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December 2023

It is great to look back and see the future

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.

A great way to end the year with two very strong and successful events. Early in the month, the Twilight Markets had over 30 stalls, mainly run by veterans and their partners. It attracted over 2000 visitors to Homebase in the beautiful ambience of light and cooler weather. The Career Connections Showcase was the icing on the month. The greatest attendance of veterans yet included current serving veterans and some of their family members who told us they were conducting reconnaissance to establish what support was available when they got out. Like the last Career Connections Showcase, we are confident some employment placements will eventuate.

We have a VCIAC that meets quarterly; the year's final meeting was held last month. It comprises the leadership of the key organisations in Townsville, such as ADF Transitions, Open Arms, DVA and the Townsville Private Clinic. It's our opportunity to make sure we are achieving what we set out to achieve and gain feedback on how our programs and activities are being received and supporting their operations. It is a very valuable forum.

Operation COMPASS continues to underpin our operations, and the most recent example is the training in veteran health care conducted for GPs in the NT last month. Operation THRIVE, as the NT Government calls it, is a concerted effort to proactively improve the wellbeing of veterans. The package for GP training was first conducted during Operation COMPASS and then transferred to The Oasis before going Australia-wide.

This last month saw a significant ramp-up of NAV Sessions. A few were particularly popular. We had an ACU briefing on the two new diplomas to be conducted out of their Townsville Leadership Centre. Axon briefed on ADF housing entitlements. RSL Employment delivered an informative session on tips and tricks for spouses looking to improve their employment or return to the workforce. Evergreen Financials delivered their final understanding DVA and CSC info Session for 2023. Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) also visited with a raft of one-on-one sessions that were snapped up quickly.

Operation NAVIGATOR is ready to commence our Solid Foundations Workshops in Feb 2024. We have spent the last six months taking the draft program for the one-day workshop and holding focus groups to test and adjust. We think it is good enough to conduct and will refine it throughout 2024. As we go, we will develop the NAV Sessions (Info Sessions based on our 10 Veteran Community Needs Framework). This will help us develop the information to be accessed in our smartphone App, which will become the cornerstone of Operation NAVIGATOR. 2024 will be busy and productive as we develop all of this to support better decision-making regarding the go/no-go decision and the timing of and preparation for transition.

We have been putting significant effort into evaluating and measuring the outcomes in 2023. On the Connections front, in the last 12 months, we have had up to as many as 1800 people engage in almost 150 activities in our biggest month. Our client turnover has been effective, with everyone being surveyed for outcomes and their personal satisfaction with our service in resolving their big and small issues. Some of these stores are so heartwarming we have added them to our website under About Us/Great Stories. But one of the biggest successes for 2023 is our efforts to get veterans into work or change jobs. A brilliant initiative that we will pursue strongly in 2024 is the Career Connections Showcases conducted with our Veterans Business Alliance members.

Have a great Christmas and New Year. Rest is important, and take time to recharge your social batteries with family and friends. The hours of operation for Dirty Boots Café and Homebase are clear on the website. The next ONtarget is Feb 2024—best wishes from Team Oasis.

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