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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 2020 are:




Sara is the Coordinator at Corryong Neighbourhood Centre.

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Deputy Chair

Tennille is the Executive Officer at Pangerang Community House in Wangaratta.

"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?

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 is the Executive Officer at Open Door Neighbourhood House in Wangaratta.

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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Amanda is the Coordinator at Felltimber Community Centre in Wodonga.

I started my journey with the Felltimber Community Centre in 2011 as a volunteer as a means to refresh my skills after being out of the workforce due to having two children. From there I was able
to secure a part time administration assistant role and get my foot back in the door to employment. This then eventually led to taking on the coordinator role in 2015.

What does the Network mean to you, and why did you want to be on the Committee?
The Network to me is place where I can find support, training, and mentors. It has been the central point to learn from others and provides many opportunities to develop professionally, while making friends along the way. I joined the committee initially because it was a great way to learn how a committee operates and to improve my skills. I also feel that network members should support the committee and be engaged in the decisions so that we have an effective and relevant committee.

The importance of 'community' in your life?
Thinking about community challenges you to think about others and show empathy and understanding. I believe this underpins a more harmonious, connected and healthier community. My work allows me to connect with community and also positively affects me in my personal life. Community allows you to make positive relationships and find a purpose and sense of belonging.

The importance of neighbourhood houses in your view?
Neighbourhood houses are essential particularly now where society changes are creating more barriers for people to connect. Neighourhood houses are at times the heart of the community and can act as a safety net for some of the most vulnerable. They are a place of warmth, support, connection, and act as a tool to support communities to thrive and provides a soft place to land.

One or two things you are most proud of in your role as a coordinator at your own NH?
Watching as people and relationships develop over the years and how the centre can offer opportunities and stepping stones so people can find connection, upskill, enjoy hobbies, and even find employment to break the poverty cycle.

One thing you are excited about in relation to the Network?
Learning from others who have a wealth of knowledge and to also enjoy the friendships we have made.



General member

David is the Manager at Yackandandah Community Centre.



General member

Maree is the Manager at Chiltern Neighbourhood House.



General member

As Executive Officer of Yarrawonga Neighbourhood House, I have held various roles of increasing responsibility and leadership working for large government-funded, Not for Profit, community-based organisations in a career spanning 28 years. Delivering a range of community, employment, and training services across multiple locations throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria and New South Wales. One of my greatest strengths is my commitment to supporting community development through collaboration with a range of key stakeholders to identify innovative ways to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for all.  


As a trusted board member of health, sporting, and community organisations with a specific focus on strategic planning, financial management and corporate governance.

I embraced the opportunity to join the Upper Murray Regional Neighbourhood House Network (UMRNHN) as a Committee Member to increase my knowledge, skills, and understanding of the network and community services sector.


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

The Network is a supportive, reliable, and knowledgeable resource that enables me to provide accurate, timely and relevant industry and sector information to our committee, staff, and key stakeholders.

The importance of ‘community’ in your life?

Community provides me a sense of belonging and connection to the region I have chosen to live and work. My community allows me to interact, collaborate, learn with and from a range of people with shared values and interests.

The importance of neighbourhood houses?

Neighbourhood Houses provide a broad range of services that aim to reduce poverty, increase life opportunities, choices and skills for all people including those experiencing economic hardship.

Two things you’re most proud of in your role as a NH manager?

Secured external funding to provide new resources and improving presentation of the facilities for staff, students, clients.

Supporting the Board to achieve their strategic plan of: Establishing new partnerships to expand delivery of services

One thing you are excited about in relation to the Network

The sharing of knowledge, resources, and professional development opportunities.

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

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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. 

What does the Network mean to you?

The Network plays a significant role in strengthening and developing the capacity of our members to do their important community development work. It's been a real joy to watch the relationships between managers becoming stronger, leading to greater collaboration, sharing and support for each other. I believe that this can only benefit the neighbourhood houses in our Network, and therefore the communities they serve.

The importance of 'community' in your life?

Strong communities are essential to our overall health and wellbeing, robust democracy, social justice, and economic and regional growth. Feeling part of a community is a basic human need. I feel very fortunate to have lived in the north east all my life, so feel a very strong sense of belonging, which I'm sure has been an important contributor to my feeling of self worth and confidence.

The importance of neighbourhood houses?

Because they are incredibly diverse in what they deliver to their communities, neighbourhood houses contribute significantly to the elements that I think are so important to strong communities: health and wellbeing; democratic; socially just; sustainable growth. They would leave a very big hole if they weren't there.

What are you most proud of in your role?

I'm very proud of the quality of professional development we've been able to provide, and the increasing participation from members.  I also think it's great that we've been able to secure three significant new projects for the Network that are already helping to raise the profile of our members and neighbourhood houses more broadly.

What are you excited about in relation to the Network?

I'm really looking forward to developing our new strategic plan. I'm also particularly excited about the work we're doing in positioning our members so they can more fully participate in emergency planning, in relation to preparation and recovery.​

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