New Awards Recognise Excellence in Neighbourhood Houses Thu 10 May 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Cassy O'Connor, MP Minister for Human Services Download hi-res version Download hi-res version Download hi-res version The contribution of Tasmania's Neighbourhood Houses to their local communities has been recognised at the inaugural Tasmanian Association for Community Houses Awards this morning. The Premier, Lara Giddings, and the Minister for Human Services, Cassy O'Connor, today presented the awards at a function in Bellerive, timed to coincide with Neighbourhood House Week. "Neighbourhood houses are the heart and soul of our community, and I'm delighted to be able to pay tribute to their fine work at today's presentation," Ms Giddings said. "The high calibre of nominations shows just how many good ideas are out there, and how small groups of committed people can make a difference in their communities." Ms Giddings presented the Building Community Award to the Goodwood Community Centre's Playgroup. "This wonderful program brings the elderly and young people together, giving residents at the Strathaven Nursing Home the opportunity to enjoy singing and playing with the children or just sitting and spending time with them," she said. The Minister for Human Services, Cassy O'Connor, presented the Supporting People and their Family Award to the Burnie Community House "Community Food Space" and Free Community Markets program. "This is an excellent way of promoting better health and wellbeing, by giving people access to fresh, healthy food and encouraging good eating habits," she said. "The Burnie Community House has educated a huge section of the community, along with providing free produce from their very own community garden, demonstrating just how well a Community House can identify a need in their local area and address it in a real and sustainable way." Ms Giddings said the State Government continued to recognise the important work of Community Houses right around Tasmania. "We know that our Neighbourhood Houses are ideally placed to provide that local support to their communities," she said. "That is why we have increased funding in the 2011-12 Budget to over $4 million, including an extra $25,000 for all 33 state-funded Neighbourhood Houses." Ms O'Connor said Neighbourhood Houses supported people and their families, and also helped give local residents a say in how programs were run. "We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful people prepared to give their time to work in our Neighbourhood Houses," she said. "These Houses are places where people can learn, where they can interact with others and where they can get support when they need it. "They exemplify that great sense of community that exists here in Tasmania."