What we do Advocacy Advocacy priorities An important role of Neighbourhood Houses Victoria is to advocate on behalf of the Neighbourhood House sector to achieve outcomes that: protect the future sustainability of the sector ensure Neighbourhood Houses are considered and/or included in future policy decisions provide Neighbourhood Houses with opportunities to reach their potential as community development leaders Here are the some of the key areas where we prioritise our advocacy efforts and project work: Neighbourhood House Coordination Program and other funding streams Most Neighbourhood Houses receive core funding through the Victorian State Government’s Neighbourhood House Coordination Program (NHCP). Our aim is to ensure this funding adequately matches the cost of service delivery. We also advocate for Neighbourhood Houses who do not currently receive NHCP funding to become NHCP funded. We also seek other avenues which brings funding into the sector through project partnerships and grant programs. Adult education Around 180 Neighbourhood Houses provide adult community education that is subsided through the Adult Community Further Education (ACFE) Board. These organisations are known as Learn Local providers, offering pre-accredited training and support to vulnerable learner cohorts. Around 40 of these are also Registered Training Organisations which offer accredited training. Our aim is to ensure operating adult education is sustainable for Neighbourhood Houses, and ensuring all Victorians have access to affordable, alternative and flexible training options. Early childhood services Around 90 Neighbourhood Houses provide early childhood services such as childcare, kindergarten and after hours care. In an area subject to frequent regulatory and funding changes, ensuring the needs of small providers are considered in decision making is important across both federal and state authorities. Loneliness and Mental Health Loneliness and social isolation are leading causes of poor mental health in our communities. Neighbourhood Houses should be recognised as places that combat this important issue, by providing inclusive social and recreational activities and volunteering opportunities. Environment sustainability We support community action on climate change and Neighbourhood Houses adopting sustainable practices in their programs and general operations. Digital literacy As society becomes more and more reliant on digital technology to connect, accesses services and conduct business, we need to ensure that certain cohorts of our community, such as older people or people with disabilities, don’t get left behind. Poverty and disadvantage This includes advocating on areas such as food security, pathways to employment and training, access to financial wellbeing services and advocating for improved rates of Government income support. Gender equity Being a sector which is predominately female-dominated, Neighbourhood Houses have the potential to be leaders in their communities for gender equity. This includes continuing to support women in leadership roles, people experiencing domestic violence, and participation of girls and women in activities traditionally occupied by men.