Funding puts valley learning on course

01 Aug 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Anita Mcpherson Neighbourhood house expands services to Whitfield community THE King Valley Learning Exchange is one of 162 neighbourhood houses across Victoria set to benefit from a State Government funding boost. The centre, which operates from the Masonic Lodge in Moyhu and recently established a second campus at the Whitfield Childcare Centre, will receive extra funding of $14,760 a year, increasing its funded hours from 20 to 25 hours a week. Its part of a $21.8 million injection by the State Government over four years designed to bring the selected neighbourhood houses in line with others providing 25 hours per week of access to training, health and wellbeing activities, life skills and volunteering opportunities. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) said it was a great boost for Northern Victoria with more than half the houses to get extra funding located in regional Victoria. Neighbourhood houses are a vital part of our country towns, providing an array of programs servicing their communities, she said. From gardening lessons to IT training, theres always support, advice and a helping hand to be found at neighbourhood houses it is wonderful to be able to increase their funding. King Valley Learning Exchange coordinator Jill Graham said funded hours have gradually increased from 10 to 20 hours since it first started around six years ago, with the increase to 25 hours a week now bringing it into line with similar centres in the region. She said the additional funding would allow another person to be employed to help deliver services to the wider King Valley community, having recently set up a suitably equipped space in Whitfield. This will be really good for us, because we can now get a person to help us deliver services in Whitfield, she said. Its been a really slow project but we have finally got an internet service connected, and we will now be able to offer a half day service on a Monday and Friday and gradually extend on that. Ms Graham said the King Valley Learning Exchange offered classes including tailored IT training, Broadband for Seniors, first aid, responsible service of alcohol (RSA) and food safety training, and help with researching ancestry. She said providing free assistance to local residents at tax time, and teaching digital literacy to older Australians, were areas where there was always great demand. More information on the services offered is available by visiting www.