saturday 26 November from 10 am to 3.30 pm – to give people flexible options for attending. We’re aiming for a relaxed and enjoyable event with food, a coffee van and music,” Dr Stewart said.
Dr Stewart said the workshops will draw on the results of a recent series of Community Table Talks which revealed the community believes there are three key priorities if Eden is to be better prepared for disasters and emergencies.
“Every one of the 16 table talks we held with small groups of locals in Eden and surrounding areas arrived at similar conclusions.
“People told us greater community connection (knowing your neighbours and their disaster plans), improved communication (within neighbourhoods and between communities and authorities) and regular education, information and training (building skills and knowledge to be better prepared for disaster) are essential.”
Community member and Table Talk host Cherie Mercado said she found it reassuring people had come to the same conclusions about getting back to basics and supporting one another to manage through tough times.
“We really do need to work together on these fundamental issues and come up with ways to solve some of our own challenges for the long term.”
Dr Stewart said a rolling series of flood disasters across Australia in 2022, unstable and intense weather systems, the 2019-2020 bushfires and the COVID pandemic served to reinforce how important it is for communities to come together to support one another as we prepare to face the future. 
“We may not think we are at risk but the evidence from recent weather events shows that people living in areas previously considered safe from flooding or the impact of severe winds, have been caught unprepared.
“Communities need to be strong together and self-sufficient. We saw from the 2019-2020 bushfires that in some areas there was an expectation a fire truck would be on every doorstep. There were some harsh learnings from that experience, including the realisation that individuals and communities need to learn to look after themselves and each other.
“Community-driven, grassroots work is so important, and we’ve seen that this year across Australia. Investing in the resilience of communities and working with their existing strengths is powerful.
“Disaster events are becoming more frequent and less predictable. We can’t control that, but we can control how we prepare as a community to support ourselves and care for one another.
Already local communities are making progress with preparedness projects. Almost 40 residents from Eden Cove came together at the Eden RSL Memorial hall on Saturday 22 October to hear about Red Cross’ Community-led Resilience Team model and to discuss how this model might be used to structure and organise disaster readiness for residents of the Eden Cove estate.
The communities of Wyndham and Rocky Hall are moving ahead with their plans and will be holding information sessions to learn more about how Community-led Resilience Teams might work for their communities. The Rocky Hall event is Sunday 30 October and the Wyndham event is Thursday 3 November and all members of those communities are encouraged to attend.
Community-led Resilience Teams are operating in regional towns and villages across Australia. They bring together the strengths that already exist in communities, in a structured way, to lead resilience building and disaster preparation activities.
Anyone wishing to get involved in the workshops can get in touch with Jodie Stewart at or on 0488 079 853.

Find out more about the Disaster Preparedness Project on the Eden Community Access Centre’s website:

Photo: Disaster Preparedness Project Coordinator Dr Jodie Stewart pictured with Eden community member and Table Talk host Cherie Mercado. Both are excited about the upcoming Resilient Eden Community Workshops.
(Photo backdrop is the public art mural by Johanna Mitchell recently erected in Imlay Memorial Park, Eden.)