Council Support to Neighbourhood Houses

Council Support to Neighbourhood Houses Policy Document No: CPL295.4
Approval Date: 24 June 2008
Approved By: Council
Review Date: 24 June 2011
Responsible Officer: Paul Jamieson, Community Development Version No 01
Authorising Officer: Chief Executive Officer

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to communicate Council’s support to the Neighbourhood Houses within the City of Greater Geelong.

Council recognises and supports the benefits to local communities of Neighbourhood Houses in relation to Council’s role in facilitating the development and strengthening of local communities. Council identifies Neighbourhood Houses as a significant contributor to community development.

This policy is underpinned by the community development principles of access, equity, participation, rights, partnership and diversity. This policy will be reviewed in line with changing needs of the communities in the City of Greater Geelong, State Government Neighbourhood House Policy or on a three year basis.

2. Scope

The policy extends to Neighbourhood Houses in the City of Greater Geelong that are funded through the Victorian State Government Neighbourhood Houses Coordination Program.

The policy recognises emerging Neighbourhood Houses meeting the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program eligibility guidelines as per Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) Neighbourhood House Coordination Program Requirements (page 5, DPCD 2007) (Attach 1).

3. References

  • Neighbourhood House Coordination Program, Victorian State Government, Department of Victorian Communities 2006.

  • Community Development Policy, City of Greater Geelong.

  • CASIA Neighbourhood Centre (NSW) Policy Manual.

4. Definitions

Neighbourhood Houses and Community Learning Centres were first established in Victoria during the 1970s. The organisations grew from the grass roots responding to local community needs bringing people together, providing an informal non-threatening and nurturing environment that supported individualised learning.

Reflecting their diverse historical beginnings Neighbourhood Houses are called by a variety of names including Community Houses, Community Centre, Living and Learning Centre, Neighbourhood House, Neighbourhood Centre and Learning Centre.

For the purpose of this policy the Department of Planning and Community Development identifies the following elements as common to Neighbourhood Houses.

  • Neighbourhood Houses aim to enhance the social and economic development of communities and run on principles of inclusive participation, community empowerment, life-long learning and active citizenship.

  • Neighbourhood House programs aim to enhance the social and physical well being of local communities by working with local residents to promote and develop their ability to be self-determining and self-reliant.

  • Neighbourhood Houses are not for profit organisations where available funds are combined with a strong volunteer base to respond to community needs, aspirations and priorities. Each Neighbourhood House is a legal entity or auspiced by a legal entity with a formal membership base. Neighbourhood Houses are governed by voluntary Committees of Management.

  • Neighbourhood Houses focus primarily, but not exclusively, on the geographic community in which the House is located.

  • The Neighbourhood House role in local communities includes community education, advocacy, social action, networking with local agencies, information provision and gathering, opportunities for community management and social research and planning.

5. Council Policy

It is Council policy to support Neighbourhood Houses in the following ways:

  1. Provision of financial assistance via an annual funding and service agreement to the neighbourhood houses located within the City of Greater.

  2. Consider, via Council resolution, funding emerging Neighbourhood Houses which meet the State Government’s Neighbourhood House Co-ordination Program Eligibility Guidelines but may not yet be in receipt of State Government operational funding.

  3. Financial support to the Regional Neighbourhood House Network provided via an annual funding and service agreement.

  4. Where possible provision and maintenance of facilities at peppercorn rental according to the lease documentation.

  5. Support to the individual Committees of Management.

  6. Advocacy on behalf of Committees and the neighbourhood house program.

Council recognises and supports the benefits to the community of Neighbourhood Houses in providing programs, services and venues for community development as well as avenues for informal support and opportunities for resident participation in the planning and delivery of services at a local level.

This policy recognises the ongoing community development role Neighbourhood Houses play at a local level and has been developed to provide guidance in the support of Neighbourhood Houses.

Council will work in partnership with Committees of Management to develop and resource local communities.

Support to Neighbourhood Houses has a dual benefit that underpins the concept of community building. It provides avenues for Council to communicate with and enhance local communities as well as enhancing the Neighbourhood Houses ability to work with local residents to meet their needs.

Recognition of new Neighbourhood Houses will occur on receipt of funding through the State Government Neighbourhood House Coordination program or a Council resolution recognising the new Neighbourhood House as meeting eligibility as per Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) Neighbourhood House Coordination Program Requirements (page 5, DPCD 2007) (Attach 1) or updated Neighbourhood House Guidelines.

6. Quality Records

Quality Records shall be retained for at least the period shown below.

Record Retention/Disposal Responsibility Retention Period Location
Individual Neighbourhood house Annual Reports Corporate Records Permanent as per Public Records Office Schedule Corporate Records
Annual Service Agreement Corporate Records Permanent as per Public Records Office Schedule Corporate Records

7. Attachments

  • Neighbourhood House Coordination Program Requirements DPCD 2007

Page last updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2017