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February 2023

Off to a flying start

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 were sad to see Brigadier Fegan posted out, as he had been the Patron for three years and saw us grow from the office suite at 143 Walker Street, through the trials and tribulations of building Homebase and then the move in and commencement of operations, to where we are now 18 months on. We wish him well on his next task and thank him for his service to the veteran community in Townsville. We are very blessed to now have Brigadier David McCammon become our new Patron. He will see us through the next phase of development. Importantly he will be critical in the execution of Operation NAVIGATOR, a Defence funded pilot program. Welcome to the revolution in veterans support, Brigadier McCammon.

We had quite a bit of activity at the start of December before we closed for the holiday season. We had Santa help dozens of children celebrate Christmas with a free photo. Defence Housing Australia attended Homebase to thank us for the work we do and provided a donation of $30k each year for the next three years. In recognition of this significant donation, we have named a Peewee Hut after them. We capped the year off with a fantastic veterans gaming expo, which saw all ages come together for the day.

Our Service Delivery Operations took a step up in tempo and precision as we spent some time and effort on SOPs and data processes. We intend on ensuring the quality of service does not diminish despite the rising number of clients signing up for our support. We are particularly pleased with the results from our employment program. We have begun publishing some Great Stories on the website.

The CQU Evaluation Report has landed, and it has some great feedback and ideas for us to pursue. We are very grateful for all who participated. Our Board will be briefed and make some choices on the future this month.

2023 is looking to be a big year. To ensure we can utilise the facility and maximise our ability to cater for the entire Townsville and district veteran community, we have developed a big-ticket events strategic calendar to space out the bigger events and activities. We are enhancing the What's ON page of the website to cater for more and more. It is still by far the highest-ranking page on our website. Most of the big events will be on a particular month, given the planning and effort required to make them successful. Look out for the book fair, markets, open days etc.

Upcoming events and activities are shown even better on our website under What’s ON. We are broadening the types of activities to include what others do for us, and how we support the ESO community, like in this next month accommodating the National Servicemen’s Association and the War Widows’ Guild meetings, not to mention Open Arms and the Transition Support Course from 3rd Brigade.

It is great to see some of the other 15 Veterans’ and Families’ Hubs at various stages of development. The most recent developments being support for the veteran community in Northwest Tasmania by the Northwest Tasmania Veteran Welfare Board, as the lead organisation to establish the new Burnie Veterans’ and Families’ Hub. Also in Caboolture, Southeast Queensland, with health and wellbeing organisation Lives Lived Well announced to lead the Hub’s development.

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