We’ll End a Great Year with a Big Bang
The month started with a visit by DVA Minister Matt Keogh and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. Last month, we held our AGM and published our Annual Report. Our last Handicraft Market saw a record 30 stalls. Operation COMPASS ends with a very well-attended event at Homebase. We have more than doubled the number of VBA members this year. We have begun working with Joint Transition Authority for the grant funding for Operation NAVIGATOR. In a couple of weeks, we host a veterans gaming expo with registrations filling fast. We will also host Defence Housing Australia, unveiling a plaque in recognition of their sponsorship of The Oasis Townsville for the next three years. This is the last ONtarget for 2022; the next one will be the first week of Feb 2023. All of us at Team Oasis wish you a fantastic Christmas and a very happy new year.
It was great to see the level of interest in our operations by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles and the Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans Affairs Matt Keogh and the Assistant Minister for Veterans Affairs Matt Thistlethwaite at the start of the month. This is Matt Keogh’s second visit to The Oasis Townsville. All three were very interested in our model and keen to discuss how the 16 Veterans’ and Families’ Hubs might develop.
We are making it a regular feature given the incredible demand to have a handicraft market utilising the entire grounds of Homebase. The November Markets had a record 30 stalls and the weather was perfect for it. It was great to see a few veteran grey nomad couples schedule their visit to Townsville to set up a stall with us at the Markets. We plan on doing these quarterly in 2023 given the demand. The all handmade and crafted products are definitely the draw card.
Operation COMPASS had its last big event with a visit by Dr Dan Pronk and three of the last Cowboys Captains. The first presentation in the main building was packed out and the four of them held us captivated by their concepts of resilience. Then after a short break, they held the second event in Hut 6. The day was a huge success, and the feedback has been amazing. We’ll give that a go again next year, also. Operation COMPASS remains a foundation of The Oasis Townsville, and the learnings from the last five years will be applied in all that we do at The Oasis Townsville. The next activity will be the conduct of our now very widespread #CheckYourMates Campaign.
The Veterans Business Alliance (VBA) has had an incredible year. The number of businesses now in the Alliance is double that of this time last year, and we hope to do that again in 2023. Our last O-Group was held in November, and we’ll kick start 2023 in Jan. We meet on the third Friday of every month except December. This group is dedicated to supporting the soft landing for serving veterans transitioning out of the ADF and supporting all veterans, serving and ex-serving, and their partners. We also have an excellent array of advisers who present each month, keeping us up to date with the latest initiatives supporting the veteran community into employment. November's brief was on the outstanding initiative of the Australian Catholic University. And best of all, the networking events support the camaraderie of those representing veteran-supporting businesses, so it's a win-win.
Operation NAVIGATOR will start up in early 2023. We have begun working with the Joint Transition Authority to sort out the detail to commence. We have already identified a group of experts who we will bring together to build the model and establish the regime of activity needed to give serving veterans an appreciation of what they may not know but would find useful for the day they decide to come back to civvy street.
We are very excited to have as our last big event for 2022 a gaming event we will host, put on by Veterans Gaming Australia and Townsville Tabletop Gamers. This is huge, especially among younger veterans, but with all ages involved. This event will take over Homebase on 12 December with pizza and prizes. We have registration open now, and it's filling fast.
Then on 14 December, we have a small ceremony to mark Defence Housing Australia's significant support to The Oasis Townsville and our veteran community. We will unveil a plaque on Hut 5 to show the >1000 members of our veteran community who attend Homebase each month that DHA is with us. DHA will be joining the ranks of QBE who also sponsor a hut. And we have another two in the wings to have their business names emblazoned on the Huts of Homebase. It is reassuring to know the level of support and commitment from the community for the work of The Oasis Townsville.
This is the last ONtarget for 2022. We now have a subscription of 2,103, growing at about 5% a month. We hope you have found it useful and interesting. The What’sON page of our website has the most hits by far every month, and we are proud of this as Connections is what we are all about, and the diversity of veterans utilising the services available at The Oasis Townsville is growing. It is so rewarding for us all at Team Oasis to see young and old, men and women, serving and ex-serving veterans, and families and friends find our space relaxing and a safe place for a yarn and a coffee or an activity conducted by the community for the community in the free space available at Homebase.
From all of us at Team Oasis, we wish all our readers, clients, activity conductors, attendees, and visitors or just those who drop in for a coffee, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.