Last week Neighbourhood Houses across Gippsland came together for their Network’s AGM Awards presentation. Awards were presented under 3 categories; Climate Action, Community Resilience and Community Development.
These categories capture the unique and important work Neighbourhood Houses do within their communities. Applications were submitted and judged by specialists from outside of the area to make the difficult decision of choosing the following winners:
Climate Action Award, sponsored by Gippsland Climate Change Network winner Venus Bay Community Centre for Community Energy for Venus Bay. This project saw the installation of solar, battery and back-up generator at the Venus Bay Community Centre to provide resilience for the local community. The secondary outcome of the project was to be chosen for a large-scale Feasibility Study into Community Resilience and Reliable Energy with funding support from the Federal Government.
Community Resilience Award sponsored by Aussie Broadband: Yarram Neighbourhood House for Let’s Feed them project. During June and October 2021 South Gippsland was hit with storms that caused large scale destruction, flooding and extended power outages, YNH cooked and provided meals and offered shower facilities to those without power for the duration of the power outage event. As a result of this project funding was secured to purchase 4 generators with lighting and power kits to support communities who are experiencing severe weather.
Community Development Award sponsored by NHG: Wurruk Community House for Play, Learn Share; an interactive after-school activities program for local primary school-aged children in their community. The program supports at-risk children through positively engaging recreationally, socially and educationally in a trusted, safe non-threatening environment supporting place-based grass roots methodology.
“These projects are excellent examples of how Neighbourhood Houses listen and respond to the changing needs in regional and rural communities. We have exceptional staff and volunteers working with limited resources in our Neighbourhood Houses/Community Centres across the region.
We are extremely thankful to our sponsors Aussie Broadband and Gippsland Climate Change Network in recognizing the vital role Neighbourhood Houses Play in their communities” Toni Halloran-Lavelle, NHG Network Manager.
For more information see: https://nhg.org.au/awards/
Also celebrated was NHG’s AGM. Guests listened to Carolyn Turner; retired Editor of Warragul Gazette talk about the power of local press and how to generate the best exposure. Leanne Potter from Lifeline discussing the impact of mental health on physical health and the role Neighbourhood Houses play in supporting positive outcomes for community members. Caitlin from Gippsland Pride who talked about the importance of safe spaces for LGBTIQ members and some of the issues currently being faced in addition to the upcoming celebrations.
Neighbourhood Houses Gippsland (NHG) funded by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions Let’s Stay Connect and the Regional Digital Fund, developed a website which collates programs being run from Neighbourhood Houses within the NHG network. The website also showcases the volunteer stories and opportunities within the sector. This is the first time a Network have developed a site like this and believe it will strengthen their work and increase participation from community members across the region. The website can be viewed here: www.nhg.org.au
NHG Network Manager Antonia Halloran-Lavelle said “During the pandemic the Network became stronger than ever and, recognizing the unique differences between what each House provides, wanted to improve access for communities. If the House in your local community is not offering opportunities that meet your need then have a look at what other Houses within the region are offering. Community members can walk into any Neighbourhood House and be met with a warm welcome and access their services.”
The website was launched during Volunteer Week in recognition of the significant contribution volunteers make to the sector. Speaking at Phillip Island’s Community & Learning Centre (PICAL) Antonia said “the variation of volunteer opportunities within Neighbourhood Houses is incredible, they are the backbone of the sector. Opportunities will be advertised on the website as well as showcasing the fantastic work undertaken by volunteers”.
A Wurruk Community House volunteer, Jade Bradley, was awarded the prestigious 2021 Victorian Social Housing – Frances Penington Volunteer Award on Thursday (5 May 2022), at an award ceremony held at Victoria Parliament House.
Jade was nominated for her invaluable work with the delivery of the original ‘Wurruk Community House Foodbank Outreach Program’ in the first year of Covid.
Then last year, when our community demand outstripped capacity with the outreach program, and we successfully gained charitable status, Jade worked tirelessly setting up and in-house delivery of the Wurruk Food Pantry, which was achieved in record time.
The Wurruk Food Pantry is a vital service, delivering much needed food relief for the community of Wurruk, as well as a way for many community members to connect with their community house and other community members.
Receiving this prestigious award acknowledges and recognises Jade’s fabulous contribution to Wurruk Community House.
We’re super proud of Jade and our wonderful team of volunteers!