Neighbourhood Houses (Houses) are organisations offering accessible, locally-driven programs which respond to community needs and provide a soft-entry point to community and service systems.
An integrated network of 35 Houses supports Tasmanian communities. They are strategically located to lead and coordinate community development in areas of most need.
The Department of Communities Tasmania (Communities Tas) through its Community Support Program funds 34 of these and their peak body, and the Australian Government Department of Defence funds the House at Dowsing Point.
Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania Inc. (NHT) is the sector peak body which leads and represents the interests of Houses. NHT is governed by a Board comprising regional House representatives.
A copy of the program’s Strategic Framework 2018-2023 can be downloaded below
If you require assistance accessing this framework, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens at Neighbourhood Houses?
Houses began in Tasmania in the late 1970s and since then the model has evolved and the number of Houses has expanded as the community development and health and wellbeing benefits were recognised and evidenced.
Originally Houses provided services such as playgroup and child minding facilities, craft courses and a social meeting point. Today Houses provide a range of community development programs based on identified community needs and resources. These will vary based on the House and its community but typically include:
- adult and youth literacy programs, community gardens, food security, healthy eating, nutrition and cooking classes, community transport, driving courses, IT skills training, fund raising, health promotion, family and school holiday activities, community sheds, vocational training, market days, community events and volunteer opportunities.
Importance of Neighbourhood Houses
The Neighbourhood House Program is a cornerstone of the Department's community development strategy. As a network the Houses form the largest community development infrastructure in Tasmania with the most regionally diverse footprint of any non-government service network in the state. Houses provide a local structure for:
- responding to community needs
- representing community views
- identifying opportunities and making local connections
- delivering community programs and coordinating services
- building individual and community capacity.
The program includes four goals which each House includes and evidences work towards via individual strategic plans and reporting to the Department. The program goals are:
- connect community
- support people
- create opportunity
- local leadership.
Tasmanian Government and Neighbourhood Houses Protocol
In June 2019, Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government approved a Protocol for working together for the benefit of local communities. The Protocol is a shared commitment for collaboration. It recognises that Neighbourhood Houses are at the heart of our local communities. They are places that allow people to come together in welcoming, safe spaces to work on local needs.
Working together can result in better outcomes for local communities. The Protocol encourages both parties to build and strengthen local partnerships. It encourages Tasmanian Government staff to:
- Consult and engage where appropriate with Neighbourhood Houses on local, place-based issues and collaborate on solutions
- Communicate the Protocol with staff and encourage collaboration with Neighbourhood Houses
- Ensure staff are given enough time where possible to develop effective working relationships with Neighbourhood Houses.
Tasmanian Government and Neighbourhood Houses – Shared Commitment to Collaboration [MS Word accessible version]
Security Grants for Neighbourhood Houses
The Liberal State Government committed $150 000 for safety and security upgrades of Neighbourhood House ($75 000 per year over two years) as part of the election commitments to our network.
The Government has asked Neighbourhood House Tasmania to be the conduit for those funds being distributed to Houses via two simple grant rounds. The pool of $150 000 across our 34 Communities Tasmania-funded Houses allows for $4 414 per House. Under these grant rounds each House can consider what would best make its staff, volunteers and participants safe. The first round of grants have been allocated and the second and final round close on 26 July 2019.