Moreland Volunteer Hub- Pilot Project (MVH)
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The Moreland Volunteer Hub (MVH) Pilot Project is a trial attempting to model new ways of locally sharing resources around volunteering within the Moreland City Council area. Focussed around four participating Neighbourhood Houses in the City of Moreland, the initiative uses the administrative platform from a collaborating project (Northbridge Volunteers) which operates from Robinson Reserve Neighbourhood House in Coburg and the Digital Hub at Brunswick Neighbourhood House. It currently also includes Nicholson Street Neighbourhood House and Fawkner Community House. The Aboriginal Community Elders Service in Brunswick is a fifth partner in the trial which came via Northbridge Volunteers.
Beyond the close collaborations centred around the five main partners in the pilot, any Moreland-based organisation is invited to connect and develop co-supportive relationships at regular volunteer management meetings.
Regular Meetings for Moreland-based organisations:
This element of the MVH provides a regular place for Moreland-based organisations who involve volunteers, to meet, discuss issues and develop collaborations. This happens out of Nicholson Street Neighbourhood House on a regular basis.
The Local-Focused Neighbourhood Model:
A key part of the trial centres around the four participating neighbourhood houses and aims to develop strongly localised neighbourhood-based partnerships around supporting people to find rewarding volunteering.
The idea is to expand on the role of neighbourhood houses as local hubs for linking to other services. Neighbourhood houses have for years been providing volunteer opportunities at a very local level. They have also supported local people to link to a range of other social, community and health services.
In the MVH trail, we are testing the ability of neighbourhood houses to link local volunteers not only to the house itself, but also to partner organisations in the neighbourhood. The trial is supporting the four houses involved to reach out and form close collaborations to map and link people to a broader range of locally available volunteer options than the house can supply. In particular, houses are being encouraged to partner with organisations that might have capacity to provide ‘team volunteering’. Team volunteering can often not be sustained in neighbourhood houses due to limited space but where they can be provided, they strongly benefit the volunteer seeking both a useful task AND a socially connective experience.
This model enables potential volunteers to find face-to-face support from the welcoming environment of the neighbourhood house to access volunteer opportunities, often where a more impersonal referral system might see volunteers lose confidence and disengage. The highly local scale of these alliances make it much more feasible for MVH staff to support volunteers with high quality assistance (such as facilitating face-to-face introductions and handover).
The end product aims to be a high value localised support system helping potential volunteers find their way into volunteering by sharing the networks and relationships of the local neighbourhood house. Volunteering locally is also generally more sustainable, rewarding and connective.
The MVH has, at its centre, a sophisticated volunteer-driven and operated system that can efficiently support the recruitment, registration and management systems of participating partners. To provide this, it draws on the administrative services of the Northbridge Volunteers project.
ACES Koorie Community Capacity-Building Trial:
Capacity-building within Koorie Community organisations is a slow and difficult process and rarely succeeds without sustained goodwill and commitment to maintaining open and respectful relationships.
Through an alliance with the Northbridge Volunteers project at Robinson Reserve Neighbourhood House in Coburg, the MVH pilot has been able to engage and support ACES in East Brunswick. ACES (Aboriginal Community Elder Services) is one of a very few Indigenous-community Aged Care services in Victoria. As such, it is one of the most valued community organisations in Moreland.
Owned and managed by the Koorie community for the Koorie community, this organisation has developed close relationship with the initiators of the Northbridge Volunteers project over a period of years. This has led to Northbridge Volunteers assisting ACES to develop, and successfully recruit, volunteers for both one-off events and on-going volunteer roles.
Through the MVH pilot, Northbridge has been supported to accept a request from ACES to provide closer mentoring on volunteer management, systems and standards. As a result of this pilot, ACES has agreed to have an MVH-trained volunteer base themselves within ACES fortnightly to work closely with the ACES Volunteer Coordinator.