Blue Heart

Fostering playful community resilience

A DEFRA-funded pilot project led by education charity Agile Rabbit, playfully exploring community resilience and awareness of flooding risks in communities in and around Eastbourne. In partnership with Coney and flood-mitigation and water experts Blue Heart.

 

Since January 2024, Coney has been working in partnership with Blue Heart, Agile Rabbit, and a range of artists to build sustained relationships with community organisations and residents in Eastbourne. Our mission? Creating a series of creative, playful activities and games to explore community resilience in the face of adversity, including flood risk and the cost-of-living crisis. We’ve dubbed our approach ‘The Local Resilience Crew*’, a group that anyone can be a part of. Inspired by Asset-Based Community Development Practice, we aim to empower communities to mobilise their own strengths in dealing with crisis. 

Adopting material devised with Coney makers, local artists have been engaging with groups ranging from community centres to allotments to places of faith, using a dynamic ‘roadshow’ approach. This involves landing wherever and whenever locals are already gathering, and offering a menu of activities and cards to take away which feature simple tasks and challenges to help people illuminate their own resilience.

The take-away cards relate to one (or more) of four impacts for participants to explore:

  • Relationality: Emphasises how none of us exist in isolation. What is the quality of your relationships and connection?
  • Belonging: How much do you belong to your community?
  • Flexibility: Fostering willingness to adapt to change brought by crises of any kind.
  • Flood risk awareness: What can be done to build preparedness?

A recent pilot of this approach with volunteers in Willington Trees Community Centre was very successful, with volunteers keen to replicate our approach within their own groups. Watch this space for updates!

*The Local Resilience Crew is part of a creative practice we’re currently developing for communities beyond Eastbourne, too. If you’re interested in learning more, say hello at [email protected]

Credits

Project director Tassos Stevens
Producer
Marie Klimis
Community researchers, producers, facilitators & makers Amy Robyn Lyster and Katie Taylor
Makers Nathan Charles, Cesía Leôn Alvarez, Mel Frances