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December 13, 2023

Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre celebrates 1st Anniversary

The Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre hosted its 1 Year Anniversary Party on 8 December 2023, to celebrate the fantastic first year of helping and serving the local veteran community. 

The event was attended by members of the community including local RSL NSW sub-Branches, Australian Defence Force, local businesses and organisations, veterans and family members and our RSL LifeCare community members. 

We were pleased to hear from Sophie Ray, Chair of the RSL NSW Board, and two amazing local clients who we have helped – Jaslyn Perlitz and David Brodie. 

Sophie is proud of the Centre’s achievements, stating:

“One of the beautiful things about this centre is that it doesn’t just do one or two things. Instead, it is fulfilling the aim of building a community-based centre which caters specifically for the needs of veterans in the Illawarra Shoalhaven.”

Nowra VWC 1st Year Anniversary

Jaslyn Perlitz shared how much the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre means to her, as a widow of a veteran:

“When I think of this place, I think of home because it is so relaxed…This is a life changing place for me, honestly.”

Nowra VWC 1st Year Anniversary

David Brodie was literally jumping for joy as he shared his road to recovery, which included help from the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre.  He urged veterans who need help to reach out to the centre:

“So if you’re a veteran, for God’s sake, come here”

Nowra VWC 1st Year Anniversary

James Dallas, Head of Veteran Wellbeing Centres, celebrated the achievements of the centre and highlighted the many veterans and community members who we have been able to help.  He also acknowledged the incredible contributions of the team members, including previous centre manager Jason Grimes, who have built an incredibly warm and supportive community, for all. 

The inaugural Honours Board was launched, celebrating the amazing contributions of seven amazing community members who have helped build and support the centre to be the vibrant community centre that it is today. The inaugural 2023 Honours Award recipients for the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre are: 


Gary has been primarily responsible for our interactions with the Army in the area. He has been an amazing connection between Defence and the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre.  


Michael is solutions focused, and facilitates DVA claims appointments for RSL LifeCare Veteran Services at HMAS Albatross. Michael is a key connection to advocating for the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre on base, being the go-between for ADF and non-ADF members.  


Darryl has provided vital support to the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre and has developed a highly collaborative and beneficial relationship with the existing veteran organisations throughout the Shoalhaven. Darryl is also a key leader of the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre’s Salty Corner, offering a social opportunity for veterans and family members to come together. His unwavering support of the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre is greatly appreciated. 


Richard has established the Kemps Group of Veterans, a 12 week Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program program exclusively designed for veterans, with an aim at fostering healthy lifestyles, integrating fitness and socialisation. Rich is not a veteran which makes his support for veterans and their families even more commendable.   We are pleased to partner with Richard to provide this for our veteran community. 


Mat has delivered a flair of art and sport to the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre. He has an active profile in the local community, inviting veterans and families into a space of expression through surfing and art.  Mat’s involvement in the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre has been a crucial community activity for interested veterans, and has added considerable value and enjoyment to our community. 


Maxine is a key collaborator with the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre.  The collaboration and mutually beneficial relationship between Shoalhaven Defence Families Association – Kookaburra Retreat (Kooka) and the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre has been tremendous for our community, Kooka being the primary place for families in the Shoalhaven. We would like to acknowledge Max’s trust in and advocacy for the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre in providing services to Defence families.  


Stuart has been the biggest advocate for the Veteran Wellbeing Centre with the RSL NSW sub-Branch district. Stuart’s belief, passion and trust in the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre, in his role both at Berry RSL NSW sub-Branch and Secretary of RSL NSW sub-Branch Central Southern District Council has been instrumental. Stuart facilitated the donation of the Centre barbeque and has continued to be a proud custodian, cooking for most of the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre events.  

Congratulations to our inaugural 2023 Honours Award recipients.

In just one year since launch, the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre has had a huge impact on the local community.   

Nearly 4500 people have been engaged through activities and events that have been facilitated or supported by the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre, either on site at the centre or at other locations.  Nearly 35% of these events were health focused, 26% were focused on social connection, 21% on education and skills development – key aspects of the wellbeing wheel for veterans. 

Thanks to the support of RSL NSW and its sub-Branches, plus the support of local community organisations who provide incredible support to us, which enables the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre to have the impact it has in the local community.  

Check out the highlights video from the event.

To see the full suite of Veteran Wellbeing Centres, please click here

We would like to extend our thanks to the marvellous members of the Shoalhaven City Pipes & Drums band who kept us entertained!

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