Friday 26 June 2020

14 community projects run by neighbourhood houses across Victoria have been given the green light thanks to grant programs from Melbourne Airport and The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).

Melbourne Airport's Community Grants program, now in its second year, had awarded $100,000 across 10 local projects run by Neighbourhood Houses. 

The projects include mentoring and English-language programs for refugees, employment pathway programs for those re-entering the workforce including those significantly impacted by COVID-19 and study group programs for young people and their families. 

Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said he was pleased to provide support to the 10 Neighbourhood House community projects, especially during COVID-19. 

“Being able to help fund services that community members can readily access and which are supportive of the airport’s surrounding communities is why we developed the Community Grants program," said Mr Strambi. 

“We have now awarded a total of $200,000 to Neighbourhood Houses over the past two years and are pleased to see the programs having real impacts within communities.”  

The successful projects are:

Banksia Gardens Community Services
 Kenley Court Neighbourhood House Study Group
The weekly after-school study group program for refugee and newly arrived migrant children from the Meadow Heights area. The Study Group provides a safe environment where students can learn and pursue interests, with many family members also attending to improve their language skills with their children.  

Bridge Darebin (Preston)
 Blended Learning
The project will create interactive learning modules, for students with learning disabilities, CALD students and those returning to study after a long break, to respond to COVID-19 distancing requirements. It will also provide more flexiblity in low-cost skills attainment once distancing requirements ease. 

Bridge Darebin (Thornbury)
: Bridge Darebin Maker’s Marketplace
The project will create an interactive and engaging online marketplace, with an online shopfront, maker profiles, blog, online workshops/ events and social media support. Through leveraging Bridge Darebin’s other successful social enterprises, it will create employment opportunities for the hobbyist and small business enterprises who have been hit hard by the cancelling of events under COVID-19. 

Duke Street Community House
 Breaking Digital Barriers
The initiative will provide a no-cost IT device borrowing service for identified members of the Sunshine community who face cultural, linguistic, financial, social and physical barriers to accessing technology. Loan laptops/iPads will be provided with pre-paid internet connectivity, so that participants can continue with their socially-distanced educational and language programs.  

Farnham Street Neighbourhood Learning Centre
 Resilient Refugee Youth
This award-winning initiative, partners youth of a refugee background to trained and supportive mentors from their local community. Structured as a one-year program, the mentors provide practical and emotional support help these young people settle within Australia and to achieve their educational and professional goals. 

Homestead Community and Learning Centre
 Roxy Resilient Women
The project supports women from CALD backgrounds who are marginalised, unskilled or inexperienced in an Australian workplace. Ten workshops covering topics such as: communication, teamwork, workplace situations/ cultures, technology and enterprise work to address the barriers to their further employment.  

Kensington Neighbourhood House 
 Strong Foundations  
An individualised homework and literacy support program for Prep to Grade 2 students to reduce the ‘literacy deficit’ as result of COVID-19 school closures within the CALD and refugee communities.

Kensington Neighbourhood House
 Women into Work
The initiative provides individual mentoring to refugee (predominently) African-Australian women, including: skills gap analysis, resume creation, personal introductions to reputable training providers, assistance with online job search/ applications, interview preparation and links to potential employers.  

Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education
: Transition to Work Program
The program will provide case management employment support for those with entry-point labour market skills (or additional barriers) to gain meaningful and sustainable employment. Working with employers and individuals, the case worker will coordinate every aspect of the participant’s skills, behavioural and personal development to aid their transition into paid employment. 

West Sunshine Community Centre, Brimbank City Council
 ‘We Got You’
The initiative aims to support at-risk CALD students by matching them with culturally-appropriate young adult mentors (aged 18-30 years). These adult mentors will be trained to provide educational and wellbeing support, and to assist at-risk CALD students to access more intensive support programs as needed.  

Four Victorian neighbourhood houses were amongst the 89 recipients of The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR)'s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

They are:

  • Centre for Participation (Horsham) - supporting the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people and volunteer capability through the purchase of commercial kitchen equipment
  • Tallangatta Neighbourhood House - increasing community engagement in the local economy and life-long learning through the provision of an employment related course
  • Bruthen and District Neighbourhood House - supporting volunteer capacity and bushfire recovery by increasing community engagement through the employment of a community worker
  • Kyabram Community and Learning Centre - supporting educational initiatives through road safety with creation of a bike path for bike education and recreational activities at the Kyabram Community Garden