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April 2024

Lots happening after hours at Homebase

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.

We’ve completed Block 1 of Operation NAVIGATOR, all attendees have responded well to the Solid Foundations Workshops, and we’ve had some great sorties already. One of the best was when two soldiers from the same unit from the same town living in barracks near each other met for the first time. As expected, we learnt a lot from Block 1. Block 2 commences with sessions every Tuesday beginning after the school holidays. One of the key components of NAVIGATOR is the NAV Sessions that present info on our 10 Veteran Community Needs for veterans and partners. The program of sessions is growing, and recently, we have had presentations covering needs such as sufficient income, meaningful work and good health. These components, and of course, our direct client intake, greatly assist in understanding our veteran community's information requirements to build the Oasis NAVIGATOR App.

We are getting very close to ACU, given their efforts to care for veterans. They have an innovative approach that we appreciate, so we have signed an MOU with them and engaged them to evaluate Operation NAVIGATOR. We are very keen to see their model, which has now been established in Brisbane and Townsville, replicated elsewhere for the benefit of veterans and families.

Next month is also jam-packed. On the 12th we have our first markets for the year, and we’ll follow the successful formula of a night market. Soon after that, we’ll have the first Townsville ESO Collaborative Forum to identify the biggest issues for the veteran community in our region and ensure we all understand them and the plan to resolve them. In particular, we will all present them to the many visitors to the area, being a garrison city with more veterans by population than any other city in Australia. Then, we have a two-day storytelling workshop featuring Steve Price, who has 40 years of breakfast radio on MMM’s Townsville breakfast show. Coming up on 7 June is the annual open day at night this time.

As word spreads about our Career Connections Showcases, we are expecting a big turnout from those thinking about transition to many who are already out but want to see what the possibilities of a new career are. On 24 July at Homebase, we will have a selection of our Veterans Business Alliance members speak for 5 minutes on the opportunities with their company. This is often done by a veteran. Then, there will be an opportunity to mingle and ask questions.

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