Mayor Andy Burnham announces a collaboration to enhance the Resilience of Communities in Greater Manchester

Written by Resilient Cities Network
Monday, 02 October 2023
  • Higher Folds in Wigan and Edgeley in Stockport to receive funding from the Z Zurich Foundation to implement solutions that build flood and heat resilience.
  • Mayor highlights the value of the Resilience for Communities Program to inform how communities build resilience to floods and heatwaves in Greater Manchester.
  • Communities will have a central and active role in assessing priorities and creating and selecting solutions. 

Greater Manchester October 2, 2023 – Guided by Greater Manchester’s ambition to place communities at the centre of its Resilience Strategy, Mayor Andy Burnham announced the Resilience for Communities (R4C) programme today. This three-year programme is a joint initiative between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Resilient Cities Network, the Z Zurich Foundation and Zurich Insurance (UK).

Through the R4C programme, Higher Folds in Wigan, and Edgeley in Stockport will each receive funding for resilience-building initiatives. The selection of the communities considered their exposure to climate hazards, their vulnerability, and the current level of support they receive from the local government and other local organisations. Despite facing similar challenges, both communities present their own unique strengths, this mix will enable greater scalability across Greater Manchester and beyond.

Community resilience, or the ability of a community to bounce back and adapt to climate change, depends on its unique physical, social and economic characteristics. Resilient communities can withstand, recover from and thrive in the face of climate disasters. By understanding how communities perceive risks and their level of awareness, alongside any particular barriers that communities may face, local governments can better help local communities to become more resilient.​ 

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Resilience for Communities will enable us to work closely with two communities and jointly design and implement ideas to assist people to be more resilient in the face of current and future risks. With local residents at the centre of this process, this programme will inform how we might tackle the same risks in other communities in Greater Manchester.”

Dr Kathryn Oldham, Greater Manchester’s Chief Resilience Officer, highlighted the unique methodology that the programme brings. “The R4C programme is a great opportunity to bring together cutting-edge approaches in engaging with residents to build resilience, whilst also helping the city-region to prepare for the risks that climate change poses, especially flooding and potential heatwaves,” she said.

This week, the implementation team will outline a roadmap for the next three years.  “We will be working on the ground, listening to these communities, amplifying their voices, collectively assessing priorities and, most importantly, implementing co-produced solutions that will enhance Greater Manchester’s resilience,” explained Katrin Bruebach, Global Director of Programs, Innovation and Impact at Resilient Cities Network.

R-Cities used risk mapping and open-data sources to gain insights into exposure and vulnerability faced by communities in Greater Manchester. The local authorities’ knowledge helped identify communities facing multiple, interconnected challenges.

“We are very happy to be part of this global programme that will allow us to further our work with the community to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change while making Wigan Borough the best possible place to live and work”, said Councillor Paul Prescott, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Environmental Services and Transport at Wigan Council.

In a similar spirit, Councillor Mark Roberts, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Environment, Stockport Council, remarked: “We’re really pleased to be given the opportunity to take part in this exciting global programme and to work with local residents to understand how Stockport communities can plan for future climate change in a just, fair and inclusive way.”

Using the Climate Resilience Measurement for Communities tool will lead to the clear identification of priority actions in the selected communities. The tool was developed by Z Zurich Foundation and Zurich Insurance through more than a decade of climate resilience work in communities across the world. The insights gained from the R4C programme [LL1] will serve as valuable learnings for numerous other locations. All ten local authorities in Greater Manchester can participate in the knowledge exchange that the programme offers.

“Building resilience in urban communities is dependent not only on local action but on the systems which impact that community. By working directly through our partners with the local authorities, we aim to influence the ways in which systems can be adapted to better support vulnerable communities”, says David Nash, Climate Change and Partnerships Senior Manager, Z Zurich Foundation.

About Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities)

The Resilient Cities Network is the world’s leading urban resilience network. We bring together global knowledge, practice, partnerships, and funding to empower 100 member cities in 47 countries worldwide.  Arm in arm with those member cities, we help them build a safer, more equitable, and sustainable future for all their residents.

For more about the program visit

About Z Zurich Foundation

The Z Zurich Foundation works alongside Zurich Insurance Group employees and other stakeholders as well as with governments and NGOs in pursuit of a future where people can thrive in the face of increasing climate hazards, where those of us feeling the stresses of life are empowered to speak up, and where the marginalized in our society can reach their full potential.

The Z Zurich Foundation is a Swiss-based charitable foundation established by members of the Zurich Insurance Group. It is the main vehicle by which Zurich Insurance Group delivers on its global community investment strategy.

Visit the Z Zurich Foundation’s website to learn more about its work: Follow Z Zurich Foundation on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

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