Kensington Neighbourhood House celebrates after securing ongoing funding
Kensington Neighbourhood House will continue to provide essential services to the community after locking in funding from the state government.
Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Colin Brooks announced on September 1 that $6.6 million would be provided to the 400 Neighbourhood Houses across the state in ongoing annual funding with $19 million in additional funding over the next three years.
Neighbourhood and Community Houses have been particularly important during the pandemic, with many distributing personal protective equipment, providing advice, and acting as testing or vaccination sites.
They also provide critical services in childcare, employment, education, training, and opportunities to volunteer in local communities.
Kensington Neighbourhood House manager Rebecca Smith said news of the funding was a “fantastic outcome” for all neighbourhood houses.
“It takes away uncertainty, and it means we can plan ahead with confidence and continue to meet community needs going forward,” she said.
Ms Smith, who was recognised for her outstanding community leadership at the Rotary Flemington Kensington president’s dinner in July, said this local hub offered a range of programs from recreational to wellbeing services to break down social barriers, connect people to their local community, and give them a greater sense of belonging.
Ms Smith said earlier this year that it had been a tough time with the COVID-19 pandemic, but she was proud of “everything we have done to make it a little easier for our community”.
Kensington Neighbourhood House is funded through the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program for 40 coordination hours a week, which equates to about $146,000 per year.
A Victorian Government spokesperson said the recent funding announcement for the Neighbourhood House sector meant the fixed term funding would be provided on an ongoing (recurrent) basis.
From 2022-23, record funding of more than $42 million a year will be delivered to almost 400 Neighbourhood Houses, 16 Neighbourhood House networks and the peak body Neighbourhood Houses Victoria as part of the Neighbourhood House Coordination Program.
Mr Brooks said the government was proud to continue to support Neighbourhood Houses, allowing the hubs to “play a vital role in successfully building vibrant Victorian communities”.
“The powerful role of Neighbourhood Houses has never been more evident than the way the sector stepped up to provide assistance to Victorians through the pandemic,” he said.
Kensington Neighbourhood House is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Visitors are welcome. •