Welcome to Walk With.

Why community service organisations need to prepare for disasters.

As community organisations you provide support to your local community every day, it’s your core business.

Community workers and organisations are experts at building caring connections with people and responding to community needs, especially when times are tough.

When people are impacted by disaster events they will  turn to you and your service for immediate help and longer term support.

Research indicates that socially vulnerable people experience the worst impacts of disaster events….for a longer time: vulnerable people and disasters.

People’s ability to cope and recover from disaster may well depend on the capacity of local community services to meet their needs in the short and longer term.

If disaster strikes your community, you and your organisation could come under pressure from an increased demand for your services.  In addition, you may have to try and meet these needs with limited staff and resources.

What some community workers have shared about walking with people in the aftermath of disaster

“I remember people were coming out of the woodwork for a long time after the crisis.  We were doing our everyday work and dealing with this as well without anyone acknowledging the extra pressure”

“I don’t think we have really thought about how this (disaster) would impact on kids and families”.

“It gave me…a very humbled experience of seeing how people can just keep going”

“It was devastating…it was like something I haven’t seen before.  I mean I’ve worked with people who have been abused and assaulted but seeing this was just horrific.”

“I’ve been really inspired by people’s strength…seeing them pick up the gauntlet and move on themselves.”

Research indicates that many community organisations in Australia are not adequately prepared for disaster events.  This can make them  vulnerable to potential impacts on their clients, staff and their core service operations: Community service organisations are vulnerable in disasters.

Thinking about how to start preparing for disasters can seem overwhelming.  So it can really help to have the support of an experienced hand.    Walk With provides community services with an orientation to the world of disaster response and recovery .   The online course helps to raise awareness and to trigger disaster resilience thinking, conversations and planning.   Walk With delivers information and education in an accessible format and has been developed by community service practitioners for the community services sector.

The Walk With program provides learners with a gentle immersion into the world of disaster recovery while strengthening and affirming their confidence and skills.   Walk With is relevant to the learning needs of community service students, volunteers, staff, service managers and management board/committee members.

The Walk With resource was piloted with a range of NSW community service organisations and  jointly evaluated by the Universities of Sydney and Newcastle.   Walk With Evaluation Report Sydney University and Newcastle University

For more information on the background to Walk With please go to the ‘About Us’ page.

The Walk With Course is split into two sections; The Practice Model and Supporting Structures.

The Practice Model

This course will guide you through the landscape of disaster recovery, providing stories, practice wisdom, and insights, practitioner to practitioner!

As you move through each of the lessons: Strengths, Hope and Connection, you will explore why community services belong in disaster recovery, the Walk With model of interventions, and ways to create and enhance community connection.

Supporting Structures

In this part two of Walk With, we’ll explore the organisational side of disaster preparation. We’ll look at some of the potential impacts you may face and how you might adapt.  Your local services landscape can really change if State entities come to help. We look at ways to support the wellbeing of staff and provide some useful tools for starting conversations within your own service and across your local networks.

We know that by taking the first steps toward preparing, you’re on the way to being far more resilient should a disaster impact your community. The first topic, Resilience distils best practice for community organisations in disaster preparation.  Renewal will guide you in beginning some simple organisational planning.


 Snapshot tour of the Walk With site