Residents call on council to support Docklands Neighbourhood House
A group of Docklands residents launched a petition in November in support of Docklands Neighbourhood House’s efforts to secure vital gap funding of $50,000 necessary for it to continue its operations during the first half of 2023.
Located at The District Docklands, Docklands Neighbourhood House (DNH) has played an integral role in supporting our local community since initially launching as a pop-up in late 2019 thanks to initial support from the City of Melbourne.
Since funding from the council finished in late 2021, its operations have been funded by Development Victoria (DV), which provided $162,000 to allow the space to remain open until the end of 2022.
DNH is operated by not-for-profit organisation The Centre, which has supported community in North and West Melbourne for 40 years. In a submission made to the council’s community grants and partnership framework 2022-25 tabled at the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on September 20, its director Ariel Valent called for DNH to be supported with long-term funding.
Mr Valent said DV had made it clear that its funding for DNH was not ongoing, and that it expected it to be funded like any other Neighbourhood House, “principally through support of both state and local governments”.
Addressing councillors again at the November 8 FMC meeting in response to the Docklands Summit report, Mr Valent said the council’s community grants and partnerships framework provided a pathway for potential funding from July 2023.
However, he said this left a funding gap from January to June in 2023 and called on the council to provide a “relatively modest investment of $50,000” to allow it to continue its “community strengthening work in Docklands”.
“In September, the City of Melbourne provided a pathway for potential funding helping to facilitate a variety of events and programs including weekly social fishing excursions, yoga and Pilates, children’s programs including arts sessions and playgroups, repair cafes and cultural celebrations including the Hindi festivals of Holi, Navratri and Diwali,” Mr Valent said.
“This investment of $50,000 is money well spent as it will allow continuity of staffing at DNH and will allow DNH to work closely with City of Melbourne to ensure the council’s short-term priorities for the Docklands community are delivered.”
The community, led by the Docklands Road Safety Group, made up predominantly of families from Docklands Primary School, last month initiated a petition in support of DNH’s request for gap funding, describing its work as “vital” in the local area.
“Community without a heart does not have a soul. Docklands community has been missing one for a very long time. We do not want to lose it again,” the petition stated.
“We are appealing to our local council to find resources to ensure continuation of the Docklands Neighbourhood House activities without interruptions as it will be detrimental to the wellbeing of the community.”
“We are asking the council to make it urgently a priority! We can’t lose the DNH in January to June in 2023.”
Speaking at the November 8 FMC meeting, Docklands resident Cr Jamal Hakim paid tribute to what DNH had done in Docklands, and assured Mr Valent that the council continued to explore funding mechanisms to support its work. •
Caption: Docklands Neighbourhood House's Jason Butcher.