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Change of date: Next Network meeting is on 29th November at Quercus Beechworth

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News from the Network - October 2016

In this edition:

Our Hume Region Learn Local Legend announced!
New gallery opens at Trudewind Rd Neighbourhood House

Member news

Learn Local Legends!



Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre is the Hume Region's most recent Learn Local Legend.  Nominated by the Adult Community and Further Education (ACFE) Hume Regional Council, the nomination recognises the outstanding contribution made by MNC to their learners and community.
 


Coordinator Jill Graham was accompanied by three proud members of MNC's committee to the awards ceremony held at Collingwood Town Hall during Adult Learners' Week on September 8th.

“Being selected as a Learn Local Legend is a great honour," said Jill, "and a fantastic acknowledgement of our commitment to providing engaging and relevant learning opportunities for people in our community”.

Congratulations to Jill and her team!

 

Gallery opening at Trudewind


Trudewind Rd Neighbourhood House's new gallery is open for business, and looks great. The team were busily setting up when I visited the house the week before the opening night (Tuesday 4th October) and proudly showed the wonderful artwork and craft that is available for sale.

"The gallery is a social enterprise," said Coordinator, Sue Lees. "Trudewind has a big arts program, and the gallery gives our artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work.

"Trudewind also benefits because we receive a commission from each sale."


The opening night was attended by over 70 people, with many pieces sold on the night. For more information call Sue on 02 6024 3950.



 






New Coordinator at Pangerang


The Network gives a very warm welcome to Tennille Hall, the new Coordinator at Pangerang Community House. Tennille has a background that includes finance, business and community development. We look forward to meeting Tennille at our November Network meeting.

 

Thought provoking forums at Yack


Yackandandah Community Centre is half way through its series of six community forums funded by the FRRR. The fourth forum, held earlier in October, was on "Dying with Dignity" and the speaker was Dr Rodney Syme. Dr Syme has been much in the public media with an appearance on Q&A in November 2015 with Andrew Denton, and on Australian Story in March of this year. It was an exceptionally interesting forum with good attendance and lots of great discussion. 



The next forum will be on internet addition, with speaker Dr Philip Tam. Great to see one of our Network members taking a strong lead in tackling difficult community issues - well done Yack!

 

Farewell to Tanya


We said goodbye to Tanya Grant at our September Network meeting. Tanya was the coordinator at Pangerang Community House for over seven years. She has been a wonderful contributor to the Network, and to the sector more broadly with her recent work on the NHVic Board.


Thanks Tanya - we'll miss you, and wish you well in your new Community Development role with Anglicare.
 

New DHHS Community Participation Officer

Jade Bickley is the new Community Participation Officer-Local Connections for DHHS Ovens Murray, operating out of Wodonga. Jade is looking forward to visiting all the Houses in Towong, Wodonga and Indigo. She can be contacted on:
Phone: 02 60557862
Emails: jade.bickley@dhhs.vic.gov.au

 

Grants


Grant writing tips
Writing grants can be a pretty frustrating and thankless task, especially if you are not getting a high success rate. Here are a few tips for getting started that just might help:
  1. Read the guidelines! It might sound obvious, but it's amazing how often hours of work will be put into a grant application only to find it has missed addressing important criteria, or not included required information - or missed the point entirely!
  2. Make sure your organisation is eligible to apply. DGR status is one to look out for. If in doubt, contact the funder.
  3. Check and note the closing date, and any other critical dates (eg information sessions). I'm a great one for 'working under pressure' (ie leaving things to the last minute) but I do know that the best applications are the ones that are not done in a rush, and have enough time for good editing (rather than pushing the 'submit' button 2 minutes before it's due....)
  4. Identify any evaluation criteria and weightings. This will highlight the areas of most interest and concern to the funders, and where you need to put in the most work.
  5. Make sure your project fits the criteria. If in doubt, contact the funder. 
  6. Research the funder. Does your project align with the funder's own values and objectives? Will your project help the funder achieve their strategic objectives? This is particularly important if you're applying for philanthropic funds.
  7. Identify an editor/critical friend. It's useful to know up front if there is someone (it can be a person external to the organisation) who is prepared to read through the application to ensure it answers all the relevant questions, and that it makes sense.

For the Committees

Is your committee getting the information it needs? Make sure you're forwarding this newsletter to all your committee members!

Collective Agreement


Has your Committee made a decision about whether or not your House will sign up to the Collective Agreement? Time is running out! Coordinators discussed some of the concerns raised by committees at our last Network meeting, particularly in regard to tutors employed for one-hour programs. Is this something your committee has considered?

NHVic need notification of the motion to be part of the Agreement by 17th October. 

Information about the sign-on process can be found here.
 

Financial Health Checks


Profit and Loss Reports and Balance Sheets only tell you part of the financial story of your organisation. What other measures and tools do you as a committee use to ensure your house has good financial health? How do you know the right questions to ask about your financial reports? How engaged are you in the discussions at your meetings about the financial reports?

My own experience on the board of a large Learn Local provider is that you can never be complacent, and that you really must understand what you are looking at when you review the financial reports.

Contact me for information about doing a Financial Health Check to run 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'.

You might also be interested in attending our financial reporting workshop on November 15th at Birallee Neighbourhood House. Check the section below on what's coming up.

Network Coordinator contact details:
Trish Curtis, Network Coordinator
Phone: (03) 5766 6111
Mobile: 0408 839369
Email: umrnhn@bigpond.com

Good Governance Principles for Committees and Boards


How is your committee travelling? Do you feel that your committee works well together, and adds value collectively to your Neighbourhood House?

Being on the committee of a neighbourhood house means people need to have a good understanding of their role as a committee member, as well as having some understanding of the business of the house. My view is that you are better to have a smaller committee made up of engaged, informed people than a large committee just to make up numbers.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has developed the Good Governance Principles and Guidance for Not-for-Profit organisations. They apply to any NFP, regardless of sector or size. The full Guide can be found here

In the last newsletter we outlined the first part of Principle 2, which looks at the Committee/Board composition. Here is a summary of the second part of Principle 2.

Principle 2: Chair's role and relationship with Coordinator

The chair's role is pivotal to how effective the committee/board is. One of the main tasks of the chair is to be the liaison between the committee and the coordinator. Other roles include:
  • chairing committee meetings and annual general meetings
  • developing the agenda in consultation with the coordinator
  • leading the recruitment of new committee members
So, what are the attributes of a good and effective chair? These might include some or all of the following:
  • provides overall effective leadership that enhances the effectiveness of the committee
  • has the confidence of the committee
  • can develop and maintain a productive working relationship with the coordinator
  • has a good understanding of the house's purpose and operational challenges (without being involved directly with the operations)
  • has the skills to ensure the committee works as a cohesive team
  • can conduct committee meetings effectively
A core part of the committee's role involves appointing and supervising the performance of the coordinator. This will often be the role of the chair, although some organisations have a subcommittee for this purpose.  

The chair will often be the sounding board for the coordinator, and should have regular contact.

Some circumstances may also mean the committee must terminate the coordinator's employment. The chair may be nominated as the person to lead this, depending on their experience and confidence in managing the situation, but it should always be done in close consultation with the committee.
 
Next month we will look at Principle 3, which is about Purpose and Strategy. 
 

Network update

There's plenty going on across the Upper Murray Region Neighbourhood House Network. My role as the Network Coordinator remains difficult to squeeze in to the 10 hours/week, so focusing on our Strategic Plan helps to keep me on track (sort of!)

Here are some of the things I've been doing and working on:
  • Financial Health Checks: I've done a few of these checks now. One of the participating houses reports that they found it a very useful exercise, and great to have another perspective on their financial position. The results were positive; however, the check showed a couple of areas where the discussion helped to clarify the way things were reported. 
  • Membership to North East Local Learning and Employment Network (NELLEN): This LLEN covers Towong, Indigo, Alpine and Wodonga. The Network is now a member, and I was also invited to become a Board member, which the URMNHN agreed would be useful. Most of our Network members are located in the NELLEN coverage area, so this is an opportunity for us to raise the profile of these houses and the sector more broadly, with other stakeholders including schools, job services providers and TAFEs. There is already considerable interest in the contribution that Neighbourhood Houses can make to projects that the NELLEN is involved with.
  • Governance Discussion: I attended a governance discussion forum run by the North West NHN (Judy Lazarus). There were four very thought provoking presentations, and lots of discussion, about different models of governance. There was a strong focus on shared governance. For those houses that have and do struggle with getting sufficient numbers on the committee, there's lots to think about in this area. Our Network is planning to host a follow up forum, in partnership with GNEACC, in February next year.
  • NH Collective Agreement: UMRNHN will be a signatory to the 2016 Collective Agreement. The Committee passed the motion to this affect at the August Committee meeting.
  • Community Development Action Plan: UMRNHN is one of 16 Networks across the State. The Network Coordinators meet about every 6 weeks. These meetings give an opportunity to identify and discuss statewide issues, as well as provide support for each other as Networkers. We are currently working on a Community Development Action Plan that we feel will help to embed CD into the sector, which has four Action Areas. I am part of a working group looking at how we measure the impact of the CD work we do. 
  • Support for houses: Part of my role is to support Coordinators and Committees of Houses in the Network. I am currently updating our Coordinator Induction Kit, and it has been invaluable talking to some of the newer Coordinators in our Network about what would have been helpful for them when they started in their role. Once complete, the kit will be available on our website.
  • Attendance at AGMs:  Attending AGMs is a great way for me to get to know your House and your Committee. Don't forget to add the Network Coordinator to your AGM invitation list!
  • Member meetings:  We had to cancel our June Network meeting due to low numbers. I understand this is the first time it's happened - oh no! I want to make sure that our meetings are relevant to what is going on in your House. If you have any suggestions about making them better, don't hesitate to give me a call or send an email!
  • Risk Policy and Plan for Network: The Committee is currently developing a Risk Policy and Plan for the Network. If you would like any help with developing or updating your own plan, let me know.

 

Ideas and innovations


Community gardens change lives 
 
                                                                                         
There are a number of houses in our Network that have a community garden - some are just getting started and some are large and flourishing. Community gardens and urban agriculture projects are a powerful way for people to connect with others for healthy, enriching experiences in their neighbourhoods. Shareable Weekly recently invited their readers to share their photos and stories about their community gardening experiences. Click here for more information. 
 

Street by Street - Street by Street is a national project aiming to turn streets into communities and foster an Australia-wide network of neighbour groups.

If you are fortunate enough to live with a sense of community, where you know the people that live near you, share experiences and help one another, then you’ll probably agree, your life is richer for it. For many neighbourhoods though, this type of connection isn’t happening naturally. The Street by Street Project is here to help people build better connections with neighbours, so that more people can feel a sense of community. They’d like to see connecting with neighbours become the norm across Australia, and for people to feel happier, safer and more supported as a result. They see regular, informal social get-togethers as the pathway to creating community.

Neighbourhood Houses are great at facilitating connections. Street by Street might be a great way for you to encourage connections within neighbourhoods in your community. Click here and here for more information.
 

Library of Things - Imagine going into a neighbourhood shop to borrow tools, kitchen appliances, camping gear, party supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments, and more. You wouldn’t have to buy, repair or store infrequently used items. You’d have access to a much wider variety of goods than you could ever own, and you could easily share things with neighbours. This is the idea behind a Library of Things. 

And more than just access to stuff, Libraries of Things typically build community by offering classes and a place where people can share not just things, but also ideas and skills. The best Libraries of Things start out building a place to borrow and share things, and end up building a community. Click here to find out more.
 

Feeling hemmed in by too much stuff?  Statistics about clutter are sobering. There are 300,000 items in the average American home; 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage; 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them; and the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily!

Decluttering can lead to less stress and more focus on what really matters. It can also help connect you with others if you share, exchange or gift your extra stuff. Click here for 17 tips to help you declutter your home, office, garage and life. 
 

Book borrowing on the go! Some of you have book swaps at your houses. Here are some other innovative ideas about sharing books. Contradicting the notion that books are only found in bookshops and brick and mortar libraries, people are creating all kinds of clever ways to share books on the go. From book bicycles and camels to DIY bookmobiles, mobile libraries are a great way to connect people and grow communities around a love of reading. Click here to find out more!

Coming up


The next UMRNHN Network meeting is on Tuesday 29th November at Quercus Beechworth (note: this is a change from the previously published date). The agenda includes:

  • Member update - what have been the highlights and challenges for your centre? Share the highs and lows and debrief amongst colleagues who understand!
  • Presentation of Network data - how you can use this for your own marketing and lobbying
What ideas do you have for our November agenda? Click here to let me know.

 


"Numbers aren't my thing" - Financial Training Workshop
This workshop, hosted by UMRNHN - your Neighbourhood House Network, has been designed for managers, coordinators and committee members - anyone who needs to be able to read and understand financial reports, and make appropriate decisions based on what they're telling you!

Date: 15th November
Time: 9am (for 9.30 start) to 5pm (lunch, morning and afternoon teas included)
Venue: Birallee Neighbourhood House, Emerald Court Wodonga
Cost: $75 per person
 


 

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria AGM 
Last year's NHVic AGM was a great event, and I expect that this one will continue the trend. Keep your eye on the NHV eBulletin for more details about what the afternoon has in store. Nominations are also open for the NHVic Board of Governance.

  • Date: Monday 7th November
  • Time: 1pm onwards
  • Venue: Library at the Dock, 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands
 


Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) workshop
Interested in learning more about how to use the ABCD approach to build and strengthen community from the inside out? This workshop will provide participants with the theoretical grounding to shift the mindset from 'client' to 'citizen' and motivate residents to start asking the right questions about what they can do for themselves and their community. The workshop will be facilitated by Jim Diers.

I participated in an ABCD workshop with Jim, and it was a fantastic learning experience. I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested in deepening their understanding of community development. Click here for more information and to register.

Date: Thursday 13th October
Time: 9am to 1pm
Venue: Sunbury Neighbourhood House, 531 Elizabeth Drive, Sunbury
Cost: $150 + GST (includes lunch)

 

Risk Leadership workshops
VMIA are running a series of risk leadership workshops in Wangaratta, Albury and Shepparton in November. The three events are all half-day and include morning tea and lunch. The workshops are hands-on and cover a variety of difference topics. They mix critical thinking techniques with risk management practice and theory in a Victorian government context. A must for coordinators, managers and committee members.

Click here for more information. 
 

Engage for Impact Masterclass
Do you play a leadership role in a cross sector collaboration that seeks to drive significant change in your community? Do you want to improve the way your collaboration engages businesses, citizens and people in the community? Then this masterclass is for you. 

Date: Friday 4th November
Time: 9am to 5pm
Venue: To be confirmed
Cost: $375 + GST
 

Resources

 

Financial Health Checks

Your Neighbourhood House Network now provides financial health checks. These are confidential checks by the Network Coordinator which can give an indication of any 'red flags' that might need some follow up. Click here for more information.



Child Safe Standards

Do you run programs for children at your centre?

Children have the right to feel safe and be protected from sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Victorian law requires organisations that work with children to meet the Child Safe Standards by 1 January 2017.

The Commission for Children and Young People can help organisations to meet the Child Safe Standards and create a culture of child safety. To help, they have produced a suite of resources, including a guide and tip sheets.  Click here to find out more.

 

Neighbourhood House Coordination Program Guidelines 2016-2019 and sector information

Have you downloaded your copy of the new NHCP Guidelines? You can find them here.

The Guidelines tell you what you need to be doing to meet your NHCP contractual agreement.

 

AGM coming up?

If you report on a financial year, your AGM will be coming up. You can find some quick tips from the ACNC on running your AGM here. Not-for-profit Law also have great resources available for NFPs, including reporting and meeting information, on their Information Hub.
 

Collective Impact

Collective Impact is a framework to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. It is an innovative and structured approach to making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organisations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change. 

Neighbourhood Houses are in an ideal position to take up the Collective Impact framework because they:
  • are independent
  • are close to their community
  • have strong community networks
  • receive recurrent funding (NHCP)
To find out more about Collective Impact, click here.

 
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628 Upper Ryans Creek Road
Upper Ryans Creek, VIc, 3673

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Upper Murray Regional Neighbourhood House Network · 628 Upper Ryans Creek Road · Upper Ryans Creek, Vic 3673 · Australia

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