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Monthly Updates

Worth our weight in good health

May 2024

It was another successful night at the Twilight Markets in April despite Strand Markets changing their date. The Alliance Rehab cooking classes are also well supported and RSL Townsville Banjo Breaky Gatherings still see over 100 participants each fortnight. A gathering of the ESO community at Homebase identified 12 big issues for us all to work together on for our veteran community. We are grateful to the Cowboys for sponsoring our participation in the ANZAC Day Match ‘Toyota Hilux Torpedo’ for which we received a generous donation. An evaluation, driven by an Australian Government-funded international longitudinal study by Melbourne University, reveals The Oasis Townsville saved the health economy over $2.5mil over the last six months. Two big events coming up are our annual Open Day which this year will be an Open Night. And our second for the year Career Connections Showcase in July.

Lots happening after hours at Homebase

April 2024

Operation NAVIGATOR kicked off in February for Block 1. NAV Sessions included sufficient income, meaningful work, and good physical and mental health; most were connections activities, too, win-win. We’ve signed an MOU with Australian Catholic University and an agreement for ACU to evaluate NAVIGATOR. Two ladies represented us superbly at the Veterans’ Families Forum in Brisbane. We have our first Twilight Markets this month, on 12 April. Soon after, we host the first Townsville ESOs Collaborative Forum to nail down the biggest issues for the veteran wellbeing ecosystem in our region. This month, we also have a two-day Story Telling Workshop. All this is building to our annual Open Day - although it will be an ‘Open Night’ this time, given the success of our evening activities in the heat. Fortunately, our new coffee machine has just turned up to enable us to increase production during busy periods. Registrations have already begun for our veterans (both serving and ex-serving) to attend our next increasingly popular Career Connections Showcase in July.

Operation NAVIGATOR is now the centre of operations and will become BAU in time

March 2024

Our Career Connections Showcase last month was the best yet. More of the very popular Alliance Rehabilitation Cooling Classes will come after last month's fully booked class. We had a slight hiccup on the Leisure Expo so had to postpone, but its coming. Operation NAVIGATOR Solid Foundations Workshop has commenced with a fantastic story. It was good to see Defence consulting serving and ex-serving veterans and families on their recent tour to Townsville for the Defence and Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy Roadshow. Our NAV Sessions are ramping up - do you want an easy way to learn something you should know, and for partners too? The Exposure Draft is out for the proposed legislation, and we have begun actively collecting your thoughts. Coming up in the weeks ahead is the first Twilight Market for the year, a Townsville Hike and Explore Session, and a free Pilates offer by a Townsville business.

Community Getting Closer and Stronger

February 2024

Welcome back to 2024 at The Oasis Townsville. Homebase survived TC Kirrily, and we are well and truly back in business. We have a very busy year lined up supporting our connections program, referring clients to the best veteran-supportive services and programs in Townsville and helping everyone plan their future. Banjos and Coffee starts again this Friday 9 Feb and continues every off-pay Friday throughout the year, proudly sponsored by RSL Townsville. We have our third Career Connections Showcase on 21 Feb, and our Veterans Business Alliance members will present to any serving or ex-serving veteran or partner keen to find a second career. Watch out for our first Leisure Expo on 2 March that will take up the entire Homebase. We are also continuing the highly sought-after cooking classes by our partner Alliance Rehabilitation. The newly formed Health and Wellbeing Branch in Defence will be at Homebase on 12 Feb at 1730h to brief serving veterans and partners (and of course any ex-serving veterans and partners too) on the developing Defence and Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. We have done a complete review of what impact and outcome measures we were collecting to be sure the answers were helping make us better. We’ve had many ESOs in Townsville over the last six months express an enthusiasm to get together and ensure we are all working together – watch this space. Oh... and we have belly dancing starting too – check out What’s ON.

It is great to look back and see the future

December 2023

Last month was particularly busy with a night market and a Career Connection Showcase, both of which broke records. We also had a Veterans Community Integration Advisory Committee (VCIAC) meeting with reps from key stakeholders in the veteran community. Our continuing efforts in Operation COMPASS also benefited GPs in the NT. Our NAV Sessions are proving very popular, with some topics of great interest to veterans keeping an eye on their future. We’ve now spent six months perfecting the startup content for the Operation NAVIGATOR Workshops called Solid Foundations. As the year closes out, we can report an average of over 1500 participants utilising Homebase every month in over 120 activities. Hours of operation over the end-of-year break are on the website. The next ONtarget will be the Feb 2024 edition. Have a great break and rest, as 2024 promises to be busier and even more exciting.

Aren’t things supposed to slow down toward the end of the year?

November 2023

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

October 2023

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

September 2023

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

August 2023

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

July 2023

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

June 2023

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

May 2023

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.

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