INVERLOCH Community House along with the 19 other Houses in the Neighbourhood House Gippsland (NHG) Region are gearing up to celebrate Neighbourhood House Week on 8-15th May 2020.

Neighbourhood House Week is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the role of Neighbourhood Houses and centres in communities.

The theme for this year’s NH Week could not have been more relevant in these unprecedented times of social distancing and isolation. The 2020 theme is Loneliness: the solution is community.

The best way to deal with loneliness is to get connected to your community.

This may seem impossible with what is happening in the world at the moment but all it means is we have to adjust how we connect.

Since the beginning of March, there has been a massive increase in the use of communication on video conferencing and other online platforms. However, not everyone is connected to the wider world on the internet. It is important that we stay connected and reach out to family, friends, neighbours and our communities on a whole.

Antonia Halloran-Lavelle, the network manager of NHG, said: “Although we can’t call into the local Neighbourhood House at the moment, we can still connect with them. The dedicated managers of these house[s] are all continuing work from their homes or offices across Gippsland and are still supporting their communities just in different ways.”

This year, Neighbourhood Houses across Gippsland are coming together to celebrate 2020 Neighbourhood House Week. Each house will put its own unique spin on the event incorporating some element of the symbol of Neighbourhood Houses Victoria of either a house or a heart.

Inverloch Community House has chosen the heart.

The coordinator of Inverloch, Lisa Archibald, “hopes that by decorating our houses, gardens, footpaths with hearts, will help people feel more connected to their community”.

“A kind of virtual hug. We are really looking forward to sharing the communities’ creative ways of supporting each other.”

The Inverloch-Kongwak Primary Schools are onboard, with the principal Brett saying: “We will be supporting the Community Art Project in a big way throughout our school community within our newsletter and remote and flexible learning program.”

Inverloch Community House is asking the community to share community heart creations by emailing the house at admin-ichi@dcsi.net.au or post on your Facebook page including #iheartinvy.

Inverloch Community House is also asking community members to allow Lisa to visit the hearts with social distancing in place. If you would like a visit, just let Lisa know in the email.

While Inverloch Community House’s doors may be closed, now and over the coming months, the house is offering activities and learning experiences through video links, webpage videos and social media posts.

The following activities are currently running.

* The Chatty Crafters group is continuing with virtual contact between them.

* Walkie Talkies are still walking and talking, but individually exercising and ‘Zooming’ the chat.

* Bass Coast Writers are writing in isolation and sharing their work amongst the group.

* The Inverloch Camera Club are keeping in contact via their Facebook page.

* The house’s tech gurus are working to help people use their devices with phone coaching. Appointments with them for one-on-one coaching can be made through the house.

* The house will be having their popular Sour Dough making classes with Lisa via video link; stay tuned for details.

* They are having an acrylic art pour class via Zoom on May 15; details on the webpage.

Contact the house on 0490 814 531 to talk to Lisa and organise a class or to join one of the groups.

Their webpage has lots of information on the activity pages for virtual experiences, videos of past classes and how to enrol in upcoming future activities. See www.inverlochcommunityhouse.org.au.

Find the house on Facebook @inverlochcommunityhouse.