Community Resilience Resources

We bring communities together to make them more resilient

At interests.me we think technology has a part to play in bringing local communities closer together. Our technology helps all kinds of community groups, but we have a special, personal, interest in Community Resilience Groups.

Helen Cammack, one of our founders, set up and continues to run a community-led resilience group in her village in Surrey. It’s more than a group – it’s a local resilience network, in which local groups co-operate with each other, and the village is able to call upon up to 250 volunteers if there is a local emergency or incident.

Although the group uses interests.me‘s tool to communicate with volunteers and residents, it isn’t the only technology solution required. The team has had to stitch together different technology solutions to do things that interests.me can’t, such as:

  • registering volunteers and capturing their information using Volunteer Registration Forms;
  • managing volunteers’ information (their contact details, skills and connections) in a Volunteer Database;
  • communicating with volunteers using Bulk Text Messaging;
  • enabling co-ordination between organisers using Conference Calling; and
  • providing the community with a Recorded Message service for emergencies and incidents.

The group has also put together a comprehensive set of documents necessary to run the group, including:

  • Templates for all kinds of communication (with the public and with volunteers);
  • Policies to cover most eventualities (eg Health & Safety, Privacy, Volunteer);
  • Processes and Checklists to help other volunteers to share the co-ordination tasks;
  • Forms for recording essential information (eg Accident form, Volunteer Disclaimer forms);
  • Training Materials for volunteers.

We have been asked on numerous occasions to share these resources with other communities who wish to set up their own community resilience groups.

To cover our own costs in doing so, and to ensure we are able to offer set-up support to these other communities as well as the raw resources, we are licensing our complete Resource Pack to communities for £500 per community.

Our Free Set-Up Checklist

A list of everything you’ll need to set up your community resilience group

What you’ll need to set up your community resilience group depends on what kind of group you are. The main options are:

  • Lobbying group (or information group) – primarily about distributing information and about lobbying local authorities, utilities, the Environment Agency, etc, to take local action to help the community (eg put up flood defences, or build broadband infrastructure);
  • Prevention Group – an action group focused on prevention (not responding to emergencies), but which may maintain a list of volunteers who take part in Action Days;
  • Response Group – a response-focused action group which maintains a volunteer list and alerts them rapidly about unfolding incidents, to take action, either with a narrow scope (eg only flooding, or snow), or a wide scope (any local emergency); or
  • Local Resilience Network – a multi-group local resilience action network, where the community has developed a linked network of pre-existing groups working alongside a core group of co-ordinators to provide greater capacity to respond to events. 

Whichever type of group best describes what you are creating, to help you out, we’ve come up with a Set-Up Checklist. Filter on the type of group you want to be, and you’ll see the list of tasks change.

You’ll also see in the Notes that we can help you with all of these tasks by providing you with templates, instructions, and setting up the technology. Read on for details.

Community Resilience “In a Box”

You can license our complete set of resources for your community

For those who would like our complete set of resources (templates, forms, documents, etc), and all the technology set-up for you (or detailed instructions for your own set-up), we charge a one-off licence fee of £500 per community (or £200 for a lobbying group).

This includes setting you up with a free-to-use, ready-to-go, Volunteer Database and a linked Volunteer Registration Form (see below for examples).

The fee is refundable if you do not find this useful. 

We recommend you persuade a local business or your local parish, borough or district council to pay for this – it will save you a heap of time!

Your Own Volunteer Database

Included as part of our complete Resource Pack

If you license our complete resource pack, we’ll provide you with a Volunteer Database ready to go, so that you can instantly start collecting the right information from your volunteers and managing the information in the right way from Day One.

We use a software provider called Airtable, which is free to use. You can set this up yourself for free if you wish, but if you license our resource pack, we’ll save you a lot of time by giving you our templates to use, so you can be sure everything works perfectly.

Airtable works a bit like a spreadsheet – except it’s much more flexible, visual and easy to use, and it can be connected seamlessly with your Volunteer Registration Form (see below) which we also provide.

Here’s a dummy Volunteer Database we’ve set up to show you what it looks like. This is the ‘spreadsheet’ view, but below it you can also view the volunteers as ‘cards’, and all views allow you to filter on specific skills or roles.

Here’s the “cards” view of volunteers:

 

Your Own Volunteer Registration Form

Included as part of our complete Resource Pack

If you license our complete Resource Pack, we’ll create you an instance of this Volunteer Registration Form so you can get going immediately with collecting volunteer sign-ups. Of course, it’s customisable to your organisation so can be easily changed (by you, instantly) according to your requirements.

Try it out by filling it out, and then refresh this webpage and check the Volunteer Database above. The two are connected, so make sure you only add “fake” data (not your real email address or contact details) as it will automatically appear in the Volunteer Database above.

How Much Will It Cost?

Most community resilience groups shouldn’t need to spend a fortune

Most of the technology that we recommend is free to use (even though there may be paid versions). However, there are costs:

  • Licensing our Resource Pack – We charge £500 one-off fee, which includes a year of support through a Facebook Group.
  • Insurance – could be up to £500 per year depending on the group’s activities, although this may sometimes be funded by a parish council or residents’ association
  • Equipment – possible to get started on about £500. We recommend purchasing high-visibility jackets with clear pockets on the backs which cost about £10 each.
  • Communications – most of the technology we recommend is free (even if there are paid versions available). The only costs are text messaging and calls received to the virtual telephone number. This is likely to cost less than £200 per year.
  • Printing – if you print a booklet for each volunteer it is likely to cost £2 per volunteer. Posters may cost £5 each. Budget £500 for getting started.

How to License our Resource Pack

To get our complete Resource Pack (for £500 one-off fee per community) and the support we offer to get you started (including membership of a closed Facebook Group where community resilience group leaders can help each other and get help from us), please get in touch by emailing helen@interests.me – and we’ll talk you through how to pay, and answer any of your questions about what’s included.