Occasional Paper 14: Understanding Community Resilience from the Perspective of a Population Experienced in Emergencies: Some Insights from Cumbria


Following a week of floods, including up here in York, we thought we’d mark World Meteorological Day (last Saturday) by re-visiting an important piece of practical research. We commissioned Dr Hugh Deeming to look into the issue of community resilience through the lens of a community that had suffered multiple recent emergencies – including (but not limited to) flooding.


It’s a good read with a solid research base (primary and secondary sources). We certainly recommend it and think that the passage of 3 and a bit years since publication has not lessened its significance. Hugh analyses the working of Cumbria’s “Communities Reunited” partnership project, which seems to be an informative piece of good practice which is well worth re-visiting.

There’s an interesting side issue to this. How long does a community’s collective experience “last”, as something useful to it as opposed to being merely a memory? What factors relating to the community, the emergency itself and the work of the response community have an influence on this? How can the community resilience “value” of an emergency experience be maintained?

These seem to be useful lines of thought and we certainly intend to do some research in this direction.  What are your thoughts?

Check out our new way of presenting papers; there’s a summary (a 5-minute introduction – the core idea), or the full paper (a 1 hour study – the detail) 

We hope you find it useful. Let us know what you think!

How We Present This Paper

We start by recognising that everyone has far too much to read these days!
So we want to help you be selective and smart – making sure that the investment of about 1 hour in reading this paper is worthwhile in the context of your role and responsibilities.
So, this is how we are doing it:

1. The very short introduction

This is 1-2 sides of A4 – about a 5-minute read.
This will suit you if you don’t need the technical detail, but do want to know if it is something that your experts or teams should know about. It introduces the paper and explains what the problem is that it is trying to solve. It will give you a basic framework for asking the right questions if you need assurance from your teams that they are doing the right things.

2. The paper

If you work directly in emergency and disaster risk, or lead a team delivering resilience services, you need the full technical detail and a smart understanding of its context. We think you should read the whole paper.

Quick Read

Short on time? Click to read the condensed version

(2 page, pdf)

Full Document

Click to read the full paper

(23 pages, pdf)