Neighbourhood houses have a significant and meaningful impact on the individual lives of everyday Victorians and hundreds of local communities across the state.

Here are some of the benefits they provide.

They strengthen community connection

Humans need others to survive. Regardless of one’s sex, country or culture of origin, or age or economic background, social connection is crucial to human development, health, and survival. 

- Holt-Lunstad, Robles, & Sbarra, 2017

Neighbourhood houses bring people within the local area together to meet, socialise, and mobilise to achieve positive community outcomes. They strengthen community spirit, pride and connection.

Neighbourhood houses combat social isolation and loneliness by being accessible, non-threatening and inclusive spaces that welcome people from all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, ability or economic status. They provide the opportunity for people to mix, learn from each other, and support each other.

Many neighbourhood houses are also involved in community partnerships with other local service providers, small businesses, and community groups to maximise their impact and form stronger connections within the local community.

They are responsive to community needs

"No two neighbourhood houses are ever the same!" you'll often here us say.

This is because neighbourhood houses are flexible and diverse in their delivery, responding to the needs of their communities at any given time.

The services, program and activities which may be relevant for one neighbourhood house may be completely different to another. For example, for areas with low socio-economic populations, the neighbourhood house may run a food pantry to ensure people have the essentials to put food on the table. For a community with a high migrant population, the neighbourhood house may deliver programs that help migrants settle into Australian life and gain independence.

When communities are impacted by emergencies such as bushfires, neighbourhood houses are often on the frontline supporting responders in any way they can, and play a significant role in disaster recovery. 

They improve job skills

Many neighbourhood houses offer pre-accredited and accredited adult education to assist people in their career pathways. These neighbourhood houses are known as Learn Local providers.

People may choose to begin their learning journey at a neighbourhood houses over TAFE or University due to their affordability, flexibility and because they provide a less intimidating, community-friendly setting compared to the big educational institutions.

Courses range from developing skills in speaking and writing English, computers, hospitality, construction, community services, to reception work and how to run a small business.

Some even provide job ready courses to assist people with the job seeking process including how to search for a job, resume and cover letter writing and interview techniques.

Neighbourhood houses also have diverse volunteering programs which increases a participant's skills and experience working in a professional work setting.

They improve personal wellbeing, health and confidence

Neighbourhood houses have a positive impact on the mental and physical health of the people that participate at them.

Many provide health and wellbeing activities such as soft exercise and yoga classes, walking groups, tai chi and healthy cooking classes to promote healthy living. Many provide arts and crafts activities, or musical groups, for people to engage creatively in a relaxed, social setting. For seniors, they promote an active and positive ageing experience.

Some neighbourhood houses host support groups for parents, people with disability, people struggling with mental health issues, addiction issues so they receive the care and support they need.

More broadly speaking, neighbourhood houses open up people's interpersonal networks, and break down social isolation through community participation and inclusion. People make new friends, share time with others, and feel a deeper sense of purpose by contributing to their community in a meaningful and impactful way.

Want to know more?

The Connecting a Diverse Victoria Report looks at the reasons and perceived benefits of over 46,000 neighbourhood house participants.