Wednesday masterclass

Bridges Out of Poverty

Nairn Walker, Presented by Social Solutions

Discover how economic class affects behaviours and mindsets, the hidden rules of generational poverty, and how to assist people from poverty. 


About Nairn

Nairn has worked across Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK with over 100,000 professionals to raise awareness of Dr Ruby Payne’s insights into the issues presented by economic disadvantage in every level of our communities, schools and businesses. She is committed to raising awareness, understanding and outcomes through sharing strategies that make a difference. Nairn’s vocational background is in education and administration, with over 20 years’ experience in community development and a passionate commitment to social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. 


This is an exclusive masterclass for premium ticket holders and Silver ticket holders who purchased the master class as an add-on. 

Thursday breakouts

Each attendee will get to participate in two of the following breakouts:

Know your ABC(D)s

Presented by Michelle Dunscombe, Jeder Institute

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is the approach of identifying and utilising the strengths within your community to create strong, empowered and self-determined communities. Explore simple tools we can use to support community-led initiatives and help support co-design of our house programs to encourage greater community participation. 

About Michelle

Michelle is an enthusiastic community development practitioner, facilitator and trainer who is passionate about self determination, strengthening regional and rural communities and building community resilience. She is a Fairley Fellow, a co-facilitator of the ABCD Asia Pacific network, and Australian Country Correspondent for the International Association for Community Development.

Money 101

Presented by Maggie Mildenhall, Good Shepherd

There are several reasons why people who visit neighbourhood houses may struggle managing their personal finances (e.g. domestic violence, a change in relationship status, loss of a parent etc). You can help them claim control of their own financial wellbeing. This train-the-trainer session will cover effective ways to support people to be able to budget, save and manage bills as well as common financial traps and useful referral pathways. We will also explore creative ways to include financial conversations and capability building in existing neighbourhood house activities. 

About Nora

Maggie’s career in community development and financial inclusion has been diverse; ranging from delivering teacher training in Cambodia and building financial capability in the Kimberley, to facilitating financial hardship training to corporate employees and working with ASIC to investigate unscrupulous payday lenders. Maggie is currently a Program Design Consultant with Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand. 

Community-led Emergency Management

Presented by Mary Farrow, Emerald Community House

How would your house cope when faced with the impacts of climate extremes or disasters? Gain expert knowledge or share your experiences in this workshop as you explore your own abilities in responding to challenging realistic scenarios. By applying our sector’s legendary flexible responses to community needs, have we got what it takes or what else do we need to support our communities in the challenging times ahead?

About Mary

Mary is the Manager of the award winning Emerald Community House which operates under a Centre of Resilience strategy including the application of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. A native Californian and regular speaker on community-led resilience, Mary's experience has benefited from ten years of absorbing the lessons learned from disasters and climate calamities.

Act Local for Global Results

Presented by Sophie Arnold, United Nations Victoria Division

Neighbourhood houses work to create more just and sustainable communities - this is also at the heart of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This session will look at how the SDGs can be incorporated into neighbourhood house policies and day to day activities, so you can demonstrate your impact from a global perspective.

About Sophie

Sophie is Executive Manager of the UN Association's Victorian Division. For more than two decades, Sophie ran a successful media and communications practice, providing writing, editing and communications advice to a range of not for profit, government and corporate organisations. Sophie is also a former member of the Thornbury Women's Neighbourhood House Committee of Management.

Financial Security for You; Protection for our Planet

Presented by Leah Willis, Australian Ethical

It’s important to know what your money is invested in and that the impact you are having aligns with your values. This session will cover how ethical investing can provide you with a secure future while also making a positive impact on the planet, people and animals. Learn how to invest for the kind of world you want to live in, superannuation and how to secure your financial future, and how women can take control of their savings.

About Leah

Leah is Australian Ethical’s Head of Client Relationships and is passionate about the role superannuation and investments play in providing individuals with financial security and freedom. She has over 20 years’ experience in investments and superannuation in senior distribution roles with Rothschild Asset Management, BT Financial Group, Barclays Global Investors and IOOF.

Friday breakouts

Each attendee will get to participate in two of the following breakouts:

Walk the Talk for Social Isolation

Presented by Tara Henderson, Heart Foundation

Take a look at the health benefits of making and maintaining social connections – and how the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other (i.e. walking!) can help address issues such as loneliness and social isolation for our hard to reach populations. The workshop will unpack ideas around strategies to engage and retain socially isolated populations in physical activity as a means of improving mental, emotional and physical health.

About Tara

Tara is passionate about health promotion and community engagement. She has been at the Heart Foundation for over nine years, overseeing a combination of state based and nationally focused agendas, particularly with participant and stakeholder engagement and retention. She is also a registered and practicing fitness professional, with a strong interest and extensive experience in women’s health and fitness.

The 3Rs of Volunteering

Presented by Sara Sterling, Volunteering Victoria

Volunteers are so important to the sustainability of neighbourhood houses, but is your organisation struggling to hold onto them? This session will use the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement to develop or improve  existing volunteer programs so that your organisation can successfully recruit, retain and recognise the important contribution volunteers make; leading to longer retention rates and a healthy workplace culture.

About Sara

Sara joined Volunteering Victoria in January 2018 with a focus on professional development services. She has ten years of experience in government and not-for-profit sectors with a focus on volunteer management, program support and administration, and training and development. She has a Masters in Social Policy and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. 


Community Development Responses to Suicide Prevention
Presented by Tomas Passeggi, Caloundra Community Centre

This session explores how the Community Development Method is being utilised to address suicide prevention at a local level by ordinary citizens, as well as how current public health initiatives focus disproportionately on the individual’s risk factors at the cost of the social and cultural responses to suicide which are possible.


About Tomas
Tomas is the community development coordinator at Caloundra Community Centre in Queensland, the President of the Queensland state peak QFCA, and a Board member of our federal peak ANHCA. He is passionate about the power of small locality based organisations to harness people’s engagement in civic society and participatory democracy.

Lead for Change -
The Power of Grassroots Conversations

Presented by Anna Andersson, WIRE

Change community attitudes that underpin gendered violence through everyday conversations. You will learn skills to have safe, respectful and effective conversations with people at your neighbourhood house which challenge the condoning of violence against women, promote women’s independence and decision making, challenge gender stereotypes, and strengthen positive, respectful and equal relationships. 

About Anna

Anna is WIRE's Lead for Change Coordinator and has worked across several community services and roles supporting and educating people around family violence, from prevention to recovery.

Please note: This session will only run once in the afternoon.

This is the same workshop held at the 2019 conference.

Tackling Food Insecurity

Presented by Brien Baxter, Foodbank Victoria


Food security is becoming a growing issue in Victoria. Foodbank Victoria acts as the pantry to Victoria’s charity sector, providing food and grocery items to more than 440 charity partners who run community food relief programs. These programs, such as emergency hampers, community meal programs and mobile soup vans, assist more than 140,000 Victorians every month. More than 30 Victorian neighbourhood houses currently partner with Foodbank Victoria - find out how your house can help out those in your community who are struggling to put food on the table. 

About Brien

Brien is one of Foodbank Victoria's Foodbank Agency Relations Coordinators, working with charity partners across the state to increase food distribution. 

By the Book: Employment Law

Presented by Daniel Komesaroff​, Justice Connect

A fast-moving workforce of a not-for-profit organisation can present a number of employment law challenges. Realities in the sector such as fixed term funding and evolving programs can mean staff come and go or change roles frequently. This session will take you through the key legal issues that arise when someone’s position changes or when the employment relationship comes to an end.

About Dan

Daniel is a lawyer in Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law team and previously worked at international law firm, DLA Piper where he worked on cross-national mergers and acquisitions, conciliations in the Fair Work Commission and various human rights reports. He also has a particular interest in employment practices of not-for-profits and equal opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups.

Please note: This session will only run once in the morning.

thanks to our SPONSORs
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Thanks to our supporters:

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This conference is proudly brought to you by:

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NHVic website  |  |  (03) 9602 1228

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which this conference will be held - The Eastern Marr People - their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past, present and emerging.