New funding for neighbourhood houses

23 May 2018 Mansfield Courier, Mansfield VIC (General News) THE Andrews Labor Government is delivering record new funding to neighbourhood houses across Victoria to support their staff, volunteers and the local communities they serve. As part of the 2018/19 Victorian budget, the Labor Government will invest $21.8 million across the neighbourhood house network so that more families can access the activities and services they need and want, closer to home. Upper House member Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) announced King Valley Learning Exchange in Moyhu, Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre, Myrtleford, Bandiana Neighbourhood House, Bandiana, Tallangatta Neighbourhood House, Tallangatta, Trudewind Road Neighbourhood House in Wodonga, Yackandandah and Community Centre Incorporated, Yackandandah, are eligible for an increase, which would take their total of funded hours from 20 hours to 25 hours per week, which will annually provide an additional 260 hours per centre. The budget investment includes a boost to coordination hours, with an extra 76,700 hours to be delivered each year to more houses across the state. Ms Symes said Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, made the announcement to mark the start of Neighbourhood House Week, which ran until May 6. The funding boost will also allow mobile neighbourhood house networkers to spend more time with individual houses to improve access to key services and activities across the system. As a result, theyll get an additional 4500 hours working with individual houses. An estimated 188,000 people visit a neighbourhood house or use their services every week. The Labor Governments record investment in extra coordination hours is almost eight times more than what was delivered under the previous Liberal Government. It will ensure neighbourhood houses can continue to provide the vital childcare, employment, training and volunteering services people need. We back neighbourhood houses theyre the heart of any community, including here in Northern Victoria, Symes said. This is a boost that will have a real impact on all those connected to neighbourhood houses, whether it be their staff, their volunteers or the people that visit them. Neighbourhood Houses Victoria chief executive officer Nicole Battle said each week almost 200,000 Victorians visit a neighbourhood house theyre about communities not buildings. This is a much-needed investment that will ensure we support even more locals, whether its with a warm meal, life skills and advice or just a friendly space for them to relax, she said.