Aren’t things supposed to slow down toward the end of the year?
If last month wasn’t busy enough, the next is flat out. We have new connections activities starting all the time, and they are a great way to find new interests and new friends. We had a few very popular activities last month, like the Veterans Health Week Reelin’ Veterans ‘Bait to Plate’ and the Alliance Rehab Cooking Classes. ANVAM Persona has been displayed at Homebase for the last month and has inspired a few new artists. We were also very grateful for donations and sponsorship, especially last month from the Nashos and Defence Health Limited. This month is also packed, starting with Twilight Markets on 10 Nov. And later in the month, we have the 2nd of our popular Career Connections Showcases, this time sponsored by Regional Development Australia - Townsville and NW Queensland. We are very happy to see our Veterans Health Training Package for GPs to be conducted in NT this month. Operation NAVIGATOR focus sessions have concluded, and we’ve got some great takeaways in preparation for the pilot startup in Feb 2024. We’ve compiled many of the excellent photo stories published in the Townsville Bulletin that document our journey.
Increasing demand for collaboration from other organisations that care for veterans
It was a busy September at Homebase. Connections activities included modelling, archery and urban wall climbing, among the usual line-ups. And our program of information sessions, now called NAV Sessions, featured Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation’s Vets Hub presentations and interviews. Operation NAVIGATOR Focus Groups have been an outstanding success, with participation from a very wide range of veterans and partners with lived experience helping to refine the information needs of those preparing for transition. This month's big event is the ANVAM Persona Exhibition for the whole month at Homebase, launching with the 1RAR Band in support on 10 October. We will also be hosting Defence Health, and we’ll unveil the sponsorship of Peewee Hut 5. November will be busy, too. We’ll hold the 2nd of our Career Connections Showcases, this time sponsored by Regional Development Australia Townsville and NW Queensland. Social Prescriptions, as reported last month, have also taken off, with GP clinics all over Townsville now participating to benefit their veteran clients. And NTPHN has picked up our GP Training module to better prepare GPs for helping veterans. With the end of the 1st quarter of FY 2023-24, we can also confidently report the significant value of The Oasis Townsville to the Veteran Community Care Ecosystem. This is undoubtedly closely related to the increasing demands placed on us by other Commonwealth and State agencies seeking to coordinate care for the veteran community.
Satisfaction grows for Team Oasis in being here for all the Veteran Community
After the tragic helicopter accident in the Whitsundays during Exercise Talisman Sabre, we were very proud to see an uptick in attendance at Homebase of those who just wanted to be somewhere safe while they thought about how the accident impacted them. Last month, Homebase hosted another amazing Open Day for the Veteran Community in Townsville – our 2nd Anniversary. One of the event's outcomes was the significant uptake of the Oasis App, which is developing rapidly. We also launched our Remembrance Path and have begun selling pavers for inscription to remember those who mean so much to members of our community. We have begun trialling the content of the one-day workshop we’ll launch in early 2024 for all serving veterans who arrive on their first posting and to Townsville for the first time. The information sessions that are the ‘find-out-more’ extension of the Operation NAVIGATOR one-day workshops have begun. We co-hosted lunch with the Veteran Community Business Chamber (VCBC) for senior executives from the Commonwealth Bank keen to support veteran-owned and operated businesses. We have had significant interest in the concept we have been advertising to Townsville’s GPs regarding ‘social prescription’ that generated an ABC story after the podcast of last month. Significant effort is going into examining the new Veterans Transition Strategy, supporting the development of the Defence and Veteran Mental Health Strategy, and discussions being led by the RSL for a peak body and framework for the ESO community. The big event for September is the Townsville District Scale Modellers Expo 2023, which will take up the entire facility for the weekend. We’ve also updated The Oasis Introduction Video - just 5 min long.
Our Employment Program gets stronger by the day
The big event last month, and a very successful one, was our Career Connections Showcase. After 12 months of data collection and analysis using the Australian Social Values Bank, we can prove we benefit the care economy and veteran social ecosystem by $500k per quarter. We are also gathering some Great Stories for anecdotal evidence of the benefit of a Veteran Community Hub. This month is our 2nd Anniversary Open Day promising to be bigger and better with a surprise in store. Operation NAVIGATOR Trial also kicks off this month. Work we did with Black Dog Institute has been launched and is a great resource for Primary Health Networks with a significant veteran community. We have now sealed a deal with Defence Health to sponsor Hut 5. Look out for the ANVAM Persona Exhibition coming to Homebase in October.
Our Pride in our efforts comes from great success stories
Our first Cooking Workshop was in high demand and was an enormous success. The now regular handicraft markets bought in another 2500 people and had unintended benefits. Defence Health Limited has recognised the value of sponsoring a hut and has signed a three-year sponsorship deal. We were privileged to receive Alyce Chipman and Melissa Clifton (partners of CAF and WOFF-AF) for a tour of Homebase. Operation NAVIGATOR from Defence funding has arrived, putting a spring in our step to prove its success. Black Dog Institute has published a Toolkit we have worked on with them for the past nine months. Our fantastic BBQ tables, built by veterans and families, have arrived. Our next two most noteworthy events are the Career Connections Showcase on 19 July and the 2nd Anniversary Open Day on Saturday, 12 August.
Stepping-up connections, jobs and planning for the future
We’ve named another hut, this time after an indigenous veteran who served in WWI and WWII. Early in May we had another visit by senior leadership from DVA. We’re working closely with CSC to present on superannuation, which is extremely popular. In July, we will hold our first signature careers event for veterans and partners. The next craft market is getting close and has every stall space taken. We’ll do a cooking workshop for Men's Health Week. Our BBQ tables are almost complete, and some veterans gained some great carpentry experience. Save the date for our 2nd Anniversary Open Day on 12 August.
Coming together as a Community
Last month we were grateful for a visit by the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Queensland Deputy Commissioner. We held our very first Finance Expo, which was very well attended. National Volunteer Week is on this month, and we are very grateful for all our volunteers who add capacity to our operations. We have nominated for the PM Employment Awards. We will name another hut, this time after an NQ indigenous soldier who served in WWI and WWII. We are holding the next handicraft market on Saturday, 17 June, and the weather will be beautiful in Townsville by then. We’ve been improving our management of clients, participants and subscribers, but there will be a few glitches as we change over. We have been running a popular competition involving social media and coffee at Dirty Boots Café.
Connections activity numbers up significantly
We hit a record number or participants in connections activities at Homebase last month. Early analysis indicates that every $1 spent on The Oasis Townsville provides over double back to the community in social impact, according to the Australian Social Values Bank. Our recent Night Market were a huge success. The Queensland Government Veterans’ Legal Service pilot has proven its value in the first 12 months of operation. It’s great to see the change in direction of RSL Townsville with the change in President. In the coming months, the big activities will be a financial expo and a jobs expo. Easter will be a well-deserved break for all, especially Team Oasis.
Settling in for significant growth and development
The Defence and Member Family Welcome Expo was a fantastic day. Banjo & Coffee Breakfasts are growing quickly, with over 100 at the last one. New Operation NAVIGATOR Project Manager has got Operation NAVIGATOR rolling quickly. Changes to the presentation on the website of events and activity at Homebase have improved ease of access. Qualitative Evaluation by CQU was briefed to the Board last month. Dirty Boots Café is going strong and numbers at Homebase for connections activities are still increasing. One of our Directors has been promoted in the QPS to Station Chief. Defence Health Limited Board was hosted and briefed at Homebase. And we are holding our first-ever massive Night Market this month on the grounds of Homebase.
Off to a flying start
Happy New Year. We hope everyone had a good break and refreshed over the holiday season. Team Oasis has been back on deck for a few weeks and Homebase is already humming. Late last year we farewelled our Patron Brigadier Kahlil Fegan and welcomed our new Patron Brigadier David McCammon. Although we had half a month in December and another in January, lots still happened. We had Santa visit and Defence Housing Australia sponsored a Peewee Hut. We had a fantastic turnout at the Veterans Gaming Australia and Townsville Tabletop Gamers Expo at Homebase, and we launched #CheckYourMates in Darwin. Our client numbers continue to grow, and we’ve also had some big wins in all areas of support, particularly in the veteran's employment space. An evaluation of The Oasis Townsville by CQU was finalised and will be briefed to the Board this month. We have settled on a Strategic Calendar for the year to ensure all the big activities are spaced out sufficiently. This allow us to plan and implement each one, with some of those being markets, book fairs and open days, with more planned. In February the big event for the whole veteran community is the DMFS Expo at Townsville Stadium on Saturday 11 February. We continue to host many of Townsville’s ESOs to support their efforts in supporting the veteran community. Homebase has lots going on too, from crafts to singing, bands and wargaming and modelling to name a few – check out What’s On, on the website or the Oasis App. It also great to see a few of the other 15 Veterans and Families Hubs standing up also.
We’ll End a Great Year with a Big Bang
Last month started with a visit by DVA Minister Matt Keogh and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. We held our AGM and published our Annual Report. Our last Handicraft Market for 2022 saw a record 30 stalls. Operation COMPASS ends with a very well-attended event at Homebase. We have more than doubled the number of VBA members this year. We have begun working with Joint Transition Authority for the grant funding for Operation NAVIGATOR. In a couple of weeks, we host a veterans gaming expo with registrations filling fast. We will also host Defence Housing Australia, unveiling a plaque recognising their sponsorship of The Oasis Townsville for the next three years. This is the last ONtarget for 2022; the next one will be the first week of Feb 2023. All of us at Team Oasis wish you a fantastic Christmas and a very happy new year.
Slowing down towards the end of the year - NOT
The big news is the Federal Budget included funding for us to execute Operation NAVIGATOR and it’s not an app! The third of our ventures into project managing employment opportunities has been a big success – Digital Skilling Capabilities. We took part in Veteran Health Week with a ‘Cast, Catch, Cook’ activity with veterans and families. The second Scuba Course was a great success. We received another big donation from Lamberts Produce who have taken us on as their charity of choice. The Veterans Business Alliance is now 20 strong. The end of Operation COMPASS is closing in fast. In sad news Lil Somers who we named one of our Peewee Huts after in August has passed away at 101 years old. We welcome another compensation advocate to our fold. International Volunteers Manager Day is on 5 November, and we will celebrate. For all the kids we have Santa@TOT coming in December. And there are many activities planned for the next 6 weeks, including the very popular Handicraft Markets.