A home for sustainability in your neighbourhood

Published: 9 May 2023
The Brunswick Neighbourhood House Multicultural Festival

Looking for a repair café, language classes, e-waste recycling and childcare? You could find all these services and more at your local neighbourhood house.

Born in the early 1970s, the Victorian Neighbourhood House movement supports communities by bringing people together to learn, connect and give or receive assistance.

There are now more than 400 houses across Victoria, working to improve both the social and environmental health of the neighbourhoods they service.

Recognising this impact, Sustainability Victoria is proud to have provided support to a number of these houses through the Circular Economy Communities Fund on behalf of the Victorian Government.

Sustainability is at the heart of many of Victoria’s thriving neighbourhood houses, and nowhere is this more evident than at Lalor Neighbourhood House.

Manager Meredith Budge says their facility provides education around both recycling and litter prevention.

“Members of our local community can struggle to know how to recycle correctly,” Meredith says.

“At the recent Summer Series Festival, we hosted a Waste Challenge and invited community members to sort different rubbish into the correct bins.

“Participants were rewarded with a homemade biscuit in the shape of a trophy.”

Over in Carlton, the focus is on recycling food waste with a community compost hub helping to reduce scraps going to landfill.

Tony Milne at the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre says funding from Sustainability Victoria has enabled them to expand their compost operations.

“We’re now building relationships with more residents as well as local cafés and restaurants to prevent even more food waste and other organic materials from ending up in landfill.”
Tony Milne

“The funding also means we can run sustainability workshops and educate our community about waste.”

Reuse is just as important as recycling in our transition to a circular economy, and Morwell Neighbourhood House is leading the way.

Manager Tracie Lund says they are busy finding ways to give household items a second chance.

Man and woman standing next to each other while holding a white paper with text "fixed" written on it. Success at the Morwell Neighbourhood House repair cafe

“We offer a monthly free store, which redirects useable items from landfill to those in need, and a regular repair café, which extends the life of items,” Tracie says.

Brunswick Neighbourhood House is also keen to promote the benefits of the reuse approach to locals, according to Teagan Crouch.

“At our free Brunswick Multicultural Festival, we will now be reducing waste through a reusable plate system,” Teagan says.

“The benefits of pursuing a circular economy align with our values as a neighbourhood house and community as a whole.”

Help celebrate Neighbourhood House Week (8-14 May) by connecting with your local neighbourhood house and learning more about how they’re contributing to climate-resilient communities.