Community Recovery Project

We know that COVID-19 has had a social and economic impact on our communities and that our organisations will be there, supporting them to recover and thrive.

CSIA is working in partnership with the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, and five regional community services organisations to support the social and economic recovery of our communities.

We collaborated with five regional partners:

  • Centacare Far North Queensland (Cairns)
  • Centacare North Queensland (Townsville and Mount Isa)
  • Regional Social Development Coalition (Mackay)
  • Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre (Fraser Coast)
  • Capricorn Community Development Association (Rockhampton).


Recovery Discussions

Working with our project partners, five regional focus groups were held exploring immediate support and adaptation strategies.

The conversation was robust and we quickly gained a clear understanding of the impacts of COVID-19 on service-users from a grassroots, service delivery perspective.

Common themes emerged from the discussions across all five regions. These themes were:

  • Stigma about accessing services and supports
  • Stress and mental health
  • Financial hardship
  • Family breakdown
  • Isolation and community connection
  • Access to food and emergency relief.


Most Significant Change methodology

To provide a clear evidence-base for the impact of COVID-19 on service-users, we then worked together on the Most Significant Change (MSC) methodology of data collection.

The MSC technique is a participatory monitoring and evaluation methodology. It involves the collection of stories of significant change from those engaging with a project or program.

Project partners received training from CSIA’s MSC-trained team members Vanessa Swinburn and Harriet Bevitt. Case studies about the impact of the pandemic on service-users were collected by project partners using this methodology.

Themes emerging from the case studies aligned with those that emerged from the focus groups.


Community Recovery Resources

Data captured from the focus groups and case studies informed a set of Community Recovery Resources to support people seeking services and assistance.

The Community Recovery Resource Guide includes everything your organisation needs to respond to social and economic disadvantage in your community.

Five information guides can be tailored with your organisation’s local contact information and distributed to service users or those accessing services for the first time.

  • Getting started with finding help – A first destination for someone needing assistance who might be confused about where to start.
  • Looking after yourself – Encourages readers to look after their mental health and wellbeing and tips for reaching out.
  • Help with money matters – Provides a self-assessment activity to determine whether people may benefit from some extra help with finances, as well as a few tips on where to start.
  • Getting a job – Initial advice for people to take the next steps on their employment journey.
  • Supporting positive relationships – A non-judgmental guide to taking the first steps in both recognising that a relationship has become abusive and what steps people can take to foster positive relationships and/or remove themselves from an abusive situation.


The Community Recovery project is another way that CSIA is working in collaboration to advance the Community Services Industry, and the communities we serve, through doing business better.