The Outer Eastern Association of Community Centres was formed in April 1979 by a number of Community groups who had been meeting for the previous 18 months and recognised the benefits of formalising their group. The members identified a key benefit as follows: “As a group we could further assist with and develop mutual support and sharing of resources between Community Centres in the region.” The acronym CHAOS was already being used in 1979 but it is unclear if that was to reflect aspects of the group’s name or the era in which it was formed.
Over the years, membership of the group continued to expand and the Association was successful in gaining funding to employ a networker to resource the group. In 1997 the members became an Incorporated Association, formally becoming the Community Houses Association of the Outer eastern Suburbs Inc, known as CHAOS Inc.
In 2017 CHAOS is a network of 31 Neighbourhood Houses, Community Houses, Learning Centres, Community Centres and Community Cottages covering the local government areas of Yarra Ranges, Knox, Maroondah, parts of Manningham and Whitehorse. We also have one member organisation located in Murrindindi Shire.
The original vision of developing and sharing resources and mutual support still remain at the core of our existence.
Recognising the diverse nature and the autonomy of each Member Organisation of the Network, the purposes of the Network are:
- To be a mutual support network and information sharing group for all Neighbourhood and Community Houses which are Member Organisations
- To provide an advocacy role in representing the interests of CHAOS Member Houses in development of public policy and in sustaining viability
- To support individual Houses in developing and maintaining good practice within their organisations
- To provide training, access to training, and professional development opportunities for Member Houses
- To develop and implement policies and strategies of the Governance Committee
- To promote the philosophies of the Neighbourhood House movement within the wider community
- To work with other networks to strengthen and enrich the Neighbourhood House movement at regional, state and national levels.
Committee of Governance
The committee of governance is made up of elected staff, volunteers and committee members from CHAOS member organisations. Committee members are elected as individuals not as representatives of their organisation or another group.
The CHAOS Annual General Meeting is held in May and the meeting is a celebration of the Network and the fabulous contribution made by our members to their communities. Awards are given out at the AGM, and further information can be found on the Awards Page.