Protecting an important local space

Protecting an important local space
Ellen Sandell

It was such a pleasure to visit Docklands Neighbourhood House (DNH) recently.

I chatted with DNH director Ariel, and the community development officer, Jason, who both told me about all the great programs run by the Neighbourhood House, including “Mums and Bubs” yoga and morning tea, homework club, art and dance classes, Pilates, women’s advocacy group and men’s skill share sessions. They also have a relationship with Melbourne Community Toy Libraries (another great local initiative that I’ve been supporting) to provide afternoon tea play sessions for kids of all ages.

With all the great work they’re doing, it’s really concerning to hear that they are at risk of closing in July due to a lack of ongoing funding. They have been able to secure some stop-gap funding from the City of Melbourne to keep doors open until mid-year but after that their future is uncertain.

Neighbourhood Houses are such important spaces for bringing our community together. I’ll be advocating strongly to the state government and the council for ongoing funding for Neighbourhood Houses to ensure that Docklands doesn’t lose this important resource.

Funding for Neighbourhood Houses and community centres is reviewed really irregularly and can be a little complex to navigate. Sometimes a Neighbourhood House might be waiting years before they can apply for, or access, any funding from the government. I’m advocating to make this process simpler, to make it easier for our local organisations to get the funding they need to support the great work they do.

Do you love the Docklands Neighbourhood House? I’d love to hear from you. To chat about this, or anything else, please get in touch at [email protected]

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