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May 2024

Worth our weight in good health

It was another successful night at the Twilight Markets in April despite Strand Markets changing their date. The Alliance Rehab cooking classes are also well supported and RSL Townsville Banjo Breaky Gatherings still see over 100 participants each fortnight. A gathering of the ESO community at Homebase identified 12 big issues for us all to work together on for our veteran community. We are grateful to the Cowboys for sponsoring our participation in the ANZAC Day Match ‘Toyota Hilux Torpedo’ for which we received a generous donation. An evaluation, driven by an Australian Government-funded international longitudinal study by Melbourne University, reveals The Oasis Townsville saved the health economy over $2.5mil over the last six months. Two big events coming up are our annual Open Day which this year will be an Open Night. And our second for the year Career Connections Showcase in July.

The first Twilight Craft Markets were a big hit, as always. Over 35 stalls are run mostly by veterans and their partners. They always bump-in early to share experiences. We have found this a valuable community of those who have their own businesses, in many cases because of the frequent moves in the ADF. And they love it.

Alliance Rehab Cooking Class cooked up a storm last month. With two dieticians on site and a demo on cooking Thai Beef Stir Fry, it was learning, and lunch rolled into one. It is great to see young and old wanting to eat healthier, and we are grateful for Alliance Rehab’s support for this. Townsville RSL Banjo Breakfast each pension / off-pay week fortnight is also attracting about a steady 100 now. It's a great mix of serving and ex-serving veterans. Some strong friendship groups have formed and meet regularly, too.

The first ESO Leaders Collaboration was held last month and 12 issues for our veteran community were hammered out. We all recognised so much more can be achieved when we all sing off the same sheet of music and recognise and advocate to have the same issues addressed. Even better we could take them to Phil Thompson MP’s revitalised Veteran Community Forum the following week. He now has the Veteran Community Action List. We also got a great brief from Brett Armstrong regarding our emerging Advocacy Community of Practice that meets at Homebase each Wednesday.

We are grateful to the Toyota NQ Cowboys sponsorship at the ANZAC Day Match. An activation at halftime was an on-field kick-and-catch affair, and our veteran representative, Beau, did a fantastic job.

At the beginning of FY 2022-23 with support from a grant from DVA we established a regime for collecting and analysing the data that could be applied using the Australian Social Values Bank Framework for Social Outcomes. The ASVB is the largest bank of methodologically consistent and robust social values ever produced in Australia, putting a well-researched economic value on the improvement in wellbeing of Australians. The two datasets used by this cost-benefit analysis are longitudinal studies funded by the Australian Government and created by Melbourne University. We now have data to show that in the last six months, we have saved the health economy over $2.5mil for a cost of less than $1mil.

The next big event for Homebase will be our anniversary event. Where have three years gone? This year, due to the massive success of evening events in the cool of the day, we will have an Open Evening on 7 June. It will be the normal grand affair taking up the entire 5000sqm of Homebase. It is suitable for all of the veteran community from kids to older veterans and partners, something for everyone. Many just come along to soak up being among our trusted community.

And then in July we have our second for the year Career Connections Showcase. In collaboration with the Veterans Business Alliance and Regional Development Australia Townsville and Northwest Queensland, this event has been increasingly popular for those who think ahead for where they might be in a few years and want to keep options open. Those veterans and partners coming close to transition have found it a particularly empowering opportunity to connect with businesses certified by The Oasis Townsville as being veteran-supportive in the workplace. It's after work and a very informative night.

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