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March 2023

Settling in for significant growth and development

The Defence and Member Family Welcome Expo was a fantastic day. Banjo & Coffee Breakfasts are growing quickly, with over 100 at the last one. New Operation NAVIGATOR Project Manager has got Operation NAVIGATOR rolling quickly. Changes to the presentation on the website of events and activity at Homebase have improved ease of access. Qualitative Evaluation by CQU was briefed to the Board last month. Dirty Boots Café is going strong and numbers at Homebase for connections activities are still increasing. One of our Directors has been promoted in the QPS to Station Chief. Defence Health Limited Board was hosted and briefed at Homebase. And we are holding our first-ever massive Night Market this month on the grounds of Homebase.

It was great to get the DMFS Expo back up and running since COVID. The event was well attended, and we connected with many newcomers to Townsville to ensure they knew where we were and what we can do to support them in Townsville. And a couple of our Team were featured in the Townsville Bulletin!

Banjo & Coffee mornings are a big hit and we are looking for a sponsor. Every fortnight on ADF off-pay week Friday starting from 0730h. We have a limit for budgeting purposes on the free banjos and coffee which means first in got the best deal.

Colleen Maclean has picked up the reins of Operation NAVIGATOR quickly and has bought the Expert Panel together already. She comes with great experience, including 10 years in the RAAF and was the manager at Mates 4 Mates last year. Colleen conducted the first Expert Panel Workshop recently. It was so rewarding to see everyone keen to be involved in an innovative approach to supporting serving ADF members to recognise “what they don't know they don't know” to help them serve better and eventually exit better.

We’ve changed the presentation of activities and events on the website to increase capacity and to make it easier for us to add more activities, and for participants to find what they are looking for more quickly. And we have a few more changes to come gradually as we work out what people like most.

CQU Evaluation Team briefed the report provided to us late last year on where we should next focus our development. CQU ran group discussions and interviews and received many completed surveys, and pulled together an excellent report to guide us on what we should keep doing strongly and where we could make improvements. These will be implemented during this year.

One of our Directors, Matt Lyons has recently been appointed Officer-in-Charge at Kirwan Police Station. He’s already implementing lessons from The Oasis Townsville with the establishment of a Resilience Room at the station. Congratulations Matt.

We recently hosted the Board and senior executives of Defence Health Limited. They were in Townsville to investigate better ways to support the Veteran Community. Feedback from our presentation and tour was excellent and gave us even more confidence we are on the right track.

On Friday, 31 March, we will hold our first Night Market. The markets have been very popular and his one is intended to avoid the heat. We have had an overwhelming response for stall holders and promise those who missed out this time will be first up next time. It is especially good to see the number of veterans and partners creating crafts for sale at home and getting out to show off their skill.

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