Neighbourhood houses are underpinned by a number of sector principles which revolve around a unique community development approach.

Community development empowers communities to identify and address their own needs and aspirations. It then utilises the existing strengths and assets within that community to make the community part of the solution.

The principles for the neighbourhood house sector are:

Community ownership

To set, manage and control the direction, resources, decision making and processes of the neighbourhood house so that local volunteer members have a sense of ownership and intrinsic belonging.

Community participation 

To recognise that everyone has a valuable contribution to make and to facilitate community members to join in at any level. Volunteers and community members are integral to the decision making, evaluation, provision, participation and direction setting
at all levels of the organisation.


To put into practice a process that respects, values and enhances people’s ability to have control of their lives. This process encourages people to meet their needs and aspirations in a self-aware and informed way that takes advantage of their skills, experience and potential.

Access and equity 

To ensure fair and equitable access for all people. Striving to make meaningful opportunities, programs, activities and services accessible to individuals, groups and the community. To promote a fairer distribution of economic resources and power between people.

Lifelong learning 

To build and support the personal skills, knowledge, abilities and resilience of people. To develop the health, wellbeing and connection of people and their families through formal and informal pathways in education, employment and self-development.


To value the diverse contributions that people make and to be sensitive to their individual needs.


To link, form alliances, collaborate and work with individuals, groups, other agencies, government and business.


To act with and on behalf of community members to endeavour that their individual or group needs are met.


To come together in a supportive group environment to share information, knowledge, skills and life experience in order that each participant can reach their own personal goals.

Social action 

To analyse internal and external factors that have an impact on the local community, and to transform relationships between individuals, groups and organisations and within the community through collective action.