Plea for house funding

February 06, 2018

Community House managers Dawn Taylor, Leanne Button and Sharron Handley are lobbying for funding.

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed will meet Victoria’s Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos, following a pitch for funding by community house managers across the Greater Shepparton region.

Last week, Community House managers from Shepparton South, Mooroopna, Tatura, Nathalia and Numurkah met Ms Sheed and expressed their desperate need for funding.

Tatura Community House manager Leanne Button said Ms Sheed’s response was overwhelmingly positive.

‘‘Suzanna is very aware of the community houses and their services,’’ Ms Button said.

‘‘She actually attended our annual general meeting in Tatura back in September.

‘‘We gave her the big picture and our three main asks, presenting her with postcards signed by the community in support of the lobby for more funding.’’

The statewide campaign argues funding for Neighbourhood Houses has not kept pace with rising operation costs and the demands of Victoria’s increasing population.

‘‘We spoke with Suzanna about our individuals houses and how they meet and respond to the needs of the community, how they fill gaps in services... basically we’re lobbying her, so she can present our needs and wants,’’ Ms Button said.

Ms Button said Labor made promises in 2014 about investment during the election, but there still had not been any increase in funding.

‘‘This campaign is around the upcoming budget and second to that is the state election,’’ she said.

In an average week, Victorian Neighbourhood Houses provide more than 10000 opportunities for more than 188000 people.

They deliver programs and activities that respond to issues, such as digital literacy and inclusion, support disengaged youth, tackle unemployment, childcare, emergency management, family violence, mental health and well-being, among other things.

Ms Sheed said community houses were important and often the first port of call for the community into a range of other services.

‘‘I’ll be making an appointment to meet with Minister Mikakos... impressing the importance of community houses and the services they provide in regional areas,’’ she said.

‘‘I understand that it was one of Labor’s election promises to fund community houses... so I’ll be raising that... seeing what they might do in the forthcoming budget.’’

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