It is well known that resilient communities are connected communities and they recover more effectively after a crisis.
A survey into how Blue Mountains residents deal with the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community will be launched in Springwood next Tuesday, May 27.
The survey is part of a research project being conducted by the Springwood and Katoomba Neighbourhood Centres, Blue Mountains City Council and researchers from Charles Sturt University.
“Interestingly this process commenced before the October 2013 Blue Mountains bushfire crisis due to an identified community need — the crisis underpins the absolute importance of the research,” the partners said.
The survey is aimed at finding out how much neighbourhoods are able to meet the needs of their most vulnerable residents and where extra assistance might be needed.
Kath Harrison of the Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre and Toni Quigley of Springwood Neighbourhood Centre Co-operative told The Gazette there were many times when vulnerable members of the community might need help.
“The BMCC will ask ratepayers to complete postcards which will be included in mailed out rates notices. Residents who respond will be invited to take part in focus groups and interviews at the Springwood and Katoomba Neighbourhood Centres in June and July,’’ the survey organisers said.
Residents who do not receive rates notices can complete the survey at neighbourhood centres and libraries. Researchers will follow up telephoned requests made to neighbourhood centres.
One of the research investigators, Charles Sturt University senior lecturer in emergency management Dr Val Ingham, said they were also interested in talking to community members who are dealing with chronic illness or disability, frailty and social isolation.
“The more we find out about people’s needs for social connection, the more we can organise resources to help them,” Dr Ingham said.
There will be focus groups and interviews with people over 65 years to further inform the research.
The project will be launched at the Springwood Sports Centre, Macquarie Road, at 12.30pm next Tuesday.
Guest speaker at the event will be Adjunct Professor Michael Fine, a sociologist from Macquarie University who is known internationally for his research in the field of ageing, social policy and human resources.
If you wish to attend the launch, phone Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre on 4782 1117.