Wednesday 14 November 2018

NHVic’s new vision: ‘Strong, safe and vibrant communities that value diversity and gender equity.’

At the NHVic AGM on Monday 12 November, President Greg Ferrington launched the new Strategic Plan for Neighbourhood Houses Victoria.

This is a three year plan, from 2019 to 2021, designed to ensure NHVic is the best peak body it can possibly be, moving forward with a clear purpose and direction. The Strategic Plan is accompanied by an Operational Plan that will help us deliver on our vision. You can view both these documents here:

NHVic CEO Nicole Battle said alot of work and consultation had gone into developing the plan.

"Around eight months of work has gone into the plan, and I would like to thank the Board and our members for embracing this important work and participating in its development."

In the feedback we received back in September, the inclusion of ‘gender equity’ in the draft vision certainly generated some robust debate. Some members questioned the relevance of its inclusion, and some were concerned that by singling out gender equity, we were neglecting other forms of equality. After reviewing this feedback, the Board voted to keep ‘gender equity’ in the vision.

Nicole explained the reasons for keeping it included in the vision statement.

"Violence against woman is the biggest threat to women in Australia, with between 80 and 100 Australian women dying at the hands of their male partners every year.

At Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, we believe negative attitudes towards woman in everyday life contribute to this violence and we want our sector to lead the way by demonstrating respectful, inclusive and equal workplaces, and to influence change in the communities we serve."

To deliver on this updated vision, NHVic will develop a Gender Equity Strategy to ensure all our policies and practises are developed through a gender equity lens, and at our upcoming annual conference, we will present the inaugural ‘Fiona Richardson Award for Gender Equity’ to the house that has demonstrated outstanding work in this space. 

Fiona was a much respected member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, representing the electorate of Northcote. Prior to her death in 2017, she was a passionate campaigner for gender equity and oversaw the first ever Royal Commission into Family Violence.

"In recognising that Fiona was a change-maker of the highest order, we feel very privileged that her family have agreed for us to launch this award in her honour," Nicole said.

Another exciting initiative to come out of the new plan is the development of a new NHVic website, which will include an up-to-date resource and policy library to assist houses with their own policy documentation. We know how needed this resource is for houses, and we are excited to deliver it.

The AGM also saw the launch of the 2017-18 Annual Report (pdf, 5MB) which reflects a year of change and big achievements for NHVic.

"We of course remain particularly proud of the ‘We Deliver, Will You?’ campaign which saw a substantial increase in State Government funding of $21.8 million. This was a sector-wide effort, and shows that when we come together and mobilise, we can achieve incredible things," Nicole said.