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April 19, 2024

Veteran Services Highlights – Q1 2024

It was a busy start to 2024 for the RSL LifeCare Veteran Services team. Read on for some of the highlights across our services as our team work every day to support veterans and their families.  

Between January and March 2024, RSL LifeCare was able to: 

  • Provide $80,545 in financial assistance. 
  • Assist 91 veterans experiencing homelessness. 
  • Provide 1020 nights of accommodation. 
  • Help 210 veterans to lodge 690 DVA claims. 
  •  Refer 25 veterans or partners into our employment program and conduct 8 employer consultations. 
  • Lodge 42 new VRB appeals, complete 64 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediation discussions and represent 6 full VRB Hearings. 
  •  Guide 43 veterans through courses and log 428 hours of volunteer activities at Spur Ranch. 
Veteran Services Q1 2024 report


Wellbeing and Employment – keeping veterans connected 

We know that financial literacy and achieving financial wellbeing is a key issue that impacts veterans, so we’ve added a new, dedicated Financial Counsellor to our support team for veterans.  Introducing RSL LifeCare Veteran Services’ first Veteran Support Coordinator – Financial Counsellor, Kristy. Financial counsellors are qualified professionals who provide information, advice and advocacy to people in financial difficulty

Another area of need and opportunity is employment, we have welcomed a Veteran Employment Program Coordinator, Mark. As the new face of the RSL Employment Program in NSW, delivered in partnership by RSL LifeCare Veteran Services and RSL QLD, Mark is dedicated to connecting with employers and championing the hiring of veterans. 

To arrange an appointment with either Kristy or Mark, or our Veteran Support Coordinators please contact our Intake Officer on 02 8088 0388 or email [email protected]  

We have recently recorded a series of Emotional Regulation Workshops, thanks to a DVA Wellbeing Grant.  The topics of breathwork, sound healing, meditation and mindfulness are valuable tools and techniques to help regulate emotions.  If you’d like to watch the sessions, you can catch them online

Claims & Advocacy – leading the way 

Our team has been actively participating in a review of the current veterans’ entitlements, compensation and rehabilitation legislation This reform will have significant impacts on the legislation and it is important our team are well informed and providing feedback from the experiences of our clients.

Responding to the first recommendation from the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide released on 28 February 2024, the Government has drafted a proposed Bill to reform the current legislation. The draft aims to streamline complex laws into a unified framework, one single ongoing Act that will introduce key enhancements such as an Additional Disablement Amount, presumptive liability for service-related injuries, increased funeral benefits and travel reimbursements. For veterans lodging claims, this should mean a simpler and less stressful process for accessing the benefits they are entitled to.

Our initial review has found the reforms to be predominantly beneficial for veterans. These amendments promise clearer pathways and enhanced support for the veteran community. 

Housing – A step to safety and security 

Homelesseness is a prevalent issue for veterans, which impacted close to 6,000 veterans in 2022.  Homes for Heroes is our transitional housing program which provides access to safe, secure and stable accommodation for veterans at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This quarter, our Homes for Heroes program has supported 10 veterans on site at Narrabeen, with linkages to wrap around supports and specialised allied health teams. Each veteran is supported with long-term housing pathways as well as their own unique goals which focus on areas such as social connection, education or mental wellbeing.  Homes for Heroes morning tea

We continue to provide outreach case management to veterans in the community.  

A highlight for this quarter is the journey of one of our current residents, Michael. Michael entered the program on 11 December 2023 and had goals for his education – wanting to learn computer skills and doing a certified course in Leisure and Health. In addition to our transitional accommodation, Michael was supported to enrol at Brookvale TAFE for Fee-Free, Smart and Skilled courses – Essential Computer Skills (Certificate I in Skills for Vocational Pathways) and Certificate IV in Leisure and Health. 

Michael loves cooking and baking and is also volunteering to support other veterans in the program. He regularly makes healthy sandwiches for lunch for veterans here in the program, prepares afternoon snacks and weekends are now welcomed by our veterans as they gather around the BBQ and spend time together. 

Beautiful friendships have been made, and there is social connection and improvement of overall wellbeing for our residents. 

Spur – Veterans riding to recovery 

Spur February 2024 Working with horses can be a healing process for many veterans, and our Spur Ranch Equine Program aims to do just that – help veterans heal. 

In February, 10 veterans and 4 team members from RSL LifeCare’s Spur Ranch headed north west to the Chapman Valley Cattle Property, as part of the Muster experience, an advanced program which is offered to veterans who have mastered horse-riding fundamentals throughout their time with the Spur Ranch Equine Program. 

The Muster experience is the perfect way to put learned skills to the test, and is an accomplishment that all participants are proud of. 

Max Streeter, Spur Ranch Program Manager, noted:

“the 5am start would be the first of many days. Cool mornings rising to sultry days, the smell of the Australian bush, horses and cattle perfumed the days. This newly minted mob of stockman would ride out every day in search of cattle. The landscape ranged from steep hilly terrain to forest that felt as ancient as the land. It was a true test of horsemanship.” 

The relationships formed between the veterans, team members and the horses is truly special. At the end of each day, after a challenging ride, participants groom and feed their horses (and share a treat or two).   

Veteran Wellbeing Centres – More locations, more access 

This quarter, we have announced five new centres across New South Wales that will be established over the next two years. More centres means we can help more veterans.  Our current 4 centres have already had over 900 visitors since January 2024, who we’ve been able to help.  

Check out our Veteran Wellbeing Centre quarterly highlight for more information.  

“This has been life changing for me I am extremely grateful for everything this program has done for me.” – A grateful client 

Our efforts are proudly supported by funds from RSL NSW and RSL sub-Branches, and the services we provide would not be possible without the generous support of donors.  

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 

If you’d like to stay up to date on what the team is doing, please subscribe to our regular newsletter updates.

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Are you ready to explore a new operations role with extra benefits?

Take your career in a new direction RSL LifeCare.

Search for an operations role at an RSL LifeCare Residential Aged Care facility in the Southern NSW region. Take a look at all our current positions here.

1. 100% funding on participating certifications

Undertake a participating certification through the RSL LifeCare Earn and Learn Incentive Program1 and you could be eligible to have your learning fully funded.

2. Cash bonus of up to $1000 (less income tax).

Through the RSL LifeCare Sign-on Bonus, you could be eligible for two split payments of $500 (less income tax), when you start a new role with us.

Contact Homes for Heroes today