To celebrate Neighbourhood House week, 30 neighbourhood houses in Melbourne’s south-east are running a Moveable Feast from Friday 10 May to Saturday 18 May.
The Yarra Ranges Council is home to 11 community neighbourhood houses, seven of which will be taking part in the event alonsgide more than 400 across Victoria.
Community Houses Association of Outer Eastern Suburbs (CHAOS) project worker Leanne FitzGerald, also from Coonara Community House in Ferntree Gully, said that although the centres did great work year-round, Neighbourhood House Week provided a real opportunity for them to showcase their great work and extend their reach to those in the community who might not yet be aware of what their local house had to offer.
“Coonara Community House is doing a lunch and they’ll run a lunch that focuses on using the harvested food from their community garden and giving people a tasty fresh meal and an opportunity to meet new people,” she said.
Ms FitzGerald said that studies had shown that loneliness and feelings of disconnect were increasingly prevalent, and that she hoped anyone having those feelings could come to the Moveable Feast to enjoy a meal in a welcoming environment.
“Neighbourhood and community houses work at the heart of their communities, offering activities, programs and services that support the objectives of social inclusion and address factors that can lead to social exclusion,” she said.
“In short, they bring people together, help combat loneliness and provide the human connection that is so vital to health and wellbeing.
“Food is always a good drawcard to engage people but also it sets a very convivial atmosphere to sit and make friends and get to know new people.”
The event is completely free of charge and Ms FitzGerald said anyone was welcome.
The Moveable Feast will officially start in the Yarra Ranges on 15 May with a breakfast at Yarra Junction Community House.
A morning tea at Woori Yallock Community House will follow, then lunches at Seville Community House and Coonara Community House, an afternoon tea at Mount Evelyn Community House, and finally dinner at the Chirnside Park Community Hub.
Selby Community House will host a morning tea on 17 May and Japara Community House will follow suit on 18 May.