March 2022

Connections growing!

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.

With our new Connections Coordinator things have really taken off. The 1 million hours of operation clocked up in the second half of last year will certainly be exceeded despite COVID in this first half of 2022. We are particularly excited about a few groups. Stand By Your Mates – A Podcast for Veterans By Veterans have begun recordings at Home Base. Gypsy Den are getting ready to offer meditation sessions in a few weeks' time. And we are also looking forward to Project Immortality building a collection of video stories by veterans and their partners.

We conducted a 'rehearsal' for our first formal gathering of the Veterans Business Alliance last month. This is an alliance to bring the businesses in Townsville together that recognise the value of employing veterans and partners. There were 13 businesses represented already and we received a brief from Lolla of the Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training. This is a 'by-invitation' alliance which we expect to grow rapidly, especially given the demand we've had already.

The long awaited workshops for grant preparation support are scheduled now. Operation COMPASS has learnt much in the last few years about what works and what doesn't in the veteran community in supporting the connections of veterans. Now we would like to help support organisations in building sustainability. The first workshop will be in April (see What's On) and we expect to run the workshop regularly from then to get to the widest audience.

In Townsville we have a massive turnover of ADF members each year. Our campaign to educate on what we do well is ongoing and steps up for the new arrivals. We've recently briefed all of the Unit Welfare Officers from across Townsville Army, RAAF and Joint units. The brief was at Geckos. We are also working on how we can support the excellent work of Geckos during their temporary closure for refurbishment. It was such a pity the DMFS Expo was cancelled as it is such a good intro to families arriving in Townsville.

We have reinvigorated the hunt for names for the five Huts at Home Base. We are well on the road to securing sponsorship to compliment the QBE hut sponsorship but need to give all the huts an appropriate name also. We are interested in any ideas on World War II veterans who called Townsville Home. We need also to establish a family connection to ensure we get appropriate permissions to use the name.

Next month we'll host the Oasis Community Craft Fair that proved so successful last year. We'll probably do this a few times throughout the year. All home made goods, many by veterans and partners and our local community in The Village, Oonoonba. The experience we gain from this and from last year's Grand Opening and Townsville's Coolest Book Fair is proving invaluable in how we can best utilise the relaxing and peaceful spaces at The Oasis Townsville's Home Base for the Veteran Community.