Rural Communities in Ireland are particularly vulnerable to changes resulting from volatility in global markets and other events over which they don’t always have control. The impact on rural communities effects all.

Communities often respond reactively to such uncertainty, resulting in inbalance. Younger people tend to migrate to either urban centres for education or employment or as is happening presently, they are emigrating further afield. These leaves communities a smaller number of younger people and consequently more older people, who as they get older will be more dependent on services. However with fewer people of working age, there is less money coming into the local economy and this reduces the demand for services such as shops, pubs, schools and post-offices. As these services start to decline, economic activity spirals into further decline.

A political response has often been to inject money into these areas via grants or by attracting industry or small businesses, but as rural spiral into decline, they become less attractive to investment. Periods of economic prosperity have in the past given an impression that rural communities are bouncing back, but these periods have caused further imbalance. The attraction of the countryside as a better place to live in has often resulted in an “urbanisation” of rural areas, as people commute back to the towns and cities to work, shop and even attend school.

But communities around the world are adapting a more proactive approach:

A resilience approach is one where people in a community take intentional action to enhance the personal and collective capacity  of the people within that community to respond to and influence the course of social and economic change.

There are different definitions of “Resilience but in general it relates to “Social” and “Ecological” systems. Many rural areas still maintain high levels of resilience. The term community resilience is often used in relation to the scenario of “Peak Oil” but a community that is resilient is often as well equipped to deal with various scenarios, Hurricanes, Earthquakes and Economic Collapse.

New Paradigms have adapted an approach used in Canada that involves the whole community community coming together to increase their collective resilience.

This approach uses research to assess the level of resilience that already exists within a community to create a community potrait, This potrait then informs decisions that the community can take to increase resilience.

The research looks at some of the key functions of a local economy:

  • Human Resources
  • Equity
  • Infrastructure
  • Credit
  • Research, Planning & Advocacy

If you want to find out more about what is resilience, New Paradigms are available to come to your community to give a two hour presentation on the benefits of adapting a resilience approach.


For More Information, please visit the Following

Stockholm Resilience Centre

Download Community Resilience Manual here

Video from Stockholm Resilience Centre
From Stockholm Resilience Centre
From CAT, Wales
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