In response to a ministerial direction that Neighbourhood Centres apply minimum fees to their courses the Gippsland Regional Neighbourhood House Group is writing a ‘Position Paper’, outlining the sector’s need to be exempt. The Paper will be sent by the end of July 2005 and copies will be available from the Association of Neighbourhood Houses & Learning Centres (ANHLC).
Neighbourhood Centres are often sited in low income areas where it has been shown there is the greatest need for that ‘sense of belonging’ which the sector has provided successfully for many decades. Having to ask for proof of hardship before someone begins a course clearly flies in the face of this need.
The Paper will asdk that Neighbourhood centres be given the right to apply fees and charges according to the need of individual communities, based on the accumulated knowledge of individual communities. To do otherwise and impose a ‘top down’ approach, replacing the usual ‘bottom up’ approach goes against the philosophy of the sector and compromises its core beliefs.