Bendigo residents gathered at Outside the Square’s Ramp Up Resilience, to share and be inspired about building resilience in our community. It was a cool April evening, but with a packed venue of people from so many walks of life, we stayed warm and created many new and unexpected connections to ramp up resilience.


Here is how Outside the Square ramped up resilience in a community and how you can too.


  1. Bring together people who are from all sectors of your community and are very diverse in age, cultural backgrounds and gender, who are all interested in a similar theme for their community – resilience

  2. Unpack what resilience means to the local community and share how local initiatives are building resilience in your community

  3. Activate interactive discussion for leaders, new collaborations and participants to make a commitment to next steps to move forward with the changes they want to make.


The aim of the night was to bring people together who might not ordinarily interact or be aware of what different sectors of the community are doing to build resilience.

Left to Right: Elise Snell, Amy Chandler, Forest Fire Management


In the day-to-day course of their roles with Forest Fire Management, Elise and Amy listen to and share stories about the impact of fires on community resilience. “I’ve been in Bendigo for a while and didn’t realise just how diverse our community is,” says Elise. “Our work is enhanced by understanding community stories—it helps us to help communities be more resilient before and after a fire event.”


We are super excited to introduce to you a few of the emerging leaders who attended, who have identified ways for our community to be more resilient.

Left to Right: Les and Nathan, The Bushfire Foundation


Nathan Rogers is the founder of the new and innovative charity, The Bushfire Foundation. “As a volunteer CFA Firefighter, I had experienced a number of fires,” says Nathan. “The fire in Bendigo in 2009 really impacted me.

Post 2009, the CFA became very active in asking the community to be prepared for the bush fire season. However, despite the tragic events which the community experienced, many people weren’t taking on the responsibility to prepare their property. “I knew being bushfire ready was important to most people and I couldn’t work out why people weren’t taking action—so I did some digging around.”

Nathan talked to people and followed discussions on Facebook around bushfire preparedness, then realised that the people who were aged or suffering from financial or physical hardship were not able to prepare.

“The Bushfire Foundation is made up of volunteers to assist rural Victorians to prepare their properties against bushfires,” explains Nathan. “It is a solution that is helping many people be prepared for bushfires. We’ve been doing this since December 2015.”

Ramp Up Resilience participant Robyn Barkel


“As adults, we face stressful health issues. This makes our community less resilient,” says Ramp Up Resilient participant and community member, Robin Barker. “My vision for a resilient community is for adults to have more fun—we need a big playground for adults!”

Outside the Square is all about activating people to make a change. Ramp Up Resilience has created some exciting connections between people and facilitated the start of some great new collaborations.

Reagan Von Wolf


“I was so excited to hear Rushab ask for people to come forward with projects for kids to code!” says Reagan Von Wolf. Rushab Shethia is the founder of an innovative business called CoderGarten, which teaches kids from the age of six and upwards to code.

“I have an app I want to create—it is for people with dementia, and for children to help them manage their time.” While caring for her grandmother, who was suffering from dementia, Reagan created a protype that helped her communicate to her grandmother what was happening each day. “Basically, it is a clock with one hand which points to what you are doing today. For people with dementia, it empowers them to stay active and make choices in their lives.”

The Ramp Up Resilience Opt-In station getting lots of people signing up to join or find out more about community initiatives.


Taking the next step to make our community more resilient is something that we can all do.

Left to Right: Damian Hend and Rob Maio of Bendigo Health


“There are already lots of wise and resilient carers in our community,” says Damian. “At Bendigo Health, we are working towards bringing carers together and sharing this knowledge.” Being a carer can be isolating, which makes it hard to be resilient. A peer network could be very valuable to our community. “Tonight has been great to help us think and connect with other organisations and learn how they create resilient communities.

Left to Right: Tayla Hansen, Chira Warusawtharan

Currently, Chira is studying her Masters at La Trobe University. Her study is her passion—multiculturalism and how trust is built in communities. “Tonight, I have realised that our community is so active in resilience. I am going to get more active in our community, especially with youth initiatives. Being involved in community gives you a broader perspective.”


Here are some of the ways you can take the next steps to build resilience in your community, including some specific to the Bendigo region:

While the topic of resilience is highly relevant to the emergency sector, the CFA was a key sponsor, and in our rural context we are acutely aware of the impact of natural disaster. We were also reminded that resilience is an important quality to be fostered both on an individual level and cultural level. It is a quality to instill in the next generation who are facing new challenges on the political, economic and environmental landscape.


At Make A Change we are strengthening our communities for a better future and we cannot do this without the partnership and participation demonstrated and witnessed in the room at 6.30pm last Thursday 27th April 2017.

Contact us if you’d like assistance to Ramp Up Resilience in your community!

This initiative is part of Greater Bendigo’s Curriculum for Change: a series of discussions and events throughout 2017, underlining how each and every one of us can play a part in creating the future we want. Sign up to the Make a Change e-news to stay in the loop, receive updates and event invitations !

Proudly sponsored by: