Friday 7 May 2021

Communities across Victoria will be celebrating Neighbourhood House Week in person again, with neighbourhood houses hosting an array of activities to mark the annual occasion.  

Kicking off this Saturday 8 until Friday 14 May, this national initiative celebrates the important contribution over 1,000 neighbourhood houses and community centres make to local communities across Australia (400 of which are in Victoria).

Due to Victorian COVID-19 restrictions, last year celebrations could only take place in a digital form. This year houses are back open, with community open days, morning teas, BBQs, leisure classes, teddy bear picnics, film screenings, and competitions amongst the fun range of activities on offer.

To find out what celebrations are happening in your area, find your nearby neighbourhood house and check out their website or Facebook page.

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO Nicole Battle said this year’s Neighbourhood House Week theme was about honouring the community heroes that went above and beyond during the 2020 lockdowns.

“I am so proud to lead such a resilient, responsive and adaptive sector, made up of so many selfless and hardworking individuals,” Nicole said.

“Neighbourhood houses have truly demonstrated their weight in gold across this extraordinary year. While so many other services closed during the lockdowns, 96 per cent of neighbourhood houses continued to deliver in varying capacities, and 45 per cent ran food relief programs, responding to a significant rise in demand.

"Other services our houses provided included childcare, remote adult education, home deliveries, wellbeing calls, letterbox drops, online social gatherings, technology support and device hire. Many sought volunteers to create masks for people who might not be able to afford them, as well as scrubs for local health care workers…the list goes on. This Neighbourhood House Week we acknowledge this incredible effort and the staff, volunteers and community members who made it all happen.”

This work was highlighted through the COVID Heroes social media campaign which shared the stories of neighbourhood house staff and the impact they had on their communities during those early turbulent months.

To mark Neighbourhood Houses Week and reunite the sector, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria will be hosting a sector luncheon on Tuesday 18 May at The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne. 

Federal Senator, The Hon Penny Wong will deliver a welcoming address, with other speeches by Minister Luke Donnellan and Gender Equity Victoria CEO Tanja Kovac.

Tanja was previously Chief of Staff to the late Fiona Richardson MP, Australia’s first family violence prevention minister, where she was responsible for delivering family violence reform in the wake of Luke Batty's death and innovations in gender equality, including creating Victoria’s first Gender Equality Strategy. Most recently, she played a hands-on role in the recent March 4 Justice rallies against sexual assault and gender discrimination in Parliament and beyond.

The 2021 NHVic Awards will also be presented at this event.

While the luncheon is now sold out, the formal proceedings will be livestreamed for free courtesy of our national peak body, the Australian Neighbourhood Houses and Centres Association (ANHCA).

On social media, follow #NHW2021 to see the latest Neighbourhood House Week activity!