Neighbourhood House Week, happening across Australia on 8 -14 May 2021, is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the role of neighbourhood houses and centres in the community.















the solution is community


Are you feeling lonely?


If you answered ‘yes’, you are not alone. 1 in 4 Australians are lonely, and this is even higher in some age groups. [1]


Humans are social creatures who thrive on social connection and companionship. When we don’t receive this regularly, we become lonely, and this can negatively impact our mental health, our physical health and our overall happiness and sense of purpose in the world.


International research also shows that loneliness has a massive economic cost. In the UK, it’s estimated to cost 32 billion pounds per year [2] and in the US, $6.7 billion among older Americans alone. [3]


With a quarter of Australians feeling lonely on a regularly basis, and similar statistics being found across the world, experts are calling it the “loneliness epidemic”. [4]



So how can we as a country address the loneliness epidemic?


“The most effective way to reduce loneliness is to make people feel connected to their community.” Irene Verins, VicHealth [5]


All levels of government need to prioritise loneliness as a serious public health issue and invest in community infrastructure and programs that encourage people to gather, socialise and participate in community life.


This is exactly what Neighbourhood Houses and Centres do. There are 1,000 of them spread across Australia – that’s more than the number of McDonald's restaurants – and they provide safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with community, form friendships, and become involved in community projects, programs and groups.


And we know that when it comes to loneliness, they work. In a recent survey of 47,000 participants, the top three benefits people identified from participating at a neighbourhood house were associated with community connection, participation and reducing social isolation. [6]


So if you’re feeling lonely or isolated, we encourage you to visit your nearby Neighbourhood House or Centre, have a cuppa and a friendly chat, and see how you can get involved.


[1] Loneliness Study 2018 - Australian Psychological Society

[2] The cost of disconnected community – Eden Project Communities

[3] Some older Americans spend more than 10 waking hours alone here’s why that could be harmful

[4] Feeling isolated? You're not alone. Here's why 1 in 4 of us is lonely - ABC

[5] Loneliness: a new public health challenge emerges VicHealth

[6] Connecting a Diverse Victoria – Neighbourhood Houses Victoria


What is a Neighbourhood House?


A Neighbourhood House is a friendly, informal place where community members meet for a variety of activities at minimal cost. They can also be called Neighbourhood Centres, Family Centres, Community Centres, Community Resource Centres (CRCs) and Learning Centres.

Whatever name they go by, these centres reflect the needs and aspirations of their own community and provide activities in response to community input.

Activities for adults and children are as diverse as the communities the Neighbourhood House serves and can include workshops, discussions, displays and social events in areas such as arts and crafts, health and fitness, business and finance, computing and IT, and personal development.

Many Neighbourhood Houses provide crèche during activities and some have youth groups, self-help and support groups, playgroups and after-school care.

Neighbourhood Centres offer rooms for hire on a casual or ongoing basis, and CRCs have a range of business services available, including meeting rooms and video-conferencing facilities.