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July 2023

Our Pride in our efforts comes from great success stories

Our first Cooking Workshop was in high demand and was an enormous success. The now regular handicraft markets bought in another 2500 people and had unintended benefits. Defence Health Limited has recognised the value of sponsoring a hut and has signed a three-year sponsorship deal. We were privileged to receive Alyce Chipman and Melissa Clifton (partners of CAF and WOFF-AF) for a tour of Homebase. Operation NAVIGATOR from Defence funding has arrived, putting a spring in our step to prove its success. Black Dog Institute has published a Toolkit we have worked on with them for the past nine months. Our fantastic BBQ tables, built by veterans and families, have arrived. Our next two most noteworthy events are the Career Connections Showcase on 19 July and the 2nd Anniversary Open Day on Saturday, 12 August.

The success of the Cooking Workshop surprised us a bit. We knew there was a need but didn’t expect to see so many sign-ups quickly. Our Connections Coordinator spoke to one veteran about how he found out about the cooking workshop, and he said that his wife told him. She didn't think he'd go, but he proved her wrong. He loved it.

The markets were again an enormous success. We found an unintended consequence, but a good one is that there is some amazing networking among many stallholders who have all gone into business selling their handicrafts. Most of these stallholders are partners of veterans (serving and ex) and found this an easier option while raising a family or being routinely posted around Australia than trying to gain employment and hold down a job. This inspires us to ensure the markets are a regular event at Homebase.

The third of our Peewee Huts has now also been sponsored. We are incredibly grateful to have Defence Health Limited onboard, given its new focus on support for the entire Veteran Community, not just its fund members. The approach by Defence Health aligns with ours, and we are proud to have them associated with our efforts to support the entire Veteran Community in Townsville and surrounding districts.

We have had many visitors keen to appreciate the impact The Oasis Townsville has on the Veteran Community, but we were particularly honoured to have the Chief of Air Force’s wife, Alyce and Warrant Officer of the Airforce’s wife, Melissa, visit last month. When we started a few years ago, most of the interest came from the ex-serving community, but in the last 12 months, we have had increasing interest from the leadership of the ADF. This is a great sign to us that our place in supporting transition is being recognised and supported.

Operational funding to conduct Operation NAVIGATOR is now in place. We commence a trial in August to examine the specific areas of knowledge that are most important for inclusion in a program of support to ensure a more effective transition when the time comes. In the longer term, this will be turned into an app for ready reference and to locate support to improve knowledge when participants are ready for that.

We are immensely proud to announce the production of a Toolkit for the 31 Primary Health Networks (PHN) around Australia. This work continues our commitment to Operation COMPASS (the National Suicide Prevention Trial for Veterans and their Families conducted 2017-2022). Operation COMPASS is the bedrock of The Oasis Townsville. This toolkit will support the PHNs that are the local face of the Department of Health as many of them have a significant Veteran Community, as identified in the 2021 Census. The Oasis Townsville is finding itself increasingly taking the lead in working with NQPHN and Defence locally to try to ensure the best use of resources and effort is applied to the Veteran Community and those transitioning.

Our two new BBQ tables have arrived. They make a fantastic addition to our BBQ Area, but more importantly, the funds donated by Rotary Townsville Sunrise have provided skilling and strong social connections for 40 veterans and partners.

With our goal to have a big monthly event at Homebase, the next two months will be huge. This month we will officially launch the Veterans Business Alliance (VBA), which has multiplied over the past 12 months. We’ll do this along with opening our first Career Connections Showcase on 19 July. We have strong registrations already, but plenty of room exists for more. And in August, we will have the third of our Open Days to celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of our opening. Who could believe we have been in our Homebase now for two years?

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