This page contains resources to assist you to successfully capture the information required to complete the 2021 Neighbourhood House Survey. 

This survey is compulsory for all NHCP-funded neighbourhood houses.

If you have any queries, please contact Neighbourhood Houses Victoria's Policy and Research Manager David Perry at [email protected]

Revised timeframe

  • Data collection period: 2 August 2021* to 15 August 2021
  • Survey opens: 16 August 2021
  • Survey closes: 22 August 2021

*New start date due to the extended lockdown.

Online check-in sessions

Based on a popular suggestion made during the information session, we will be holding some check-ins via Zoom. These provide an informal chance to ask any questions you may be having throughout the data collection period.

There's no need to register for these, simply log into Zoom at:

11am on Wednesdays 21 July, 4 August, 11 August

using the following details:

Zoom link
Meeting ID: 817 8390 1863
Passcode: 872254

Here are recordings of the check-ins:

Information session

This information session conducted on Wednesday 14 July takes you through the Excel data collection tool and the survey questions, and answers many queries.

Survey PDF - draft use only

The PDF version of the Neighbourhood House Survey is provided for draft use only. It will enable you to work out and record your answers before you complete the survey online. You may also find it useful: 

  • if you prefer to print the survey and write down the answers before entering them online 
  • if you need to ask others in your organisation to answer certain questions 
  • to have all the answers pre-prepared so you can complete the survey online more quickly and with fewer interruptions that often occur in neighbourhood houses

We have made the PDF fully interactive so you can tick the checkboxes etc. 


Please remember, if you use this PDF version, you must still manually transpose your answers into the online survey using the SurveyGizmo link we will email to you on 16 August. 

Please also note:

  • To ensure you can save any changes you make in the pdf file it is advisable to have the latest version of a PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat Reader available free here
  • The PDF is an abridged version of the survey which excludes some administrative information, e.g. your postcode, that will be pre-filled when you enter the survey online. You will be able to correct any errors in the pre-filled information at that time. 
  • The PDF version also includes questions you may not be asked online depending on your responses to some questions. For example, you are only asked the questions in the 'Location Changes' section if you indicated in the previous question that you changed your location. To assist, we have noted on the PDF if you are directed to skip or complete specific questions.  

Collection and calculator tool

Designed to make life easier, this is an Excel spreadsheet you can use to record and tally much of the data required for the survey. It assists with questions about: 

  • Volunteers 
  • Program sessions 
  • Governance hours 
  • Participants  
  • Activity hours 
  • Services 
  • Material relief 
  • Room hire 

Other tools

This year’s survey requires collecting data over a four week period. There are a number of tools designed for counting available free on the web or for mobile devices. These may be useful for collecting some data over the collection period. Each has capacity to tally multiple things at once.

Computer based



Support desk

  • Unique individuals: Refers to an individual who attended regardless of the number of times they attended. E.g. if Jill Bloggs came in once a week over the four-week collection period she is still counted as one individual
  • Attended: means physically attending at a Neighbourhood House or any of its program delivery sites 
  • Visits: Is the number of attendances where every instance is counted including multiple attendances by a unique individual. 
  • Programmed Neighbourhood House activities: All activities run by or for your Neighbourhood House both face to face and online. Exclude room hire activities that are purely commercial and were not sourced by the Neighbourhood House to meet a local need 
  • Open or Open to the public: Means a staff member or volunteer is present assist anyone entering and requiring a response to an enquiry, enrolment in an activity, etc. It does not include when people are using the facility but no staff member or volunteer is available to assist with enquiries etc.
  • Normal: Refers to the absence of COVID-19 restrictions
Click on the question you require assistance with:

21. For the collection period, approximately how many unique individualsATTENDED the Neighbourhood House? (include volunteers, students, children in childcare, people from other organisations who meet at the House/Centre and drop-ins) 

E.g. if Jill Bloggs came in once a week over the four-week collection period she is still counted as one individual.  

The Department recognises that Neighbourhood Houses seldom have the required software and systems for enrolling all participants in a single database that may be able to ascertain this. Your best estimate will suffice if you do not have dedicated systems in place.  

22. For the collection period, how many VISITS were there to your Neighbourhood House? If an individual visited four times in the collection period count that as four visits.

This can be thought of as counting total movements into the Neighbourhood House such as an automated counter would capture. It doesn’t matter who the participant is they are counted each time they visit. 

23. For the collection period, how many people participated in programmed Neighbourhood House activities including online activities? 

This question asks you to estimate the number of people who participate in programmed activities at the House/Centre in an average week. Include here students, children in child care, members of regular groups such as craft or recreational activities, etc. but not drop-ins or people from other oganisations who meet at the House/Centre. 

Be sure to include participants in all online activity.  

24. For the collection period, approximately how many unique individuals participated in the following types of activity run by or for your Neighbourhood House? Include all activity types that an individual participated in e.g. if a person attended a social group and a exercise class add them in both categories.

Choose the categories that best fit the types of activity people participated.  

If someone attended an exercise or health eating class, they should be categorised as attending an “Exercise / health class” NOT a “Course or class” because it bests fits their activity. 

If someone is only entering to ask about a possible course or about another service in the area, this can be counted as “Use a service”. 

If someone attended a health class and used the public computer access this would be counted as an “Exercise / health class” AND “Use a service”. 

If someone attends every Monday for art class and every Thursday for an exercise class this would be counted as 1 in the ‘course or class’  category and 1 in the ‘exercise / health class’ category.

25. For the collection period, for how many hours per week was the Neighbourhood House generally open to the public and: 
a)Staffed by paid staff?
b)Staffed by volunteers when paid staff were unavailable?

For example, if the paid coordinator works 4 days per week but the House is kept open five days per week through volunteer effort, the figures might be: staffed by paid staff = 30 hours; staffed by volunteers = 7.5 hours. If the coordinator works more hours than they are paid for, or granted time off in lieu for, this should be reflected as ‘staffed by volunteers’. 

‘Open to the public’ means a person can walk in off the street and receive a response to an enquiry, enrol in an activity, enjoy a cup of tea, etc. It does not include when people using the facility but no staff or volunteer is available to assist with enquiries etc. 

The figures in each of the two questions may not add up to the same number of hours as some Houses/Centres may be in use for more hours than they are staffed. Houses may also be in use after hours or on weekends without being open to the public. 

Support desk 1

  • Activity hours: does not include purely administrative or managerial tasks e.g. room hire, taking bookings, paying bills, attending ordinary committee meetings etc. It does include time spent on any of the following - click here. 
Click on the question you require assistance with:

27. Please record the number of different program/activity SESSIONS (NOT hours) you delivered face to face or online during the collectionperiod. e.g. you run two playgroups; one runs twice a week for the 4 week collection period [8 sessions], the other once a week for 4 week collection period [4 sessions]: total for playgroups is 8 + 4 = 12

You are encouraged to use the program activity calculator to work out your answer to this question. The calculator will also use the information you enter to help you answer the question re activity hours that occurs later in the survey. 

This question is asking about the number of sessions run not the number of hours each session runs for. You will be asked about ‘hours’ later in the survey. 

To answer this correctly the sessions must: 

  • Only include activities that are run by and for the House/Centre or activities brokered in by the House/Centre. For example if a yoga teacher approaches the Neighbourhood House to hire a room on a commercial (for profit) basis and collects fees from participants themselves this is not a Neighbourhood House activity. However if the neighbourhood house found a yoga teacher to teach at the house/centre because people requested this activity and the teacher preferred to pay room hire collect fees from participants themselves this can be included as the house organised the activity and the room hire was simply the most practical financial arrangement between the House/Centre and the teacher. 
  • Not include activities that are run on your site by another organisation where they are simply using your room to deliver a service or as part of a partnership arrangement. Partnerships are covered in a different section of the survey. 
  • Not include activities run by other organisations in a shared facility or hub 
  • Not include services to individuals such as one-on-one tutoring or Centrelink agency work. These are covered in a different section of the survey. 
  • Be allocated to only one category for each activity. 
  • Be categorised based on based on the primary purpose for conducting the activity. For example, a seniors walking group could be either a seniors or a health and wellbeing activity. If the reason the group was established was to get seniors fit then it is a health and wellbeing group. If it was established to get seniors connected with other seniors it is a senior’s activity. If the purpose is unclear, you can make your own call on which category seems most appropriate. 

28. This question asks about Community Development projects that your Neighbourhood House facilitated or actively supported that were designed to benefit the whole community or a whole group within the community. Project examples may include working with residents to get better public transport connections or a project working with cultural or gender diversity groups to promote respect and understanding.

While projects can have many outcomes at once, please choose one category that best matches the main purpose of each project undertaken. 

Consider all of the projects where there was a collective impact i.e. for a whole community or an entire group within it and choose a category for each project. For example if you did one community infrastructure project you would enter a “1” in that category; if you did 2 environment projects, they would enter 2 in that category.  

A single project may have many activities associated with it. For example a project to promote harmony may include a class based cultural education program, a community festival, and a cross cultural cooking program. This is still just one project. The numerous individual activities associated with it are captured in the other questions about sessions, events etc. 

We are looking at projects specifically designed to directly improve outcomes for a whole community or an entire group within it. Groups within the community may include the unemployed, public housing tenants, single parents, people with a hearing impairment, women, people from a particular culture the LGBTQI+ community etc.  

Do not include activities just because they are open to anyone in the community but that only benefit those that participate e.g. return to work classes. While this targets unemployed people as a cohort, the outcome primarily benefits only those who attend. Establishing an unemployed advocacy program or creating a local employment strategy would be included as it is designed to improve the situation for all local unemployed. 

Classes are generally not included however a class run for the purpose of raising community awareness of a new cultural group in the community or about how to participate in elections would be included because the intent is not to increase personal knowledge of individuals but rather to affect change in the community through promoting mutual respect or strengthening participation in decision making. 

Support desk 2

Click on the question you require assistance with:

33. During the collection period, how much did you provide of the following services. Please use whole numbers only and enter "0" (zero) if your House does not offer the service. 

For this question we are asking for the number of individual instances the service was provided. 

This question includes Internet/computer use hours; resume assistance; community lunch, frozen or other meals (eg meals prepared at the House to take home or be delivered) and Breakfast clubs. 

Internet/computer use hours refers to individual public usage sessions that actually occurred. E.g if 2 people are sitting on two computers for 1 hr at the same time this is 2 hours of use. Do not count hours the Internet/computer is available for use but not actually being used. 

Resume assistance refers to individual resumes that you assisted participants to develop or edit in a typical month. 

Community lunch, frozen or other meals (eg meals prepared at the Neighbourhood House to take home) refers to individual meals provided. E.g. 100 people come to each of the fortnightly community lunches, then that is counted as 200 meals. If 5 frozen meals are provided to one individual that is counted as 5 meals. 

Breakfast club refers to breakfast provided to school children as a breakfast for that day. The breakfast can be provided at the school, Neighbourhood House or elsewhere provided the NH is responsible for providing it. It does not include food supplies provided to families for the purpose of providing future breakfasts at home. Count each individual breakfast consumed in the collection period e.g. your Neighbourhood House provides about 10 children weekly with breakfast at the local school. This is counted as 10 children x 4 weeks = forty breakfasts. 

37. During the collection period, how many hours in an average week was the building(s) managed by the Neighbourhood House in use? Include weekends, after hours, use by other groups.

Include the hours in an average week the House/Centre building(s) was in use, including weekends and after hours, regardless of whether it is staffed or open to the public (that is covered in in the next question). Include courses run after hours, rooms hired on weekends, etc. 

The number of hours the building is in use should be greater than or equal to the total number of staffed open hours i.e. when the building is staffed and open it is in use. 

If the Neighbourhood Houses operates programs at more than one site do not just add the hours of each site together. This question captures the spread of hours e.g. if a childcare is delivered at one site from 6 am. to 6 pm. and the Neighbourhood House venue was being used from 9 am to 9pm, that would be 15hrs for that day i.e. from 6 am to 9pm. Collect this info for each day in an average week. 

39. During the collection period, how many kilograms of fresh food and/or pantry items do you receive from the following? 

This question applies to those Neighbourhood Houses that provide emergency food relief including Foodbank, Second Bite, Foodshare etc or food donations received and distributed by the House. 

Remember only count things once. For example, if you receive food from food relief organisations and you use some of that food for a community lunch – only count the food as a community lunch (a separate question), not as kilograms to be given out. 

Liquids If you have items that are measured in millilitres or litres – do a one-for-one exchange. For example, one litre of milk will become 1 kg of milk; a 200 ml tin of coconut milk will become 200 grams. There are 1,000 grams in a kilogram. 

If you hand out bags/hampers or boxes of groceries from donated goods – You can weigh a few to get an average bag and estimate the total number of bags/hampers/boxes for the collection period 

For example: average bag/hamper/box = 2.5kg, average number of bags/hampers/boxes given out in the collection period = 80, therefore 2.5 x 80 = 200kg for the collection period 


add up the weight of each item in an average bag/hamper/box to get your total weight for eg. 2 x tins of tomatoes – 800 grams each (1.6kg total), 1 x box of weetbix - 1.2kg, 2 x 1 litre of long-life milk – 2 kg total , 1 x bag of rice – 500 grams, 4 x tin of tuna – 85 grams each (340 grams total); therefore 1.6 + 1.2 +2 + 0.5 + 0.340 = 5.64 Kg for a bag/hamper/box and 100 were received in the collection period therefore there is a total of 564 kilograms of food for the collection period. 

If you have a ‘take what you need’ pantry – use your invoices from your food relief providers to work out a kilogram amount or if you're having trouble you can upload them within the survey so that NHVic can calculate the kgs and dollar value. 

If you receive donations from individuals such as tinned goods or excess produce from gardens estimate an average weight of the donated items over the collection period.  

If you have a blended service e.g. food supplied by one or more food relief organisations with itemised receipts with weights and quantities as well as goods donated by community members, you work out and tell us the Kgs of food received for which you have no itemised receipts in the survey and upload receipts supplied by the food relief organisation. Be sure not to upload receipts for food which you have already included in a Kg figure in the survey. 

If you have a hybrid service - for example, you make take-home meal packs from donated goods and have an open pantry at the same time community lunch is on, please calculate all instances, including the kilograms of food that went into the take-home meal packs, the kilograms of food that people take from the pantry and the number of community lunches served (this is a separate question). 

If you give away food from your community garden - obviously the amount of food produced will vary throughout the year. You'll need to estimate the volume of food based on an average throughout the year. For example, take the average amount of food in the lowest volume month and the average amount of food in the highest volume month, add them together then divide by two. Clearly, there will need to be some approximation due to the variability of harvest. 

Uploading invoices If you are having difficulty calculating weights and you receive food from Foodbank or others who issue an itemised invoice or receipt with the quantity of food supplied, you can upload invoices in pdf or excel spreadsheet for the collection period. We will then calculate the dollar and kilogram values for the collection period for you. Make sure you save your invoices to your hard drive or desktop beforehand so that you can upload them to the survey. You can use a combination of uploaded receipts and your own calculations if you distribute food from more than one source. 

Support desk 3

Click on the question you require assistance with:

40. Please estimate the dollar value of the material relief below that was provided by your House during the data collection period. Please use whole numbers only and leave as 0 (zero) if your House does not provide that specific material relief.

This includes bill payments; cash/prepaid or gift cards; food vouchers; public transport cards and fuel vouchers. The question requires the value in dollars of the relief provided. 

41. In 2020, approximately how many Tax Help tax returns did your Neighbourhood House assist with? If none, enter "0" (zero). Click here for help with this question.

This refers to the total number of individual returns the Neighbourhood House  assisted with. If the Neighbourhood House assisted a tax help client to lodge 3 years' worth of returns, count this as 3. 

Include tax returns completed face to face or via the Tax Help portal. 

43. In the collection period, how many different community groups:  

  • Use a room in the Neighbourhood House?: 
  • Are supported by the Neighbourhood House?: 

‘Use of a room’ counts regardless of whether the room is hired or provided for free as long as it is a non-profit community group. 

‘Support’ for an external group can include providing secretarial or admin services, publicising events, and taking bookings etc., as well as less formal support such as encouragement and advice. 

If a group uses a room and you provide other support include them at both questions. 

If no external groups use or are supported by the House/Centre, please enter 0 (zero) in each box. 

44. In the collection period, how much room use or room hire did you provide to external groups and/or organisations? If none, leave as "0" (zero).  

  • Number of hours of room use/hire: 
  • What is the approximate value of that room hire if the hirers had to hire the space/s elsewhere: 

You can use the tool provided here to calculate this 

Do not include room use by your Neighbourhood House run groups or activities. Include room use provided to external groups for free.

Total the number of hours any space was used or hired. If two spaces were hired at the same time add the times together. 

If possible find out how much it would cost per hour for a community group to hire an equivalent space/s near you. Count how many hours of room use you provide, either free or at a charge, to other groups or organisations in a typical month.  

45. In the collection period, how many organisations did you work in partnership with?

Please include all partnerships, whether funded or unfunded, formal and/or informal. 

Partners may include local government, health service, school, local business, other community organisations, etc. The partnership may be funded and governed by a written agreement: e.g. between the House/Centre and local government to deliver social inclusion activities. Or the partnership may be an unfunded collaboration based on a shared vision: e.g. the House/Centre works with the local school to identify young people who could benefit from homework clubs. This question is compulsory so if the House/Centre is not involved in any regular partnerships, please enter 0 (zero) in the box. 

Do not include funding bodies as partners where they have no active involvement in the partnership other than the provision of funding e.g. ACFE. 

Do not include groups that are participants in an activity owned and managed by the Neighbourhood House e.g. the community garden group where the group does not or did not exist outside of that activity. 

46. In the collection period, how many of the following has your Neighbourhood House undertaken?

  • Projects managed by the House/Centre 
  • Funding applications made by the House/Centre 
  • Projects managed by others that the House/Centre participated in 

Count all projects – funded or otherwise – managed by the House/Centre. This includes projects run in partnership with other organisations where the House/Centre is the lead agency. 

Count all funding applications – successful or otherwise – made by the House/Centre. 

Count all projects managed by others that the House/Centre participated in. This includes projects run in partnership where another organisation is the lead agency or where the House/Centre provides support e.g. by participating in the project delivery or by being part of a project reference group.