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Gateway to community services

04 Dec 2019

Gateway to community services Image

By Meg Hill

A new investment in Docklands aims to “fill the gaps” in community service for the growing community and its vulnerable.

The North and West Melbourne Neighbourhood House – “the Centre” – was granted $136,000 from the City of Melbourne to kickstart a Docklands branch in May.

Staff said they became aware of a need as Docklands grew and vulnerable Docklanders started frequenting the Centre on Errol St in North Melbourne.

“We realised there wasn’t enough service providers in Docklands and people had to step out of their local area to get the help they might have needed,” said community development worker Carolynne Venn.

“We don’t want to suggest that Docklands has a stigma or a lot of problems, but it’s just like most places and with its relatively recent and unique development there are gaps to fill.”

The Centre has been helping and developing its community for over 40 years. They run educational programs, community programs, social groups, awareness campaigns, counselling, employment services and more.

They’ve even run their own local newspaper for 20 years.

The Docklands pop-up opened on November 19 in its temporary home at The District.

“We’ll be at The District for at least six months, but then we will probably share the love across Docklands.”

“The funding we’ve received from the City of Melbourne will last until 2021 and we need Docklanders to get involved to solidify a permanent status for us in Docklands.”

Ms Venn said that new arrivals were a big priority in Docklands due to the high number of migrant workers and international students in the area.

The Neighbourhood House has also become aware of a lack of amenities and support services for other marginalised communities in the area, including the disabled, LGBTQI+ and the homeless.

“There’s probably not a lot that we don’t do, that’s the reality,” Ms Venn said.

“We have an impressive list of courses, events, festivals, services – but we’re also not exclusive to the things we’ve already set up.”

“If someone tells us they’re after a specific service, experience or course we will do our best to provide it.”

“Basically, we want to be Docklands’ gateway to community services, and we want to be a voice for the people who are voiceless.”

She said she had been “on the ground” in Docklands since July gathering information about the area and establishing a presence.

“We’ve been engaging with some local residents and workers, meeting with local stakeholders and organisations.”

But they need Docklanders to get involved for the project to ultimately be successful and remain a permanent fixture in Docklands.

“This pop-up is for Docklanders and we need Docklanders to volunteer to help us make it a success for them,” she said.

“If they want to see a Neighbourhood House in Docklands this is an opportunity to come and see what that would look like, give us ideas and suggestions and be a part of making it real.”

The pop-up Neighbourhood House is currently open 10am – 3pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at The District.

If you’re interested in volunteering or would like any further information contact Carolynne Venn on 9328 1126 or (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

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