RSL LifeCare has officially launched the Riverina Veteran Wellbeing Centre today – the second of its centres in NSW dedicated to supporting veterans and their families in their local community.
Funded by RSL LifeCare, in partnership with RSL NSW, the Riverina Veteran Wellbeing Centre will cater for over 5,000 veterans and their families in the region, providing support across employment, housing, physical and mental wellbeing services, financial assistance, DVA claims and more.
According to veteran mental health service Open Arms (formerly VVCS), veterans and their families face unique experiences during a military career, and in transitioning to civilian life. For many, military service can lead to a strong sense of identity and belonging that needs to be understood when making the switch back to civilian life.
RSL LifeCare Board Chair, Mark Dickson said the Centre is a vital resource for local veterans and their families as they transition from a life of service in the Defence Force to life within the civilian community.
“The Centre serves as a one-stop-shop for veterans and their families to access services from a consortium of providers.
“RSL LifeCare prides itself on delivering face-to-face support to benefit veterans and their families access the services they need and feel engaged in their local community. The Riverina Veteran Wellbeing Centre will go a long way to delivering on this focus and I look forward to opening more Veteran Wellbeing Centres across NSW in the future.”
RSL NSW President Ray James said veteran communities have witnessed the benefits in action since the centres have been established in Nowra and Wagga Wagga, and that the League is calling on the Australian Government for financial support for the Riverina Veteran Wellbeing Centre.
“RSL NSW is calling for this funding commitment for one reason; we know veteran wellbeing centres work,” Mr James said.
“RSL NSW has donated $2.1 million to RSL LifeCare to support the ongoing delivery of services to veterans and their families and I invite an ongoing commitment from the Australian Government, aligning with the broader DVA Veteran Wellbeing Centre strategy.”
RSL LifeCare will offer a wide variety of services from the veteran centre, including:
- Connection to Defence, including ADF Transition programs and activities.
- DVA Claims and Advocacy support services.
- Connection to other Ex-Service Organisations in the local community, including local RSL sub-Branches, Kookaburra Kids, Invictus Australia, The RANCH, Kapooka Neighbourhood House and many others.
- Social connection and holistic veteran and family wellbeing support services.
- Housing assistance services, including the existing NSW Government programs such as Rent Choice Veterans and Link2home.
- Employment support assistance and services including the RSL Veterans Employment Program and connection to the NSW Government Veteran Employment Program.
- Mental health support services and referral services with programs such as Open Arms, the National Centre for Veterans Healthcare and other NSW Health services locally.
The centre recently hosted a special ‘open day’ for veterans and their families. A performance from the Australian Air Force Band as well as information booths, lawn bowls and food stalls were all part of the day.