The UMRNHN Committee provides governance to the Network, setting the strategic direction and overseeing risk. They are also responsible for the day to day supervision of the Network Coordinator.

The Committee is drawn from Network members and elected at the AGM every year in March / April. Representation is spread across the region and is representative of the different types of Neighbourhood Houses in the region. The Committee meets four to five times per year and consists of the following positions:

  • Chairperson

  • Vice Chairperson

  • Treasurer

  • Secretary and Public Officer

  • Two Ordinary Members


Committee members for 2017-2018 are:

Jude Doughty - Chair

Jude is the Manager at Quercus Beechworth. 

It has been a great priviliege to be involved on the Committee of UMRNHN as I believe Neighbourhood Houses should be nurtured and cherished; they offer so much support and assistance in our communities often that is never fully recognised. 

Being part of the  UMRNH Network committee is one way that I can contribute to those working in the Houses; people who so generously give so much of themselves and their time. I have been very proud to be part of an increasingly professional and relevant Professional Development program that has been offered to the Network members as it recognises the work of neighbourhood staff and provides opportunities for us all to find ways to respond to our ever changing local communities.

As Manager of Quercus Beechworth I have been able to sure up our financial stability and to lead the change in the way we encourage our community to 'learn, share and connect'. 

I work with the very best people, so every day at Quercus is a joy!

Trish Dixon - Deputy Chair

Trish is the Manager at Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre.

Debbie Cooper - Secretary

Deb is the Community Programs Coordinator at Yarrawonga Neighbourhood House.

I have always been involved in my community, but had never realised what role Neighbourhood Houses played until I started at Yarrawonga Neighbourhood House. To help me learn I joined the UMRNHN and have been on the committee ever since.


A favourite part of my role is visiting other Neighbourhood houses and Community Centres and the Network gives me the perfect opportunity to do this. We share ideas and resources, support each other through tough times and celebrate our successes together. Collectively, we create a stronger voice for our own communities.


What I have learned from the Network has not only helped me to grow as a person, but it has given me the confidence and skills to encourage that growth in other people by creating social connection programs, that help people help themselves!

Amanda Crisp - Treasurer

Amanda is the Coordinator at Felltimber Community Centre in Wodonga.

Tennille Hall

Tennille is the Executive Officer at Pangerang Community House.

I have a broad employment background that on commencement of my position at Pangerang Community House, felt extremely unhelpful for my new role. However, this couldn't have been further from the truth! I've learned to embrace this diversity and it has given me a great leg up in dealing with varied members of the community.


Having started my career in finance/lending with a mortgage broker, I moved on to a role in settlements at BMW Financial Services and then on to Bendigo Bank. I started my maternity leave (I have three children aged 15, 12 & 8) and we relocated back to Inverloch to start an Arboricultural business (my husband is an Arborist). Never one to sit still, I did a range of things during this period (as well as all the books and marketing for our business) such as selling children's clothes, working for friends, volunteering on committees - I even gave Tupperware a crack! We then took over the Management contract of The Inverloch Surfside Holiday park where we resided for two years, juggling both businesses, two toddlers and being heavily pregnant. (Still not as challenging as a Neighbourhood House Coordinator role!)


After bringing the park up to the twenty first century, implementing rules, contracts, rebranding and cleaning up the park we decided to concentrate on our business. I had our third child and then worked with the Inverloch Tourism Committee and local businesses and farmers to establish the Inverloch Community Farmers' Market. We developed the market over 18 months and then handed it over to the Inverloch Lions Club, who have continued to deliver this successfully over the past 5 years.


An opportunity arose for my husband to take on a new contract in the North East providing Arboricultural training in 2014 and so we made the difficult decision to sell Tree Notion and move to Wangaratta. I worked briefly at Anglicare before landing in the role here at Pangerang.


I have an absolute love of the North East (I was born in Wang and lived here until I was 10) and what we have to offer, both in countryside and as a community. It has been a fantastic decision for us.


What does the Network mean to you, and why did you want to be on the Committee?

The network is an incredibly important support for my role, I consider it ongoing and informal professional development - arguably the most vital.  I wanted to be on the committee so that I could increase my understanding of the sector and sector issues and to hopefully identify opportunities for future collaborations and growth

The importance of ‘community' in your life

Community has always been extremely important to me, in one way or another I have always been an active volunteer.  I have a strong belief that belonging to a community promotes health and prosperity.

The importance of Neighbourhood Houses in your view

Neighbourhood Houses are so unique, which is what makes them important.  Thankfully our funding provides us with the opportunity to adapt and create programs to our communities needs.  Neighbourhood Houses bring people together and create a sense of community and belonging.

Two things you are most proud of in your role as coordinator/manager at your own NH

My staff.  They are such an incredible and dedicated/cohesive team.  I love working with them all.  I'm proud of my ability to overcome the challenges that have jumped in front of me.  Not always unscarred, but definitely stronger and with more knowlege than I had before.

One thing you are excited about in relation to the Network

That our breadth of skills and differences just bring so many opportunities, yet we all get along so well and the morale is truly inspiring.  We have a strong and competent leader in Trish Curtis, which makes us incredibly lucky.

Loretta Waters

Loretta is the Coordinator of Open Door Neighbourhood House in Wangaratta, and the most recent addition to the Network Committee.

I began working as Open Door Neighbourhood House in 2015 and absolutely love my job.  During my years here I have had the great privilege of meeting and connecting with some of the best people I have ever met.  The House is in the best location and has been attended by some people for as long as 30 years.  We have over 30 staff (including paid and unpaid), all who bring a vast and varied range of skills and lived experiences.  We pride ourselves on being a part of our local community, working towards equity, social justice, empowerment and safety.  We are passionate about fostering leadership in the community, advocacy for individuals and the sector and community development principles. 

Being able to join the Upper Murray Network and the Network Committee has provided invaluable opportunities of professional development and mentorship.  I have experienced a great sense of peer support and expertise from other Network Members and our Network Coordinator.  This has been vital in my ability to fulfil my role as Executive Officer at our Neighbourhood House.

I am passionate about all people having access to participation in community life, including daily living, social activities, education, employment etc.  Being of service to my community by working to reduce the barriers that exist for people that may inhibit their ability to participate, is an honour.  These barriers can include financial, confidence, physical ability, mental wellness, exposure, education, systemic, along with many others.  Watching and being a part of people’s life journeys, even if just for a short period, is a privilege I find hard to put into words.

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The UMRNHN is supported by a Network Coordinator, who is employed by the Committee.

Trish Curtis - Network Coordinator

I started as Network Coordinator in early 2015, and enjoy the role immensely. Whilst there are always challenges within the sector, it's great to see NHs in our region doing such wonderful things within their communities.

I am a graduate of the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program, and have professional qualifications in adult education, group facilitation, and governance (AICD Company Directors Course). Lifelong learning is something I am passionate about, and NHs are a place where this is supported and nurtured - often in an informal way, but just as important to the growth and development of individuals.

I really enjoy doing things in my local community, and am an active volunteer in the CFA, Benalla Health, and Palliative Care, as well as a past board member of several organisations including The Centre for Continuing Education, North East LLEN, and AVCLP.

I've been involved at a statewide, regional and organisational level with strategic and business planning, a range of community-based projects and programs, and development of community engagement strategies, working in various sectors, including infrastructure and banking. As well as being a Network Coordinator, I have my own consulting business, and have worked with a wide range of clients including local and state government, disability agencies, sporting clubs and Registered Training Organisations.

I enjoy bringing my various skills and experience to the Network Coordinator role, and hope that I can add value to the Network and to our individual members. 

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