Neighbourhood Houses bring people together to connect, learn and contribute in their local community through social, educational, recreational and support activities, using a unique community development approach.
Community development enables communities to identify and address their own needs. It starts from the assumption that communities have existing strengths and assets that make them part of the solution.
Neighbourhood Houses welcome people from all walks of life. This inclusive approach creates opportunities for individuals and groups to enrich their lives through connections they might not otherwise make, strengthening networks and building social capital.
The neighbourhood house community development practice model
These six steps enable Neighbourhood Houses to meet the needs of their local communities.
Involving the community and encouraging participation and inclusion, and valuing diversity and difference at all levels of neighbourhood house operation
Identifying community needs and aspirations
Determining appropriate community programs, activities and services in response to those needs, ensuring that diversity and difference are valued
Partnering with community organisations, businesses, government and philanthropic organisations to secure appropriate funding and support
Delivering quality programs, activities and services
Evaluating the effectiveness of all aspects of neighbourhood house operations, including programs, practice and governance.
Neighbourhood Houses are guided by the following sector principles:
To set, manage and control the direction, resources, decision making and processes of the neighbourhood house or centre in order that local volunteer members have a sense of ownership and intrinsic belonging.
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.
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.
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.
More information on community development at neighbourhood houses can be found in: