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CHAIR'S UPDATES

Off to a flying start

February 2023

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

December 2022

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

November 2022

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.

What can we do better, more of, or differently?

October 2022

September saw more intensive activity on our qualitative and quantitative evaluation processes. We’ve had another bumper connections usage of Homebase, and the financial sessions are proving popular. QBE Hut is proving very suitable for the in-location outsourced wellbeing services we offer members of the veteran community. Our Service Delivery Team have seen a 16% increase in client numbers and referrals. Operation NAVIGATOR completed a final working group with key stakeholders for the upcoming trial. Sales of our EKO Coffee (roasted by Dominion and powered by Ottos Townsville) have seen strong demand, including inside Lavarack. Our Smartphone App gets stronger every day, especially with organisations around town utilising the Digital Veteran ID. We have a Veteran Health Week fishing and cooking activity called "Cast, Connect, Cook with Mates", and we’ve been busy supporting other organisations to conduct other VHW activities, including some at Homebase, and participating in the RSL Townsville Veteran Health Festival. We are focussed on Digital Skills this month in collaboration with others – Info Briefing on 11 Oct at 1700h at Homebase. In October, we will also focus on expanding our successful Handicraft Markets into a Hobby Expo. For those interested, we have also now published our Annual Report for FY2021-22, and it is available on our website: About Us/Our Official Data.

Measurement shows strong performance

September 2022

We now have one of our Huts officially named the 'Lil Somers Hut', named by WWII veteran and 101-year-old, Lil Somers herself. The Craft Market was a tremendous success; keep your eye out for the Hobby Expo in October. The Oasis not only took out the 2022 Queensland Architect Awards, but it has now also taken out Queensland Housing and Construction Project of the year. But the big news is Dirty Boots re-opened with over 1500 customers in the first week after it underwent a massive makeover, and our Dominion roasted coffee – EKO is a big hit. Do you want to feel more in control of your finances? Try one of our monthly 1hr sessions after work starting on 5 Sep. We have the Townsville District Scale Modelers competition on Sat 10 Sep. CQU will conduct two days of evaluation workshops on 12 and 13 Sep.  We are learning fast that our niche role is bringing together multiple agencies and organisations offering to support veterans and partners so that the collective value of their individual offerings is greater than any of the supports offered. – next big event is the Digital Skilling Info Brief on 11 Oct at Homebase.  

Books, Scuba and Coffee

August 2022

Townsville's Coolest Bookfair did it again with over 3000 customers and over 6000 books sold – well done to BrothersNBooks. The Oasis has been supporting ACU in establishing a facility to support veterans and partners getting into uni. Our Veterans Business Alliance (VBA) is growing strongly. We've had some high-profile visitors at Home Base interested in our efforts. Having been in our new Home Base for a year, we have engaged some external professionals to help us evaluate our operations. We will follow up on the raging success of our last Scuba Diving Expedition with another this month. Hut 3 will be named by a 101-year-old veteran. We will relaunch Dirty Boots Café and launch our coffee blend – guess what it's called?

Townsville confirmed as biggest garrison town by ABS

July 2022

Includes: Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, Official Launch of the Black Dog Institute Report, Anniversary Open Day, visit by new Minister for Veterans Affairs, ADF Transition Expo and Joint Transitions Authority info session, #CheckYourMates BBQs and Banjo & Coffee Breakys, our Architects won the NQ Regional Architects Award, Lamberts Produce Cook-off and fundraiser, growth of the Veterans Business Alliance, new activities starting at Home Base, Townsville's Coolest Book Fair by BrothersNBooks. Dirty Boots Café temp closure. Handicraft Markets. Next scuba diving operation. Naming of Hut 4. New record, over 10,000 hours of utilisation of Home Base.

Prevention through Connection - In Action

June 2022

Includes: Scuba Diving Camp, National Volunteer Week, #CheckYourMates BBQ and Grant Support Workshops for Operation COMPASS, Outdoor Movie Night, Anniversary Open Day, smartphone app, Queensland Government Legal Service established at The Oasis, Architect Awards, Support to Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

Home Base getting busier by the day

May 2022

We are now averaging over 1000 visitors per month to our Home Base for the Veteran Community. The Free Queensland Government legal advice for the veteran community provided by Townsville Community Law is proving a big hit. The Grants Workshops for ESOs and community groups were very well received, and we have more arranged in the months ahead – see What’s On. Some amazing employment and education initiatives are rolling out – the latest being the advanced manufacturing opportunity to get veterans trained and employed immediately. We have the Royal Commission in Townsville from 20 June and the Commissioners are set to visit The Oasis Townsville to see our operations. All systems go for a re-enactment of our Grand Launch with our Anniversary Open Day on 25 Jun – put it in the diary. Our coffee and banjo breakfasts are a big hit, even with our local members at State and Federal level. Do you have our app yet?

Our 1st Anniversary approaching fast and getting busier

April 2022

It’s hard to believe how fast we are approaching the first anniversary of taking ownership of our magnificent veteran community centre at Oonoonba and celebrations are in the wind. We are preparing for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide to come to Townsville on 20 June. We’ve had a fantastic uptake of positions on our Grant Preparation Support Workshops coming up this month. Our Veterans Business Alliance is taking off. We have Townsville Community Law doing a trial for a free legal service from Home Base. We are also preparing for the second of the BrothersNBooks highly successful “Townsville’s Coolest Book Fair”. Our Craft Fair is also well advanced in preparations. The scuba activity being planned for next month is very popular the team are getting ready to trial the activity we found most sought after by younger veterans. We have begun collecting KPI to prove to ourselves (and pinch ourselves sometimes) how successful the concept of our Oasis really is. And the activities on What’s On are growing strongly.

Connections growing!

March 2022

Our connections activities utilising the huts at Home Base have started off quickly despite the Omicron scare of February. The Veterans Business Alliance met for the first formal networking meeting and it was a great success. We have finalised the details for the promised Operation COMPASS Grant Preparation Support Workshops to begin in April. The new Unit Welfare Officers at Lavarack have been bought up to speed on how we can support their efforts. The hunt for WWII service personnel names for the huts is back on in earnest. Get ready for the next Oasis Community Markets in April.

Off to a flying start to the year

February 2022

Well, we are off to a flying start with a little bit of a dampener from the rise of Omicron. We are still operational and focusing on safety while providing the services we can to the veteran community. The big news is we have a new Connections Coordinator. And we are in the final stages of launching our own coffee brand. The Employment landscape is also filled with opportunities. This month we will hold our first formal Veterans Business Alliance networking meeting at Home Base. We have just signed off on the development of an Uber-like rating system for our service providers based on our smartphone app. We've made some enhancements to our Hut Booking System to make it simpler and safer for all, including ourselves as usage numbers are getting big.

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