Fire to Flourish

In the wake of increasing bushfires, floods and other disaster events, it’s critical for communities to pave new ways to lead, imagine, connect and invest in their communities’ future.

Fire to Flourish is a five-year, $75m partnership that aims to empower communities in bushfire-affected communities to develop novel approaches to strengthening community resilience.

What is Fire to Flourish?

Since the devastating 2019/2020 summer bushfires, there’s been a growing movement for community-led responses that reflect the priorities of local communities and respond to local context. 

TACSI is proud to be a foundation program partner in Fire to Flourish, a five-year, $75m partnership between Monash University, Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF) and Metal Manufacturers Limited, designed to grow the power of community-led action in bushfire-affected communities by developing novel approaches to strengthen community resilience.

Working closely with communities affected by the 2019/20 summer bushfire, the program seeks to:

  • Develop, test and refine a new model for community-led resilience that supports communities in bushfire recovery areas to co-create the foundations of long-term resilience and wellbeing

  • Build an evidence base to demonstrate what can be achieved when communities are not just recipients of bushfire recovery funds, but are supported to lead their own resilience-building

  • Connect with government, agencies and other stakeholders, and provide mechanisms for shared learning and coordinated action

Read the 2021 Fire to Flourish annual report

Our role

We lead the Innovation Team, who is responsible for designing and demonstrating new practices, mindsets and ways of working in partnership with diverse communities. 

We help communities build holistic resilience, through a strength-based, community-led approach. Our team is busy designing, delivering, and integrating the innovation work into the broader program.

Our current focus

  1. Building new capability within communities, co-designing innovations and helping potential leaders step into new roles

  2. Focusing on mindset and real adaptive problem-solving by fostering learning across communities, and connecting them at a national level to learn from one another

  3. Using participatory granting, which means community participants will decide where the bucket of funds allocated to them gets spent

  4. Designing, documenting, replicating and scaling tools, processes and resources for supporting community-led resilience building

Our key community engagement activities

  • Designing and delivering capability building activities

  • Leading community foresight through ‘Now, Future, How’ processes

  • Leading engagement with Indigenous communities and institutions;

  • Convening community leadership teams in co-design groups;

  • Designing and implementing participatory granting process.

A person holding a Koala

The key components being designed and tested

  • Capability building: What kinds of local actions deepen community-led capacity to cope, adapt and transform their social, economic, built and natural environments?

  • Network learning: what kinds of local actions deepen community-led connection and adaptive learning?

  • Participatory granting: What kinds of local actions deepen community-led agency, sustainability and long-term access to resources?

  • Innovation ecosystem: What kinds of local actions foster community-led innovation ecosystems that influence systemic change?

Our impact (so far)

The Innovation team is testing and learning about new ways of working with fire-affected communities to co-create the foundations for equitable, long-term resilience and wellbeing, including participatory grant-making activities.

Recently, we have been working in Clarence Valley with a small group of community change-makers exploring new ways of self-organising around strengths and mobilising towards desired futures including:

  • Community-led practices, problem solving, and participatory decision making processes

  • Building networks and learning alongside communities facing similar challenges

  • Imagining resilient and sustainable futures

Specifically, in each community we are testing and learning about ways to:

  • Deepen resilience capability to see strengths, imagine futures differently, and create and invest in new ways of getting there

  • Seed a creative and participatory innovation ecosystem

  • Build an adaptive learning network across communities

We’ve also been supporting the development of a research program that will build an evidence base for how community-led resilience building can be achieved in practice.

Our incubator work in Clarence Valley is informing the design and scaling of the impact program and design of research that will be part of the broader Fire to Flourish program activated in subsequent communities.

Our commitment to First Nations First

We’re weaving First Nations thinking into this initiative by:

  • Following the core principles of Foregrounding Aboriginal Wisdom and Healing

  • Using a co-developed approach to cultural awareness training for communities, facilitating collaboration between local First Nations knowledge and the William Cooper Institute team at Monash University

  • Creating a cultural safety plan

Our current interdependent First Nations activities include:

  • Indigenous relationship development including with NSW Aboriginal Lands Council, NSW Aboriginal Affairs, Bushfire Recovery Victoria and Clinton Schultz

  • Developing a Cultural Foundations Plan with Dr Brian Martin 

  • Review and advise on an Indigenous Engagement Project Officer role job description

  • Active members of the Indigenous Partnership Group, including relationship development between meetings.

Read more

Meet the Fire to Flourish team

If you’d like to learn more, get involved, or talk to the Fire to Flourish team about doing something similar in your own community, we’d love to hear from you.

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Level 1, 279 Flinders St
Adelaide SA 5000

1/145 Redfern Street

Redfern NSW 2016

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At TACSI, diversity and inclusion is more than a statement; equality and accessibility are guiding principles embedded in everything we do. We strongly believe that it’s the collective sum of all our communities differences, life experiences, and knowledge that enables both ourselves and our partners to come together to tackle complex social issues. That’s why we’re committed to having a diverse team made up of people with diverse skills from all backgrounds, including First Nations peoples, LGBTIQ+, mature-age people, and people with visible and non-visible disabilities, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity.