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February 2024

Community Getting Closer and Stronger

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.

A great way to meet all sorts of veterans from serving and ex-serving, young and old, men and women is to come along and grab a free coffee and banjo at Homebase. It’s put on thanks to RSL Townsville sponsorship. Begins this Friday 9 February.

The biggest event for February will be our Career Connections Showcase to be held at Homebase on the evening of Wednesday 21 February. This is the third Showcase we’ve had, and they get better every time. At the last showcase, we had over 20 Veteran Business Alliance members represented and over 30 veterans, both serving and ex-serving. Our VBA members understand the skills a veteran comes with, many are veterans themselves.

Our big event for early March is our new Leisure Expo. It will take up the entire Homebase and the interest from the Townsville Community has been strong to get veterans involved in their sports and hobbies. Watch out for What’s ON on the website for more details soon.

Our cooking classes have returned by popular demand. Our allied health partner, Alliance Rehabilitation puts them on in our own full featured kitchen and participants get a great meal out of it at the end.

This month we will also provide a venue for current serving veterans and partners to better understand what Defence's approach to the emerging Health and Wellbeing Strategy is that is being developed in collaboration with DVA. The Defence Branch responsible will be at Homebase on Monday 12 February after work to update us on progress and seek feedback.

Lastly, the ESO ecosystem in Townsville is getting stronger, evidenced by calls from ESOs to get together and identify Townsville and the Region biggest issues. All the major ESOs in Townsville are users of Homebase or providers of services to our clients referred by our Service Delivery Operation Team. We will plan to arrange a get together in March. And to provide more information on our operations for all, especially the ESO Community of Townsville we have also revamped our Impact and Outcomes evaluation data and display on the website. This replaces the previous one-pages and graphs we published. We have now confirmed the data we need to ensure we stay on top and improve our services as budget allows.

Much will progress for the wellbeing of the veteran community in the next 12 to 18 months. Significantly the Royal Commission report being handed down in September. Several reports and inquiries are under way, especially the Defence and DVA Health and Wellbeing Strategy to replace the old one that ended in 2023. We also have Queensland and Federal Government elections looming.

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