This week's highlight - NEVCOP training in Beechworth - 7th July.
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News from the Network 

Exciting times at Corryong Neighbourhood Centre

Upper Murray Community Bakery, the new social enterprise run by the Corryong Neighbourhood Centre, will be opening on July 1st.

Social enterprises are run as commercially viable businesses, but with the purpose of generating social impact in their community. Importantly, the profits made from the business are reinvested back into the community.

"The bakery is the ideal business for us to start a social enterprise scheme in Corryong" said Michael Leonhard and Sara Jenkins, joint CNC Coordinators. "The bakery is a long established business, it is the only one of its kind in the town and the premises are right next door to our offices".

Michael Leonhard with former bakery owners Gary & Bev Hogg

The CNC has been able to purchase the business with funds loaned by Social Enterprise Finance Australia (SEFA). SEFA offer a wealth of experience and advice and flexible lending arrangements. 

"We decided to start the business because demand for our services and activities is increasing, but funding is decreasing," said Michael. "We needed to create a sustainable source of funds that can be utilised to meet the needs of our community.

"Initially, profits will be used to repay the investment and support the CNC operations, then over time additional funds will be available to sponsor and develop other social enterprise initiatives and community projects." (Photo and extracts of article from Corryong Courier, 11/6/2015.)

Exciting times indeed for Corryong Neighbourhood Centre - congratulations on a great initiative!

Information about social enterprises can also be found at Social Traders.

Spotlight on Network members

Don't forget - we are on the lookout for your stories to share. What are you doing at your House that you are really proud of? Why not share it with other members? Send an email to Trish at with a paragraph or two (and a photo if possible!)

Conflict. It’s all around us

(from Groupworks Institute of Australia)

Yet, for many of us, facing conflict is terrifying - we do everything to avoid dealing with it!
So what can we do when we find ourselves embroiled in conflict?
Listening to understand
At Groupwork Institute we define conflict as ‘a difference of opinion with strong emotions attached’.
Resolving conflict is all about dealing with the emotional component of that difference of opinion.  And one of the most powerful ways we can do this is through good reflective listening.
We call this listening to understand and the key ‘magic ingredient’ is reflecting back the essence of what we’re hearing. Why? Because checking in on what we’re hearing allows us to unearth key pieces of information or feelings we may be otherwise unconsciously blind to.
When we reflect back, we might say something like: “Are you saying that I talk over the top of you and you feel like I undermine what you say…?” If we’ve got it right, the other person will actually be encouraged to say more because they’re feeling heard.
And that’s the alchemy of transformation right there: feeling heard. When we’re not feeling heard, part of us doesn’t feel valued – it can trigger old responses and we can go into a ‘downward spiral of defensiveness’ that manifests as strong emotion.
Giving the gift of validation
The entrenched conflict starts to soften immediately as we begin to hear more context and see how we were missing key pieces of the puzzle and jumping to conclusions.
This is what we would call the micro-skill of validation.  It's where the listener puts all their energy into understanding the speaker’s experience and feelings. Remember – this is not agreeing with them! Validation helps open up the connection between the people involved: “So you’re feeling frustrated by the way we’ve been communicating lately”.
The power in vulnerability
With great listening comes a greater sense of safety and trust and eventually someone will step across the vulnerability threshold and risk something of themselves.
Revealing weaknesses is the last thing we think we should do when we’re in conflict because there is such a strong pull towards protecting ourselves.  And it can take a lot of courage for a person to risk the shame of revealing a mistake or weakness.
But revealing a mistake via an apology for something that didn't go well is an irresistible cue for others to drop their guard. It’s almost impossible to stay defensive when someone else is dropping their armoury in front of us.

There is something about our shared humanity - we are constantly on the look out for moments to re-connect with other humans. Saying sorry is one of those moments.
Great working environments are created when we (re)discover the art of talking openly, honestly and with a willingness to see our own part in any situation.

This piece was contributed by Steve Ray, one of Groupwork's senior facilitators. If you'd like to learn more about the Groupworks Institute of Australia click here.

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Coming up

Next UMRNHN Network meeting: 8th September at Yarrawonga Neighbourhood House.

Time Lapse Video Workshop
Training workshops have been organised for the afternoon of 11th August in Wangaratta and the morning of 12th August in Wodonga. Stay tuned for an email with more information.


NEVCOP Mini-Conference
Hosted by Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre on Tuesday July 7th, starting at 10am.The one day session is FREE and will feature workshops on MailChimp, Making the most of Google and how to facilitate an on-line classroom. 

For further information and to book online click here:

In brief

Community Safety Grants of up to $10,000 are now available to community groups and organisations, and local government to support local crime prevention initiatives. Application close 4pm on Friday 10th July. Click here for more information.


Don't forget your ANHLC membership is up for renewal. As with last year, it will be an online renewal process. Look out for the email from ANHLC with instructions. 


Don't Panic! An emergency planning kit for neighbourhood houses has been developed in Barwon Region. Click here to find out more.

Community development
Street by Street - do you know all the people in your street? What would your community - and the world! - be like if everyone was connected and helped one another, and made amazing things happen? This is the vision of Street by Street. Find out more here. They're currently looking for Community Connectors - maybe a role for you and your House?

Bank of I.D.E.A.S. - this organisation, run by Peter Kenyon, produces a really good newsletter, focusing on initiatives for the development of enterprising actions and strategies. Click here for more information and to sign up to the newsletter. 
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