Community Resilience Scoping Study Brief

1. Overview:

The climate crisis and related issues are worsening fast, and community-level responses may be the best practical option in the limited time ahead. The UK has large numbers of local projects, several networks, and some information resources, which may be relevant. The aim of this study is to get an overview of what’s out there currently, to help our stakeholders identify needs and gaps, and decide how to respond to them.

2. The Specific Brief:

Our area of exploration is resilience and adaptation capacity, primarily for local, i.e. place-based, communities in the UK. The threats we want to help them address are particularly these:

  • the climate crisis in general, and extreme weather events (heat, drought, storm, etc.) in particular;
  • food shortages and severe price inflation;
  • failures in electricity and energy supply;
  • breakdown of internet and mobile networks;
  • breakdown in social cohesion;
  • mental, emotional and spiritual impacts of rising disruption and future outlook.

The two specific issues we want to scope out are:

2A. Information Resources:

We want to know what specific advice, models, toolkits are available for UK community groups wanting to raise their resilience and adaptation capacity, especially for the six issues above, and whether there is an unmet need for resources to be available in a more accessible form, in one single location such as a wiki site. In particular, resources which would be of easy practical use to a community group, rather than primarily political or philosophical approaches. These resources should include the use of local assemblies. We would also like to know whether most local community groups are addressing both ‘inner and outer’ issues (i.e. emotional/spiritual and logistical), or focus only on one of these aspects.

2B. Connecting and enabling networks:

Whilst there are some networks already active in this sector, they generally seem to be relatively small, and focussed on one specific issue, rather than the various aspects of community resilience listed above. Exploration so far suggests that many local community groups operate largely on their own, and that there may be a need for an overarching network enabling sharing of resources and mutual support for groups engaged with the big issues listed earlier.

We want this scoping study to provide an overview of what networks are already out there, including any which may currently be small but whose aims and organisation might enable them to grow into a larger connecting and enabling role. We suspect that one of the potential roles for such a network is to act as a catalyst and coach for local groups, helping them to increase their capabilities, motivation, and participation from their local community.

3. Outputs and timing:

Research is already under way, undertaken by Roman Paluch and Sean Irving, who are both part of Cooperation Hull. We envisage the output as a 20–30-page written report, with extensive use of web links to websites for resources, networks, etc. Our target timing for a first issue of the report is the end of March 2024.

4. Stakeholders:

There are several organisations exploring this issue, who will use this study:

  1. Network for Social Change: a group of around 100 individuals who provide funding for a range of projects, and whose members are funding this study .
  2. Seeding our Future:  a project led by Alan Heeks, focussed on resilience and adaptation for communities, individuals and NHS staff. See website here.
  3. Schumacher Institute: a registered charity and environmental think tank, website here.
  4. XR – Being the Change: Gail Bradbrook is part of a team guiding this XR follow-on project. Community resilience in the UK and internationally is one of their priorities, and they are working with a number of UK projects on it. Website here.

Next steps: The report on the scoping study will be made available online free of charge in May. If you would like to be involved or kept informed about the project, please contact Alan Heeks: .