Next Network meeting is at Mt Beauty NH on             24th November
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News from the Network

In this edition:

Tanya on NHV Board
NHV AGM - Philanthropy in Action
Art in Wodonga
Writing awards at Corryong
Launch of Quercus Beechworth
Sharing a meal at Pangerang
For the Committee
Network update
Ideas and Innovations
Coming up
Manager Jude Doughty gives a speech at the launch of Quercus Beechworth. 
Patrons enjoy the opening of Trudewind's 2015 art exhibition, 'Facets', held at the Creators Artspace in early November.

Regional rep on NHV Board

Congratulations to Tanya Grant, Coordinator at Pangerang Community House, who was recently elected onto the Neighbourhood Houses Victoria (NHV) Board at the November AGM. Tanya brings a wealth of experience as a regional neighbourhood house coordinator. 

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to be part of the NHV Board," said Tanya. "I think it's important to be able to contribute a rural and regional perspective. I'm really looking forward to the challenge!"

Tanya also recognises the benefits of being on a statewide board in terms of her own professional development, and what she can bring back to the Network and region.
Neighbourhood Houses Victoria Annual General Meeting
The new name of our peak body (formerly Association of Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres) was officially launched at the Annual General Meeting on November 9th. The meeting opened with enthusiastic and energetic music and singing from a Chinese group from Springvale Community Centre.

After the business of the AGM (including the announcement of our own Tanya Grant as one of the new Board members!) there was a panel discussion with representatives from three philanthropic foundations (Australian Communities Foundation, RE Ross Trust and Gandle Pilanthropy).

They had some really key messages for any organisation looking for funding from philanthropics:
  • do your research
  • contact the fund to discuss your project and your eligibility - most prefer that you do this; the dialogue is critical to the success of your application and they are generally happy to provide guidance

New art exhibition opens in Wodonga

Trudewind Road Neighbourhood House  held its second annual art exhibition, 'Facets', in early November as part of Seniors Celebrations. The exhibition was held at Creators Artspace on Lincoln Causeway in Albury Wodonga.

Twenty-one members from Trudewind's six weekly art classes and groups exhibited seventy-one works. "Not surprisingly it took us two days to hang!" said Trudewind Coordinator and local artist, Sue Lees.  
"It was a great opportunity for everyone to experience preparing their work for exhibition and to meet people from other groups at the opening night while volunteering their time during the exhibition's opening hours.

"It was also a great way to showcase the art groups and classes held at Trudewind.The standard of work was amazing! Next year we will try for a bigger venue!"

It was a busy time of year, with a garage sale held at Trudewind in late October as a fundraiser. Sue is thinking about how she could design pre-accredited programs around these kinds of events in 2016. 

Writing awards at Corryong

Do you remember the Silver Brumby books, written by Elyne Mitchell? They some of Australia's best loved children's books, set in the mountainous terrain around Corryong. 

Corryong Neighbourhood Centre coordinated the Elyne Mitchell Writing Awards in October. 

"We were really pleased with the number of entries," said Coordinator Sara Jenkins. 

Trish Curtis, UMRNHN Networker, was one of the judges this year. "I didn't quite know what to expect when I volunteered," she said. "The standard was incredibly high, and being a judge was a really enjoyable experience. I'm hoping I can do it again next time." 

Coordinating events is a great way to raise your centre's profile in the community.

Quercus Beechworth is born!

Quercus Beechworth (formerly Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre) was launched at a community event in early November.

"Being responsive to Beechworth community interests has led to our focus on 5 key areas: Community Food, Community Learning, Community Enterprise, Community Events and Community Support," said manager, Judy Doughty.
Chairperson, Ian Smith, opens the formal proceedings 
With new branding and a fresh new website, Quercus Beechworth is ready for an exciting 2016.

Sharing a meal at Pangerang

Pangerang Community House is one of several houses in the Network that run regular community meals. Pangerang's fortnightly community lunches bring people together to share ideas, cooking experiences, budgeting ideas and good company. 

Pangerang charge a small fee ($5) and the lunches are open to everyone. "All sorts of people come along, there's a great feeling of community," said Tanya Grant, Coordinator. 

If you're running a community meal, we'd love to hear about it. How much work is it? What benefits are you seeing? Send an email with some information and I'll get in touch.


For the Committee

Neighbourhood houses and Learn Locals may not be big profit-making entities, but by and large they are complex businesses, with a moderate to high level of risk associated with them. 

I am noticing more and more - in my role as a Networker, and through other projects I'm working on - the centres that are thriving and most likely to be sustainable have a well-informed and engaged committee or board, and strong collaboration between the committee and the manager/coordinator. Centres where the committee is not engaged or informed, but are just a 'rubber stamp', are at much greater risk.

Being on the committee of a neighbourhood house or learning centre 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 centre. 

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

In each of the next ten newsletters, each principle will be summarised. The full Guide can be found here
1. Roles and Responsibilities

Committee members are most likely to be effective in their role if they are clear about their responsibilities, how the committee works, and the operations and finances of the organisation.

Many centres find it hard to get committee members; however, it is unwise to simply have people join the committee out of good will (or coercement) without them having some idea of what will be expected of them.

As well as the requirements under law (for example, the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012, OHS legislation), the organisation will have its own constitution or Model Rules that will inform committee members of their role.

No-one expects committee members to have the same detailed knowledge and understanding of the operations and finances of the organisation as the manager/coordinator. However, they should know enough to be able to govern effectively, for example oversee risk, oversee the financial sustainability, set strategic direction and manage the coordinator/manager. 

Some questions for consideration:
  • are the roles and responsibilities of the committee and the management clearly set out in the Model Rules/constitution?
  • are committee members fully aware of their duties and what is expected of them?
  • do new committee members receive an induction regarding the organisation, their role/responsibilities, and conflict of interest parameters (particularly important if a committee member is also a volunteer or staff member)
  • does the committee have a charter and protocols that help define its role and set out particular types of decision
  • does the charter cover how the chairperson and committee are expected to work with the manager/coordinator?
  • are the chair and manager roles clearly defined?
  • are there clear documents delegations of authority from the committee to the manager/coordinator?

Network Update

Governance is one of the areas where there'll be particular focus over the next six months. I have presented information to a couple of groups (committee and staff members) showing the various funding streams, which has been well received. An induction kit template is currently being developed and should be available by the end of the year.

Ideas and innovations

Creating neighbourhoods - street by street!
Street by Street is a national project aiming to turn streets into communities. It aims 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.

As a neighbourhood house you're in a great place to be a 'community connector' and to support your own volunteers and staff to be connectors in their own street. There are free resources available from the Street by Street website to help you get started. 

Gardening programs in time for spring - Wodonga Library are running a range of interesting programs including Companion Planting, Managing Fruit Fly, Growing Vegetables from Seed, Seed Saving from the Vegie Garden, and Edible Weeds. If you have a patch of ground at your centre that could be used as a demo site, these sorts of programs could create a lot of interest.

Social media to promote programs - Jill Graham, coordinator at King Valley Learning Exchange (KVLE), has a great example of how social media can really work for you, particularly if you are promoting classes/activities that would appeal to young people. 

KVLE had scheduled a Food Handling course over the school holidays. They were looking for more enrolments to fill the class, and asked one of the young people associated with the organisation to post something about it on their Facebook page. "It went viral!" said Jill. "The word spread very quickly amongst the young people in the area, and we ended up with a full class."

Do you have any good examples of using social media? Send me an email with more information!

Random Acts of Kindness - this is what "community" is all about! No act is too small or too big - pay for a coffee, help carry groceries, volunteer for a day or say hello to a neighbour. There's a RAK in Albury Wodonga -

Bequests to community houses - a group of neighbourhood houses in the Mallee area are considering developing a flyer that highlights the benefits of bequests for neighbourhood houses. Is this something you've considered promoting for your house? It is a way for people in the community to leave a lasting legacy after they have died.

Hackerspaces - are the latest in a long tradition of community spaces that offer opportunities for informal learning. Hackerspaces, sometimes called makerspaces or fablabs, are places where people gather to invent, create, learn, and support each other through creative DIY. These spaces are open to anyone who wants to work on DIY technology or creative projects. Check this website for more information.

Coming up

The next UMRNHN Network meeting is on 24th November at Mt Beauty Neighbourhood House. Come and celebrate the end of the year with colleagues and friends, with catering provided by Mt Beauty's cafe enterprise. 

NEVCOP Final wrap up and feedback:
Have your input into the future directions of the North East Victoria Community of Practice. Join the Eastern Metro managers in the afternoon for a session with life coach, Karen Main.

When: December 7th, 10am-5pm
Where: The Foothills Conference Centre, 48 Edinburgh Rd, Mooroolbark.

here to register, or email Sally for more information.

Developing Alliances Workshop
Leanne Fitzgerald, Manager of Coonara Community House, has been a key element in the development of the Knox Learning Alliance, a partnership between five neighbourhood houses in the suburb of Knox.

Leanne will share her experience in a 2-hour workshop in Benalla, as part of the Hume Leads project. For more information, or to book in, email Trish at or phone                   (03) 5766 6111

When: December 10th, 12-2pm (including lunch)
Where: The Centre, Benalla - 85 Nunn Street (parking available in Denny St carpark)


Community Garden visits - Albury Wodonga
There's one more visit this year to community gardens in the Albury Wodonga area, arranged by the Hume Murray Community Gardening Collective. 

  • 16th December: Bangum Community Garden
Go to the website for more information.

Wangaratta Community Food for All
The Community Food for All Network is currently undertaking a feasibility study on a community food hub for Wangaratta. Feasibility consultants, Dr Jennifer Alden and Dr Nick Rose, will be facilitating a workshop to explore the food hub concept for the Rural City of Wangaratta.

This is an exciting opportunity for anyone with an interest in food from paddock to plate to have a say on how the food hub may work in our municipality. The aim is to reduce food waste while providing access to nutritious and affordable food and increasing food knowledge and skills.

When: Thursday 26th November, 10am-12.30pm
Where: Tower Restaurant, GOTAFE, Docker St Wangaratta 

Volunteers needed!

The Office of the Public Advocate is in desperate need of volunteers in the Upper Murray region. 

Volunteers are needed to visit people in the who are living in supported accommodation facilities. There are a lot of facilities in the Upper Murray region which house people with disability who are not being safeguarded because we do not have enough volunteers. 

For more information, contact Di Cahill, Volunteer Coordinator, Office of the Public Advocate, (03) 9603 9514, 1300 305291,


Working with other organisations - New Information Hub Guide

Justice Connect (NFP Law) has a number of useful resources. The latest guide, Guide to Working with Other Organisations, is designed to help organisations understand the different arrangements they can use to work together, and the legal issues they should consider before doing so. Click here for more information and to download the Guide.

Partnership Resource

The Learn Local Partnership Support Package has just been released by the ACFE Board. Based on extensive consultation with a large number of Learn Locals experienced in partnerships, the package contains specific guidance materials and resources you can use when establishing formal partnerships. Click here to access the package.

Elder Abuse Toolkit

Do you provide services for elderly people? The Upper Hume Primary Care Partnership has developed a toolkit which ensures that the people who care for or work with older people have a clear and accountable process to follow if a situation of abuse is suspected or occurs. Click here to access the Toolkit. 

Don't Panic!

An emergency management planning kit for neighbourhood houses is available here. Neighbourhood houses are increasingly seen as leaders in community resilience and local emergency management. This kit will help you manage your own risk as well as strengthening your relationship and profile with key stakeholders in the community.

Our mailing address is:
628 Upper Ryans Creek Road
Upper Ryans Creek, VIc, 3673

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