NETWORK SERVICES - SUPPORT AND ADVOCACY
Neighbourhood House Networks are funded through the NHCP to provide the following services to Neighbourhood Houses in their Network:
Governance and management support to committees and staff
Advice on neighbourhood house programs and activity development
Training and training resources
Capacity building and links, with and between Neighbourhood Houses and other community organisations and the local and regional level
Networks also play a strategic role at a state level. Network Coordinators meet regularly with our peak body, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, to work collaboratively on developmental strategies for the whole sector.
The UMRNHN supports 16 Neighbourhood Houses in the Upper Murray Region, and offers a range of services to its members. Most of these are part of the free membership offered by the Network.
The Network Coordinator is currently funded for 19 hours per week to work across all Houses in the Network, covering over 16,000 sq/km.
General advice and support
The Network Coordinator provides general governance and management advice and support. This will vary with each Neighbourhood House (NH) and might include:
providing examples of policies and procedures
linking Neighbourhood Houses with similar programs/challenges
providing links to information about particular topics
advice on community development activity
The Network does not provide Industrial Relations, Workplace Health and Safety, or Legal Advice. However, information about relevant organisations and agencies working in those areas can be provided if required.
Governance orientation and support
The Network Coordinator provides a sector orientation to new and existing committees and boards, as well as general governance advice and information.
information about the Network and what it offers
information about the NH sector
roles and responsibilities of the committee/board of governance
This can be done at a regular Committee/Board meeting, or at a separate session.
The Network Coordinator can also assist committees/boards with developing good governance processes, attend committee/board meetings if required, and provide training (see below). There may be additional costs (charged at $60/hour) depending on the level of support required and the necessary time commitment.
Orientation and support for new Coordinators
The Neighbourhood House Coordinator role is diverse and complex. People taking on this position usually find that it takes at least 12 months to feel like they know what they are doing!
The Network provides support to new Coordinators, including an Orientation Handbook. The Network Coordinator will meet with you as required. Where possible (and wanted), new Coordinators are linked to an experienced Coordinator from one of the Network Houses.
New Coordinators are encouraged to attend Network meetings and workshops to help them forge links with the other Neighbourhood Houses in their region.
The Network emails out a newsletter at the beginning of each month. The newsletter includes news about the activity of our members, governance information, links to useful resources, grant information and ideas and innovations.
Network members are encouraged to submit articles about programs, projects and other activities they are running at their Neighbourhood House.
Professional development workshops
The Network provides a range of professional activity for staff and committees/boards as part of the general meeting cycle. Most of this is free, although some may have a small cost.
The Network also runs and promotes additional PD throughout the year, most of which is fee for service.
Financial Health Checks
The Network offers a Financial Health Check which runs through a series of ratios and measures using your annual audited financial reports (as presented at your AGM). The check highlights areas that might need some follow up and additional information, and also identifies any 'red flags'. The check is completely confidential, and the results are discussed only with the Coordinator and/or committee members.
The Network advocates on behalf of members to DHHS, NHVic, local government and other government departments and agencies. This includes:
raising issues and concerns about funding and other issues that impact sustainability
gathering data to demonstrate social impact of House activity
promoting the activity of members through the Network website, social media, and newsletter