ECHUCA Neighbourhood House (ENH) is an education legend.
The organisation recently won the Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Loddon Mallee Regional Council Learn Local Legends award.
ENH manager Shandel Keele said the award was a wonderful surprise.
‘‘It was a great honour to receive the award and it’s nice to know we are on the right track with what we are doing here at the house,’’ she said.
‘‘Being recognised for the effort we are putting in by ACFE was wonderful, but they also encourage and support us to do more and awards like these help you to find that bit of extra effort to improve and provide courses to our community.’’
Through its partnerships with Campaspe Education Partnership, Good Shepherd Finance, local government, Mirrimbeena Aboriginal Education Group and other community organisations, ENH has developed specialised pre-accredited programs and a range of engagement programs and activities to target vulnerable and disadvantaged people, including indigenous people, vulnerable women returning to work, unemployed, under-employed, the homeless and early school leavers.
‘‘We have had many people undertake our courses and then go onto employment, volunteering or training,’’ Ms Keele said.
‘‘Our courses are designed to be slow paced and in a casual environment, so people can find their confidence to learn and grow.
‘‘People get many different things out of our programs. Some need a place to start their journey into further education, so come to us to gain skills and confidence. Others are looking to volunteer either here or elsewhere and need to gain or update their abilities. Some just need to learn how to use a computer and have no other agenda.
‘‘We do our best to accommodate every individual who comes through our door and support them in their journey in any way we can.’’
The awards recognised the contribution of the more than 300 Learn Local organisations and staff who work tirelessly to help others.
Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp congratulated ENH and said Learn Locals had benefited from the government’s $20 million Reconnect Program, which provided wrap around support to help Victoria’s most disadvantaged learners into training.
‘‘Learn Locals make a huge difference in their community and it’s all thanks to organisations like Echuca Neighbourhood House and the great programs they conduct,’’ he said.