Community needs addressed with funding increase
With the promised funding increase of $27.8 million over four years to the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program (NHCP) the hardworking ANHLC campaign committee and its supporters can relax. The more ‘realistic’ funding is a lifeline for those Victorian Neighbourhood Houses funded for less than 15 hours per week.
The increase in funding was announced at the May 2006 ANHLC Conference by Minister Candy Broad. The $27.8 million package announced includes an additional:
- $16.5 million to fund a 35% increase in hours so Houses can offer more courses and activities;
- $10.2 million to increase the hourly rate for program coordination by 25% to $38 per hour;
- $943,000 for the 16 Neighbourhood House networks;
- $89,000 for the peak body, the Association for Neighbourhood Houses & Learning Centres (ANHLC).
The Dept for Victorian Communities accepts the position that:
- ‘Community Strengthening’ is in fact provided by a number of important elements – the community, the coordinator, the building, the partnerships with other community organisations and the neighbourhood itself;
- Community Development work is an essential component of the provision of House activities.
- There needs to be specific funding provision for coordinators’ salaries and related costs.
Minister Broad said “Neighbourhood houses connect people with their communities. For example, they offer isolated mums in the suburbs the opportunity to meet with each other, develop friendships and learn new skills….
We are continuing to invest in key services, in important infrastructure and in our greatest resource, people….
Neighbourhood houses are a key element in developing stronger communities and we plan to explore opportunities for more local community links with neighbourhood houses.”
Congrats to all parties involved on a promising outcome.