Funding gives Docklands Neighbourhood House the capacity to do “a lot more”
In an exciting turn of events, Development Victoria has provided the Docklands Neighbourhood House with $162,000 in funding to allow the community space to remain in its place until at least the end of 2022.
Under the operation of not-for-profit group The Centre, the Docklands Neighbourhood House has continued to provide a dedicated space for the community, although a lack of funding has limited their contribution.
“This funding means we can now embark on a lot of the planning that we have had in place for a while,” Neighbourhood House community development officer Jason Butcher said.
It means we can actually do a lot more now rather than just talk.
Currently in discussions with others involved in the Neighbourhood House, Mr Butcher said they were in the process of putting together a framework to work out what their objectives were for the area.
Special attention will also be given to the voices of the community with a “co-designing” method being the plan of attack.
“We want to talk to people in the community and get them involved in co-designing and co-owning a lot of what we are doing and that’s pretty much the only way we can go about it,” Mr Butcher said.
The concept of working directly with the community is of major importance to Mr Butcher, and following the success of the Holi Festival they hosted in March it seems to be the most beneficial way to go.
“We had a lot of community involvement in the Holi Festival and it came off perfectly. A lot of that was because the community knew it was by them and for them and they were the focus of it, we were celebrating them,” he said.
“All we can do is keep demonstrating that we are a useful part of the community infrastructure in Docklands. So, hopefully we have good results from [community] conversations.”
The Centre director Ariel Valent said funding would provide a benefit to the community.
“This is excellent news for the Docklands community,” Mr Valent said. “Thanks to the support of Development Victoria, we look forward to working more in partnership with local residents to bring their aspirations to fulfilment.”
Noting the importance of community spaces like the Docklands Neighbourhood House, Development Victoria’s Group Head Precincts Geoff Ward said supporting community services and not-for-profit operations was a priority of Development Victoria’s.
“We’re delighted to financially support The Centre and see it continue a range of educational, learning and social activities in the community for another 12 months,” he said.
In addition to providing funding, Development Victoria has also extended its licence with Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, the peak body for neighbourhood houses which is housed in Victoria Point (adjacent to Marvel Stadium), allowing the organisation to operate with certainty until 2026.
This decision has given Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO Nicole Battle some reassurance going forward that they can continue to make a positive impact on the community.
“Neighbourhood Houses connect people to their local community, provide access to a range of supports, and give people the opportunity to get involved and participate in community life,” she said.
“It’s wonderful that Development Victoria sees the importance of the work we deliver, and their support is invaluable.” •
Photos: Murray Enders.