Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has welcomed funding to support local Neighbourhood Houses in this year’s State Budget.
The 2018/19 Victorian Budget has earmarked $21.8m for the Victorian Neighbourhood Houses program, with three houses in Shepparton District now eligible for increased funding to bring them in line with others in the region.
Nathalia District Community Association, the Numurkah Community Learning Centre and Tatura Community House are each eligible for an additional 260 funded hours a year – a boost of $14,760 in their annual funding.
Ms Sheed said she met with representatives from all six local Neighbourhood Houses earlier this year to hear their concerns about the lack of appropriate funding and other matters and had raised the issue with the Victorian Government.
“Neighbourhood Houses do such positive work in our communities, and it was disappointing to see that their financial support from Government was so adhoc,” Ms Sheed said.
“While all the six houses in our electorate provide a large range of services, their funding provision varied considerably.”
“Following those meetings I raised these concerns with the Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, and the Treasurer, Tim Pallas, and urged the Government to consider an immediate funding boost in this year’s Budget.”
Ms Sheed said it was important for the work of Neighbourhood Houses to be appropriately recognised.
“The scope of services provided by Neighbourhood Houses in our communities is extensive, and often far beyond what you might expect,” Ms Sheed said.
“In addition to more mainstream social, educational, childcare and health services, in small towns the co-ordinators and volunteers often pick up the work that other organisations are unable to offer.
“Some of that work can really be quite challenging, such as working with local police to support victims of family violence in crisis, enabling community members to meet their commitments in relation to Corrections Victoria and Work for the Dole programs, or transporting people to medical appointments.
“The contribution of Neighbourhood Houses in our electorate is invaluable, and I am so pleased to see their work acknowledged with this additional funding.”
The year’s Budget also includes funding for an additional 4,800 hours per year for mobile neighbourhood house networkers, allowing them to spend more time with individual house to improve access to key services and activities.
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│firstname.lastname@example.org