Community building NATIONAL NETWORk
A NATIONAL NETwork of community
Power is an initiative of the City of Wodonga in north east Victoria. It is a practical exercise in devolving
power to neighbours that deserves to be replicated in communities around
coordinates Neighbourhood Power in Wodonga. This is how
she describes the project:
a city that is rich with neighbourhoods – Parents help each
other with child minding, potluck dinners on Friday nights, at a different house
each week. Families take turns at updating the neighbourhood notice boards with
local birthdays, activities and bits of news. A street that owns a set of pink
plastic flamingo’s that turn up in a different front yard each week and children
make great detours walking to school to include this street in the journey
because it’s so much fun finding the flamingos. Adults and teenagers working
together to fix the neighbourhood children’s broken bikes. Young people giving
impromptu concerts in local parks on weekends.
Wodonga, we acknowledge that the potential for this fantastic picture already
exists within the imagination, skills and capacities of our local neighbourhoods.
instead of the traditional approach of “harnessing” all this potential and
“leading” our people forward, Neighbourhood Power is putting the leadership and
power firmly back into the hands of our residents. It’s up to our residents to
come forward with their visions and dreams and plans – our role is to walk along
side our community people and act as guide, enabler, facilitator and capacity
builder. Quite a different approach!
the key tools to this new development approach is our matching grants scheme.
The concept of matching grants is acknowledging that communities are full of
fantastic assets, skills and talents. With a few dollars, and courage on
council’s behalf to get out of the way and let people get on with their own
projects, not only does the city get infrastructure and community development
outcomes, but also improved relationships, real community ownership of the city
and a higher level of democratic involvement.
What is a matching grant?
qualify for a matching grant, a group of neighbours come up with a project,
request a grant, and match the grant dollars with a contribution of their own.
example, 4 neighbours decide that there are
a number of new people in their area that they don’t know. They get together one
and plan a bbq event...They can apply
for up to $x from the matching fund to supply food, entertainment, decorations
same concept works for activities such as playground upgrades, traffic calming
activities, environmental projects, public art projects. The list is as long as
We are thinking long term with this project and so have also developed a young
neighbour fund to
build and motivate the interest of young people in civic
engagement. The fund provides funding for young people to receive education,
training or mentoring that will give them the skills and confidence to
participate in their local neighbourhood.
received some great advice and support from Jim Diers from the Department of
Neighbourhoods in Seattle and are motivated and enthusiastic about growing this
program into a way of life in Wodonga."
We would like to hear from individuals and organisations around the country interested in
pressing their municipality to introduce Neighbourhood Power.
Our aim is to get 50 local councils across the country to take up
Further information will be posted in the members
section of the Community Building National Network,
including resources and contacts for people sharing this interest and wanting to
Register your interest in participating by using the
form below.Community Building National Network
03 9824 4713