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Neighbourhood House Week “Stronger Together”

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From May 13 to May 19, over 1000 Neighbourhood Houses across Australia will be celebrating Neighbourhood House Week.

This is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the invaluable contribution Neighbourhood Houses make to their local communities, empowering people to unite and achieve community goals. In Victoria, there are over 400 Neighbourhood Houses, with 14 of these Neighbourhood Houses located in the Shires of Buloke, Gannawarra, Swan Hill Rural City and Mildura Rural City and together they form the Mallee Neighbourhood House Network.

Neighbourhood Houses are known by many different names including community centres, resource centres and learning centres, but regardless of the name, they are all a trusted and vital part of their local communities. And although each house is different, they are all the same: the heart of their local communities striving to embody the essence of togetherness. Hence, this year’s theme for Neighbourhood House week, “Stronger Together”. Neighbourhood Houses bring people together from all walks of life and provide opportunities for them to be connected and engaged in a local community that is strong, vibrant, resilient and a fun place in which to live, learn, play and work.

Through collaborative initiatives, inclusive programs and shared spaces, they cultivate an environment where every voice is heard, every story is valued, and every member contributes to the vibrant mosaic of our shared community. “Stronger Together,” acknowledges the incredible strength that results when individuals unite for a common purpose. Helen Keller wisely said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Our local Neighbourhood Houses epitomises this on a daily basis. Whether it is assisting locals through extreme events like Covid-19, floods, bushfires, droughts and other community disasters, organising activities that reduce social isolation, offering lifelong learning classes that improve the skills and digital literacy of community members or raising awareness of societal issues that impact on our health and well being. Neighbourhood Houses are central to bringing people together, providing information, support and referrals. Some of our houses in Buloke are agents for government providers like Centrelink and VicRoads. Others have foodbank, LDAT (local drug action team), emergency relief and youth rooms.

What they all do, is provide a resource for local community members and communities to address issues relevant to their individual needs. To embrace the “Stronger Together” theme Neighbourhood Houses in Buloke (Birchip Neighbourhood House, Charlton Neighbourhood House, Donald Learning Group, Sea Lake Neighbourhood House and Wycheproof Community Resource Centre) are extending their celebrations out over two weeks to combine their activities with celebrations happening for National Volunteers Week, Biggest Morning Tea, Law Week and other relevant local events.

Call into your Neighbourhood House and find out what “acts of togetherness” they have on offer. Whether it is a shared meal, a collaborative project or just a friendly chat, together we will explore the incredible strength that comes when we stand side by side.

The Buloke Times 14 May 2024

This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 14 May 2024.

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