Next Network meeting is on 8th September 2016 at Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre

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News from the Network - August 2016

In this edition:

Exciting new event at Felltimber Community Centre
Trudewind Neighbourhood House's new community garden.

Member news

Garden makeover at Trudewind

Trudewind was approached by the facilitator of a Horticulture Certicate 4 course that had been running from a venue in Wodonga, without access to a garden!

The course is now being held at Trudewind each Thursday. They do a combination of classroom time and then work in Trudewind's Community Garden.  "Thursdays are manic and we’ve had to shuffle groups around to squeeze everyone in," said Sue Lees, Trudewind Coordinator, "but it's a good problem to have."

"It’s a ‘Win win’ situation.  Everyone’s happy…. And the garden is looking great!" 

Before the makeover

After the makeover. The work continues to progress.
To find out more about what's happening at Trudewind Road Neighbourhood House click here

Opening of Tallangatta Community Centre

Towong Shire Council is very excited to announce that Tallangatta Community Centre and Library was officially opened on the 6th of August by Parliamentary Secretary Danielle Green. 

The opening was well attended by the community, who also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the towns move from old Tallangatta.

The new building includes a new library, kindergarten, child care and maternal and child health office, meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen and community activities space.

"The Community Activities Space will host two programs in coming weeks and we look forward to further activity in the space to build strong resilient community and to support lifelong learning opportunities," said Lou Newman, recently appointed Community Development Officer for Towong Shire.

Information about the centre can be found here.

Food swap at Birallee

At Birallee there is a great sharing of resources, ideas and knowledge which does not stop at their garden gate! They now hold a regular daily Food Swap at the Neighbourhood House, seeking to encourage all backyard gardeners to swap or exchange food and plants with others in the community.

Says Sue Slater, projects manager, "By sharing food and information in this way, we seek to increase the social and physical involvement of those who may be isolated, and as we reduce wastage of oversupply or excess backyard produce, we can give a helping hand to those of us in the community who may not yet have the skills or means to grow food for themselves. Check out  for pictures and more information on what we do.”


Way to Go!

As part of an ACFE-funded Capacity and Innovation Fund project, Trudewind Rd NH has been working to build partnerships with other Learn Locals in the Wodonga area.  

They have been working with the Volunteer Resource Bureau to develop a volunteer management course called Way2Go, which will be delivered at Trudewind in term 4. There have also been some get togethers with Felltimber CC, Baranduda CC and Bandiana NH. One of the aims of doing this is to look at what's involved with ACFE-funded pre-accredited delivery, to try to get more pre-accredited delivery locally.


Your Learning Pathway

Your Learning Pathway is an alliance of Learn Local organisations in the Wangaratta region: King Valley Learning Exchange, Open Door Neighbourhood House, Pangerang Community House, and The Centre for Continuing Education.

The vision for the alliance is to create connections between Open Door, King Valley, Pangerang and The Centre to enable learners throughout the region to access learning pathways that lead to increased confidence and capability to embrace further formal learning and/or meaningful employment opportunities. 

A Career Development Officer helps learners work through their own personalised career and learning pathway to set goals, develop a plan, and build confidence.

To find out more click here.

Grant opportunities

ANZ Seeds of Renewal - closes soon

The ANZ Seeds of Renewal Program, which has been running since 2002, demonstrates ANZ’s belief in vibrant, sustainable rural communities. The program focuses specifically on supporting education and employment initiatives that support local economies in rural, regional and remote areas, with consideration given to projects that benefit communities with a population of fewer than 15,000 people.

Through the Seeds of Renewal program, ANZ commits at least $250,000 which is distributed through grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations for projects focused on these areas.

Closing date: 26th August 2016

Does not require DGR status.

Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA)

Rural, regional and remote areas have an ageing population, just like the rest of Australia. The difference however is that often there aren't the extensive facilities necessary to care for aged residents in their local communities.  

Fortunately this situation is changing over time, but greater investment is required to enhance, and in some cases create, these facilities.
Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) is a targeted grant program, designed to support projects and activities that benefit and support older people living in small rural and remote communities.  
Grants are available for eligible projects and activities that: 
    • Help redress disadvantage caused by remoteness;
    • Enhance aged care services and facilities;
    • Build community capacity for aged-friendly communities;
    • Foster community development through opportunities and participation for older people; and / or
    • Encourage positive and active ageing, community health and wellbeing, and education programs.

Does not require DGR status.

Mary MacKillop Foundation Community Grants 

The Mary MacKillop Foundation (MMF) Community Grants program partners with organisations who support Australia’s most vulnerable and marginalised people to improve their lives through education in all its forms. Eligible organisations may apply for grants of up to $10,000 to deliver innovative and practical projects that assist people who have been pushed to the margins of society through poverty and disadvantage. By participating in these projects, individuals build skills and gain knowledge to improve their engagement with the community and take advantage of life opportunities. The MMF Community Grants Program seeks to empower those in need to take control of their lives and to build a better future for themselves and their communities.
Community Grants Priorities Community projects supported by the MMF Community Grants Program include projects that:
  • Strengthen skills, knowledge and capabilities for self-sufficiency
  • Improve engagement and participation in the community
  • Enhance spiritual and emotional wellbeing
  • Provide support for self-help action for those in need.

Examples of projects that have received funding previously include: 
a mobile library that provides reading classes for young people living in disadvantaged communities;
  • hospitality and cooking classes for refugees and asylum seekers;
  • work experience and mentoring opportunities for Indigenous young people; 
  • a parenting program for dads in prison; 
  • art and music classes for people isolated from the community due to having a disability.

Closing date: 9th September 2016

For the Committees

Collective Agreement

The Collective Agreement sign on process has begun. There is a two-month window of opportunity for Committees to sign up to Agreement. 
The Collective Agreement should be an agenda item for discussion as a matter of urgency. Houses missed out on being signatories in 2010 because they didn't allow enough time for consideration by committee and staff.

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

(From the NHVic website)

The Neighbourhood Houses and Adult Community Education Centres Collective Agreement 2010 has been renegotiated on behalf of the sector with staff represented by the Australian Services Union and the National Tertiary Education Union; and management committees/governance boards by employer bodies, Jobs Australia and ACEVic. NHVic facilitated the negotiation meetings and has been crucial in pulling the new Agreement together. 

Why consider signing on to the new Agreement?

The new Agreement will replace Awards and older versions of the Agreement (2007, 2008, and 2010). It aims to provide the best possible terms and conditions for staff balanced with the ongoing viability of the organisation. The Agreement also aims to be a key industrial relations resource for the sector. It is a more comprehensive document than the awards, which only refer to a specific range of matters, leaving employers with the responsibility of informing themselves and keeping up to date with a range of industrial legislation such as long service leave, superannuation and occupational health and safety requirements.

All Neighbourhood Houses and Networks, regardless of whether they are currently on awards or one of the older versions of the Agreement, will have the opportunity to sign on to the new version of the Agreement.

Negotiations have been completed, and the sign on process has commenced. Information about the process can be found here.

Good Governance Principles for Committees and Boards

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, working on other projects, and my own role as Chair at The Centre for Continuing Education in Wangaratta - that the organisations 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 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. 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) have developed the Good Governance Principles and Guidance for Not-for-Profit organisations. They apply to any NFP, regardless of sector or size. 

Each principle will be summarised in our forthcoming newsletters. The full Guide can be found here

Principle 2: Committee/Board Composition

To be effective a committee needs the right group of people, with an appropriate mix of skills, knowledge and experience (e.g. professional backgrounds, sector experience, local community and business networks) that fits with your organisation's objectives and strategic goals. Committees which have an appropriate and diverse mix of skills and experience will be less likely to engage in “group think” or to have “blind spots” and they will be better equipped to deliver value and respond to challenges that may arise. It can be tempting to head-hunt new committee members that you believe will "fit in" with the rest of the committee; however, the risk is that the group will be unchallenged and become complacent, and not remain alert and aware of other - and potentially better ways - of doing business.  

So how diverse does your committee need to be? Committees should carefully consider what form and level of diversity is appropriate for their organisation’s circumstances. Ideally you will have a group of committee members that together comprise a range of skills and experience that will best assist your organisation achieving its goals. As such, personal qualities and behavioural skills are necessary considerations, as well as background and skills.

Some particular skills sets might include:
  • Strategic expertise – the ability to guide and review strategy through constructive questioning and suggestion.
  • Managing people and achieving change.
  • Accounting and finance – the ability to read and comprehend your accounts, financial material presented to the board and some understanding of the organisation’s financial drivers/funding and business model.
  • Legal – the committee's responsibility involves overseeing compliance with numerous laws as well as understanding an individual committee member's legal duties and responsibilities.
  • Managing risk – experience in identifying and managing organisational risk.
  • Specific NFP/neighbourhood house knowledge – passion for the cause, experience in similar organisations, sectors or industries.

Some committees use a skills matrix to identify what skills exist amongst their members. If this feels like it may be too much, it would still be valuable for committee members to think about and agree on the type of skills and personal qualities that will meet the organisation’s needs. It's also critical that committee members have a good understanding of the time commitment required for their committee role, and be able to give sufficient time and effort to the role to ensure they can deliver the benefits of their commitment and skills and effectively fulfil their legal duties and responsibilities.

Some questions for consideration
  • Is there a well-defined and transparent process for committee/board recruitment, including nomination and selection?
  • Has consideration been given to how the committee/board is composed (and/or refreshed)?
  • Are potential committee/board members able to commit the time required for their role?
  • Does your organisation have policies and procedures relating to the retirement or removal of committee/board members (eg limited tenure)?
Principle 2 will continue in the next newsletter, and cover the role of the Chair, and the relationship between the Chair and the Manager/Coordinator. 

Network update

The UMRNHN AGM was held in April. The new Committee is:
  • Chair: Ali Pockley (Yackandandah Community Centre)
  • Deputy Chair: Trish Dixon (Mt Beauty Neighbourhood Centre)
  • Treasurer: Karen Ramsay (Bandiana Neighbourhood House)
  • Secretary: Debbie Cooper (Yarrawonga Neighbourhood House)
  • Jude Doughty (Quercus Beechworth)
  • Amanda Crisp (Felltimber Community Centre)
  • Kathy Cohalan (Baranduda Community Centre)
A big thank you to retiring Committee members Sue Lees and Tanya Grant. It is great to see three new members step up into the committee role.

Upper Murray Regional NHN website was launched at the AGM. The website can be found here.

Attending AGMs is a great way for your Networker to get to know your House and your committee. Don't forget to add the Network Coordinator to your AGM invitation list. Click here - it's easy!


Ideas and innovations

How can you use technology to improve community engagement? 

"Studies show that a community's sense of belonging is directly connected with their ability to understand and help shape the vision for their community. Increasingly, citizens are looking less to their elected representative to create change in their communities. They want to be involved in creating the change themselves. They want to be engaged."

This paper by Lisa Attygalle discusses how new technologies are lending fresh perspectives and putting power back into the hands of communities. You can find it here.

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 8th September at Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre. On the agenda:

  • Member update - what have been the highlights and challenges for your centre? Share the highs and lows and debrief amongst colleagues who understand!
  • Collective Agreement - will we, won't we?
  • Presentation of Network data - how you can use this for your own marketing and lobbying
  • Supervision - do you have a formal supervision or mentoring arrangement? What are the benefits?
What ideas do you have for our November agenda? Click here to let me know.


The Future of Communities: People to the People Conference

This event will be held 14-15 September, 2016 in Melbourne. Mark the dates of this popular annual Conference, jointly organised by the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Bank of I.D.E.A.S.

For more details contact Peter Kenyon (Bank of I.D.E.A.S.) or John Hennessy (MAV).


Learn Local Conference - Learning from the Past: Planning for the Future

Date: Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st August
Venue: Rydges Melbourne CBD, 186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

This two-day conference will provide an opportunity for Learn Local organisations to reflect and share the successes of the sector, network and participate in professional development opportunities. 

The conference is funded by the ACFE Board and is designed to support and develop the work of Learn Local organisations. Featuring a keynote presentation by Mr Peter Kenyon, the engaging program will focus on the theme; Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future. 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.


AGM coming up?

You can find some quick tips from the ACNC on running your AGM here.

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.

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

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