Neighbourhood House Week is May 8th – 14th and this year’s theme is ‘Belonging’. Neighbourhood Houses play a vital role in nurturing a sense of belonging for all participants through innovative and diverse community programs, activities, community planning and development. There are 27 Neighbourhood Centres in our Barwon Network. Visit their Website to find out What’s Happening in your local centre: http://www.bnnc.net.au/whats-on/nh-program-guides
Khudai Rahim is pictured here, he has a heart-warming story to tell. As a refugee, he knew no one when he first arrived in Geelong in 2013. He missed his family, was socially and culturally isolated and was unemployed. As a result of these challenges he experienced mental health issues and sought support and advice from his GP and a psychologist who recommended that he make contact with the local Neighborhood House. After joining Cloverdale Community Centre as a volunteer Khudai made new friends, learnt new skills and eventually found a job. His connection with Cloverdale changed his life for the better. He is eternally grateful to Cloverdale for helping him start to build a whole new life for himself in Australia.
You can view Khudai’s story online at: https://youtu.be/91wr0IH-6yo
His story is part of the ‘Pathways For Life’ Neighbourhood House Video Series. In 2016, the Barwon Network engaged local filmmaker, Sue Roberts to produce seven short digital stories as part of its Partnering For Access Project (P4A). Funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training, the aim of P4A was to help neighbourhood houses support & encourage community members to participate and learn in their local communities. It became clear that Neighbourhood Houses are significant for community members to build relationships and confidence that can enable effective learning and open life and job opportunities.
The video project ‘Pathways For Life’ captured seven inspirational testimonials from a diverse range of people who have pursued volunteering and/or training opportunities at their local Neighbourhood House. The stories describe how they first made contact, what they learnt, and the wonderful friendships they made at their local centre. They are terrific examples of how neighbourhood houses connect people, bring the community together and promote & encourage a sense of Belonging for everyone involved. View the other stories at www.bnnc.net.au
Neighbourhood Houses are not-for-profit organisations, with strong volunteer input to ensure maximum benefits to each diverse community in which they are located. Over 10,000 people use or visit a Barwon Neighbourhood House each week. They are open to all ages, genders, disabilities and cultures in a welcoming and inclusive environment relevant to their individual community’s needs. Activities/classes include computer and digital literacy, arts and crafts, community lunches, health and wellbeing programs. They contribute to the building of strong and resilient communities.