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CFA links with Neighbourhood Houses
CFA is forming strong links with Neighbourhood Houses across Victoria and sponsored the Association of Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres conference in Geelong last week.
Neighbourhood Houses are community orientated hubs that bring people together to connect, learn and contribute in their local community. This is usually thorough social, educational, recreational or support activities and various joint fire safety initiatives are starting to emerge across the State, some examples of which were shared at the conference last week.
In one such project last year, informal training programs delivered by some neighbourhood houses used fire safety resources as the examples within the computer classes. This strengthened participants' IT skills while introducing them to key online fire safety resources. For example, emergency websites are used as sites for learning about navigating websites; the CFA Facebook page for learning about social media, and in Microsoft Word the list of items to include in an emergency relocation kit is used as the text list for learning Microsoft Word functions.
CFA Community Development Coordinator Danielle Scorer said, “Many of these neighbourhood houses and learning centres are in high risk bushfire and grassfire areas so it’s a good opportunity for us to link in fire safety messages.”
Emerald Community House was awarded the top prize at the 2014 Fire Awareness Awards, after they formalised compulsory CFA Bushfire Planning Workshops for the parents of young children attending the Emerald Community House’s licensed childcare programs.
There are other success stories shared from Neighbourhood House networks across Barwon and East Gippsland where these houses are playing a key role in emergency management planning. The Barwon network through its SPARC project have developed a ‘Don’t Panic’ resource with support from Emergency Management Victoria, whilst the East Gippsland Building Resilience Project has established local facilitators to enhance the local ownership of decisions and increased awareness of the resources and partnerships available.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley was the keynote speaker at the conference this week and spoke of the key role neighbourhood houses have played before, during and after some recent major fires. He also spoke of the need for the emergency management sector to factor them in to the role they can play in building community connections before, during and after emergencies.
You can find your local Neighbourhood House here.