Our History

Local Neighbourhood Centres have been operating in Australia from the late 1960’s although gained significant momentum during the 1970’s alongside the women’s movement.  As charity and Government based responses were changing during this period, the Whitlam Government undertook a variety of social reforms that included Community Development initiatives through Neighbourhood hubs.  As a consequence they have an emphasis on Community Development approaches, location, social integration and community learning.  They feature multiple services and activities that are often specifically relevant to the local area in which they are located, often operating from welcoming “homes” in geographical areas of need.  Activities that build social connection and offer education are regularly offered.  There is a strong acknowledgement that each local community has strengths and assets hence their use of vast numbers of local volunteers.  They are effective at collaborating with a variety of community organisations such as other social services, local Government, schools and business in order to build community based responses to local needs.  More importantly and most uniquely in the human services sector, Neighbourhood Centres traditionally operate within in a citizen led community development framework.   

"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about."

– Margaret J. Wheatley

 

 

The links between Queensland Neighbourhood and Community Centres has evolved throughout the history of Neighbourhood Centres.  Biennial community development conferences in the 1970’s featured representatives of Neighbourhood Houses, academics, practitioners and community members.  In 1983, various organisations and associations involved community work in Queensland began to form further links, to provide support for one another and a united voice on a range of community issues.  A number of these organisations formed the Queensland Family Support Association.  Other groups associated with community centres also came together to promote community development.

Recognising that they shared similar objectives and ideals, the two groups formed an alliance, and the Community Centres and Family Support Network of Queensland was established. This network became incorporated as the Community Centres and Family Support Network Association Queensland Inc. in 1997.  The state meeting in Cairns in October 1997 became the First General Meeting of the newly incorporated body. 

The Association (re-named the Queensland Families and Communities Association in 2013) is a Queensland state-wide network of organisations involved in community development and service delivery activities. Organisations include Community Centres, Neighbourhood Centres and Family Support Services.  The QFCA is recognised as the peak body of Neighbourhood Houses in Queensland and as such, has relationships with other peak bodies of Neighbourhood Houses across Australia such as Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania and the Local Community Services Association NSW.  The QFCA is the state representative of the Australian Neighbourhood Houses and Centres Association, the national peak body for centres across Australia.   

In Queensland, more than 170 community organisations participate in and/or are supported through the QFCA’s Networks at regional and state levels.  124 Neighbourhood Centres in Queensland are funded by the Queensland Government however many more are funded purely by local communities and philanthropic organisations.   The QFCA has a current membership base of 94 organisations representing a significant proportion of Neighbourhood and Community Centres across Queensland.

 Objects of the QFCA

 The Association serves to provide support for regional forums where members from participating organisations meet with others for   the sharing of ideas, information and support, addressing issues of local, regional and state-wide significance. At both a regional and   state-wide level, the Association aims are:

  • To undertake a proactive and unified approach to lobbying government and non-government agencies on policy development and funding;

  • To facilitate consultations with government and non-government agencies; community-based services for families and individuals;

  • To establish and maintain effective representation on relevant state and national peak bodies;

  • To support paid and unpaid staff in member organisations;

  • To support member organisation management committees;

  • To disseminate information to members, and

  • To extend the network by promoting the Association to eligible non-members;

 And to:

  • Lead and influence social change with Community Centres, their Networks and their communities;

  • Promote relationships between Neighbourhood Centres and regional Networks to maintain a united vision;

  • Provide support, professional advice and information to members;

  • Assist in raising the profile of Neighbourhood /Community Centres;

  • Participate actively in ANHCA, the national peak Neighbourhood Centres body.

©2019 Queensland Families and Community Association