WHAT IS A NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE?

Whilst every Neighbourhood House is different, what they have in common is a vision to bring people together and enhance opportunities for people and communities. They provide an informal, non-threatening and nurturing environment for supported individualised learning.

Neighbourhood House are called by a variety of names, reflecting their varied historical beginnings. The common thread is that they are all not-for-profit organisations where available funds are combined with a strong volunteer input to ensure maximum benefit to each diverse community. Each House or Centre is a legal entity in its own right, or auspiced by a legal entity, and has a formal (and, in some cases, financial) membership base. The community is defined primarily, but not exclusively, by the geographical neighbourhood in which the Houses are located.

Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres are community-owned generalist services; they are unequalled in their ability to provide a continuity of service to people through their changing life stages. The activities and programs provided have developed in response to the needs of the neighbourhood, other community infrastructure and resource constraints. 

The Neighbourhood House sector in Australia includes more than 1,000 organisations. Its continued success is assured as individuals and communities discover the potential to connect and bring together divergent parts of each community.

Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres are not for profit community organisations. They share a community development and socially inclusive approach to the delivery and provision of services, as well as activities for socially isolated and disadvantaged local communities.

Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres have been operating in Victoria for nearly 40 years; many developed out of the social reforms of the 1970s and are known by a variety of names across Australia. 

In the Upper Murray Region there are 16 Houses and Centres across five Local Government Areas, within the Shires of Indigo, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Moira, Alpine, Towong. These municipalities incorporate regional centres or towns, semi-rural and rural areas. The Network is funded by the Department of Human Services, managed by a voluntary Committee of Management and supported by Upper Murray Regional Neighbourhood House Network Coordinator.

Typically, Houses and Centres are small organisations situated in local community settings that operate at grass roots level. They strive to be accessible and welcoming, and to be inclusive and supportive of people from diverse backgrounds with varying abilities. The staff and volunteers at our Houses actively work to redress structural disadvantage in society through their philosophy, principles and practices. Houses and Centres aim to improve the social, environmental, economic and cultural infrastructures within their communities.

The Houses and Centres do not seek to do for others but to empower others to do for themselves. Members are encouraged to be actively involved in decision making and to have ownership of the programs and activities in their house or centre. Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres integrate learning into all aspects of their activities.

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria (NHVic)

NHVic is the peak body for Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres in Victoria. It was established in the early 1970s, and provides strategic leadership for Neighbourhood Houses in Victoria, supporting members with effective state-wide advocacy, quality research, and timely advice on relevant policy and legislative developments.

For more information about NHVic, click here.

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