NETWORK NEWS

Social Enterprise success!

March 09, 2020

Upper Murray Regional Neighbourhood House Network is very excited to have been appointed as the Local Lead for Hume Region for Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC). 

"This is a wonderful opportunity for our members," said Trish Curtis, Network Coordinator for UMRNHN. "Almost half of our members have a social enterprise as part of their business model. We see first hand the benefits this brings to those neighbourhood houses and their communities. 

"We look forward to extending our already strong network to build capacity of the neighbourhood houses in the southern part of Hume Region, as well as engaging with existing social enterprises and those who are considering setting one up."

"The SENVIC Local Leads will play a vital role in engaging with rural and regional social entrepreneurs thereby ensuring that the network effectively represents the interests of our diverse sector. We are thrilled to have attracted organisations and leaders with specialist expertise, local knowledge and powerful existing networks" said Nick Verginis, SENVIC CEO.

 

"We received expressions of interest from 15 different organisations. The number and high quality of the applications indicates to me that regional communities are keen to develop the social enterprise sector. I look forward to collaborating with the SENVIC Local Leads to develop a vibrant network, deliver learning & development opportunities and provide a strong voice for regional social entrepreneurs" said Pete Ekstedt, SENVIC Regional Manager.

Building on shared knowledge

March 09, 2020

Pangerang Community House is building on a program run by Felltimber Community Centre in Wodonga to further service their free digital sessions.

 

"We are really excited to have developed a partnership with Galen Catholic College," said Tennille Hall, Executive Officer at Pangerang Community House.  "The students are doing this as a part of their Year 11 Social Justice/Community Service program and are working with some of our older community members. 

 

"Some of our older community members tell us that the young people just 'move too fast', yet as grandchildren, are a natural first port of call for them. By working through the Be Connected training program, we are helping students learn to slow down their pace, learn to identify what level a participant is at and to look at some of the many barriers and challenges that they face. 

 

"Thanks to Amanda at Felltimber for providing us with the idea to create this partnership, after the successful roll out of their 'closing the gap' program.  We've long wanted to engage students and this has provided an excellent platform to do this. 

 

"The community are really starting to recognise the BeConnected branding and we continue to see new faces at the House. This new program will open us up to more opportunities to spread the word, as Galen promote through their community also."

Tailor-made for carers

February 23, 2020

Open Door Neighbourhood House is sharing in $3.9M funding for a project that will enable the NH to develop programs tailored for carers.

 

"We recognise that the caring role can be difficult and can impact on that person's feeling of health and wellbeing," said Loretta Waters, Executive Officer at Open Door. "Carers can become quite isolated as their own aspirations and goals take a back seat to their caring role. We have a strong focus on reducing barriers and supporting people to build their social connections, and this grant will help us do that work with carers." Click here to read the article from The Chronicle.

Showing leadership in sustainability

February 06, 2020

Tallangatta Neighbourhood House (TNH), in partnership with Tallangatta Health Service and Tallangatta Secondary College, is hosting two screenings of the film 2040 later this month.

 

Said Lou Newman, coordinator of the TNH, “the film explores what the future could look like in 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet.

 

“2040 demonstrates that we already have a lot of the solutions - we just need to bring them rapidly into the mainstream. The film is not designed to overwhelm but to give focus to solutions and collective opportunities to change.

 

“We want to give people hope, and motivate them to respond to the challenges we’re now all facing, rather than feel overwhelmed and give up – and it’s so important that people don’t give up!”

 

The first screening will be at the Tallangatta Secondary College. Staff from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) will run a series of workshops with the students before and after the film.

 

“We’re hoping that there’ll be enough interest from the young people to form a leadership team at the school to guide activities that will create awareness and action,” said Lou.

 

The second screening is a free community event at the Neighbourhood House.

 

“After the screening, DELWP will lead a discussion about activities and solutions that community members may want. The Hume Regional Climate Change Adaption Plan will also be discussed, and we will also hear ideas and plans from a local environmental group.

 

“We will compile the results of the discussions to build a picture of what the community wants, to help with future planning.”

 

“I do try and offer a range of sustainability-based programs through the year at the Neighbourhood House,” said Lou. “I think it’s very important that we continue to do so, because we want promote and support positive action in the community.”  

Cost effective occasional care

February 05, 2020

Congratulations to Pangerang Community House and Bandiana Neighbourhood House who were both successful with their applications to become Child Care Subsidy providers. 

 

The subsidy is already having a positive impact on the Occasional Childcare service offered at both neighbourhood houses.

"It's proving to be a great benefit to our participants," said Tennille Hall, EO of Pangerang Community House in Wangaratta. "It costs less now for their children to come for occasional care, while still providing the same fantastic service.

"The introduction of the rebate to parents has allowed us to increase our fees without our parents having to pay more. The resulting increase in income means we can support our cooking program students - we look after their children while they learn more about cooking, which is exactly how it should be!"

"We can now offer the same government subsidy as offered by long daycare providers, without parents being locked into all day childcare," said Karen Ramsay, Manager at Bandiana Neighbourhood House. "And they can still book a regular day, so it's a win/win!"

Congratulations to Birallee Park Neighbourhood House for the work they’ve been doing to produce close to 3,000 meals to help fire affected communities. I visited there the other day and watched a group of wonderful volunteers packing the biggest bowl of food I’ve ever seen into meal sized containers for distribution. It smelt delicious!

Update of neighbourhood houses affected by bushfire

January 16, 2020

The current bushfires are having a significant affect on four of our neighbourhood houses - Corryong Neighbourhood Centre, Tallangatta Neighbourhood House, Mt Beauty Neighbourhood Centre and Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre.

 

Corryong has been the most directly affected. The fire situation at Corryong is described as ‘dynamic’ so the town is still in emergency mode. As a Centrelink agency CNC has been extremely busy helping people access financial aid.

Tallangatta, Mt Beauty and Myrtleford are 'business as usual'. Mt Beauty and Myrtleford both report how quiet the towns are, with all the tourists having left leaving local businesses severely and negatively impacted. 

As organisations integral to their communities and there for the long haul, neighbourhood houses can play an important role in emergency recovery. These current fires have highlighted how important it is that neighbourhood houses are part of the emergency planning process.

Tackling problem gambling

Problem gambling in the North East is set to be tackled by Neighbourhood Houses in the Upper Murray Regional Neighbourhood House Network (UMRNHN). 

The Victorian Government granted the Network $159,800 through the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation Partnership Prevention Program 2019-2021. 

"Our project will help raise awareness amongst our members of the harm caused by problem gambling, and support them to develop local strategies to prevent and reduce harm," said Network Coordinator, Trish Curtis.

 

"Gambling can affect people from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances. Finding alternative activities at some of the at risk times - after work, lunch time and weekends - that's an area Neighbourhood Houses have the flexibility to address."

Recent monthly data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation shows over $890,000 was outlaid in Wangaratta in August through 154 poker machines - a significant increase from June. Benalla had a record expenditure in 2018-2019 with over $11M spent on 240 poker machines. 

"Figures such as these are very concerning," said Ms Curtis. "We would like to understand more about what drives people to spend so much time and money on these machines, and develop localised strategies to offer alternatives."

Click here to go to the project page.

Building a community event - Yackandandah Arts Festival 2019

January 20, 2020

From YCC Manager, David Thorpe

 

The Arts Festival grew out of an idea of expanding the High Country Christmas Fair (HCCF), which has been organised by the Yackandandah Community Centre for the past seven years.

The idea was to utilise the HCCF as the anchor event to build a festival that catered for more of the community. We began by asking other organisations to schedule arts related events, which would normally take place around the same time, on the weekend of the HCCF. The plan was to create a more diverse event without a huge amount of additional work.

Good plan, that almost worked – there was still a huge amount of work!

We chose a theme of environmental sustainability for the festival, a theme that resonates with the Yack community.

We began with a collection of five events across the weekend, but as enthusiasm grew in town that number grew to 11. There were a number of groups who contributed significantly to the festival or staged individual events.

Events included a night of music at the pub, the High Country Christmas Fair, children’s workshops, the screening of the movie 2040, an intergenerational art exhibition, a poets breakfast, an author presentation, artists studio trail and a theatre production. 

Feedback has been very positive; organisers of individual events were very happy with the number of people who attended. Those who attended have been enthusiastic about what was on offer and in general are looking forward to next year being even bigger and better.

Now we just need to muster the volunteers and funding for 2020!

Find out more about events in Yackandandah by going to the YCC website here.

Getting connected at Trudewind Rd Neighbourhood House

January 20, 2020

From Sue Lees - Coordinator at Trudewind Rd Neighbourhood House

Trudewind has embarked on several new projects over the last couple of months.

 

Thank you Tennille Hall at Pangerang Community House, for introducing us to Be Connected.  It has been really well received by our community.  We have just been paid our fourth grant which will enable us to take Be Connected out to the wider community with visits to shopping centres and various seniors’ organisations.

 

We started a little plant stall as a fund-raiser last month.  It has now got to the stage where we are getting donations of plants from some of our keen gardeners. Just as well we bought a few more shelves!

Trudewind is enjoying hosting the ‘Getting There’ course run by The Centre, Wangaratta (CGEA 1 & 2). As part of their community project the students have designed mosaics for our ugly concrete seating in the Community Garden with sponsorship from Bunnings.  The students are loving it and we are too, the seats are looking  great!

Love this new NH promo video!

May 22, 2019

NHVic have developed a new promotional video showing many of the great things that Neighbourhood Houses do. Take a look here!

Heritage Vic grant restores old church

April 14, 2019

Beechworth's Methodist Church is being restored thanks to a $55,000 grant from Heritage Victoria. Built in 1857, the building was the first permanent church on the Ovens goldfields. 

 

Today, the building is home to Quercus Beechworth, and used as a community hub. Hear more about it in this interview with Jude Doughty, manager at Quercus.

Making connections through the Yack Pack

April 14, 2019

David Thorpe, manager of the Yackandandah Community Centre, has been busy developing a new website and community services guide for YCC. The services guide, called the Yack Pack, was a project that had begun prior to David taking on the role. "The bones of the idea were there but, as you will appreciate, the devil is in the detail," David said.

The initial idea was to have the Yack Pack printed, but it became clear that it would be more useful to everyone if it was in a digital format. The YCC committee employed a person to collect the information about services organisations, sporting clubs, arts, cultural and social organisations, schools, churches, bus and taxi services, volunteer opportunities, emergency organisation and local council information.

At the same time, the YCC website was being redeveloped to provide the platform for the Yack Pack. It is now much more modern and user-friendly, providing a professional launching place for the Yack Pack and Events Calendar. 

Chiltern community successful with new Neighbourhood House

April 14, 2019

Welcome to our new Neighbourhood House at Chiltern, and Coordinator Maree Murphy!

Chiltern Neighbourhood House is auspiced by Indigo North Health (INH), and was funded in last year's  $22M funding boost from the Victorian Government. The NH is located in the old Chiltern Bush Hospital, along with INH. The hospital is dear to the hearts of the community of Chiltern, and the application to become a new neighbourhood house was well supported by the town.

 

Since opening, Chiltern NH has really been kicking goals, delivering training programs, and setting up community groups, including a Toy Library. "We've formed a partnership with The Centre in Wangaratta to deliver some certificate courses, and we've also done First Aid and CPR training," said Maree Murphy, Coordinator. "The response from the community has been very positive and supportive, with courses and programs filling well." 

Maree has been with INH for 8 years, initially as an Allied Health Assistant then she took on the additional role of Volunteer Coordinator for about 100 volunteers including Mens Shed, an Op Shop, Community Transport & Residential Aged Care.  As well as continuing as the Volunteer Coordinator, she is also the new Chiltern NH Coordinator.

 

"When the crisis point came and the Chiltern Campus looked like it might close, we applied for and received funding to start a Neighbourhood House as part of our services," said Maree. "I then finished up my Allied Health Assistance role and have continued on as Volunteer Coordinator and now also Neighbourhood House Coordinator. 

 

"I grew up in Chiltern, left, and then after 19 years away returned with a husband and 2 children.  I have family in Chiltern and am passionate about the community and opportunities for everyone to be involved in something they love or would love to learn, and promotion of social inclusion.

 

"I am so grateful to have been offered the role of Neighbourhood House Coordinator and am very excited for the future."

NHVic visit to Upper Murray

April 03, 2018

New NHVic CEO, Nicole Battle, and Board President, Greg Ferrington, spent the day visiting Upper Murray. 

"We went to Open Door Neighbourhood House, King Valley Learning Exchange and Quercus Beechworth," said Network Coordinator, Trish Curtis. "We also met with David from Yackandandah Community Centre and some of the volunteers and Men's Shed participants out at KVLE."

"It was great to visit such a diverse range of Houses," said Nicole. "We want to know what our members expect of NHVic, and what they would like to see us doing going forward.

 

"We've come away from today with lots of ideas and feedback. We have heard from those we met that NHVic has been a bit city-centric, so we are very keen to reconnect with the rural and regional members."

Wang Houses on the campaign trail

March 27, 2018

Pangerang Community House and Open Door Neighbourhood House have been making their pitch for more funding to local MP, Tim McCurdy.

"We were able to talk about the NHVic campaign and highlight the issues around funding not keeping up with increasing expenses," said Loretta Waters. 

"This campaign is well-timed to raise awareness of all that neighbourhood houses do," said Mr McCurdy, "and I'm confident that in an election year, it will be heard."

Social Media workshop a hit

March 12, 2018

The new format for UMR Network meetings seems to have gone down well with participants.

"Including professional development as part of our Network meetings is a message that came through at our November meeting," said Jude Doughty. "The new format worked well for me, and the social media workshop was excellent."

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