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An open door for veterans in Nowra

Veteran organisations are coming together on the NSW South Coast to provide support under the one roof – a temporary one, for now!

The new Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre is officially open for business. 

The Centre, owned and operated by RSL LifeCare, will provide a range of services to support and assist current and former serving members and their families. It’ll be a one-stop-shop.

It’s a privilege to be able to offer our services under the same roof as RSL LifeCare Veteran Services and Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling to the region’s growing defence community. Our Veteran Engagement Specialist for the NSW South Coast, Debbie Dimmock, will be working out of the Centre and is already collaborating with veteran organisations in the area.

The temporary home for the centre is 1/19 Nowra Lane, Nowra with a purpose built facility due for completion in 2022. 

Marking the new initiative with a soft launch event 

Last month, a collection of defence-focused organisations and community partners came together at Worrigee Sports to mark the ‘soft launch’ of the new Centre. 

Michael Hartung and Debbie Dimmock of VSA attended the launch. Esteemed guests included Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells; Dr Geoff Lee Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans; and Mr Don Spinks AM, Repatriation Commissioner, Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“I think there’s a real sense of collaboration and connection being created by this Veteran Wellbeing Centre,” said Michael, speaking at the launch. “It’s bringing all of these services together to work in partnership and in harmony so veterans and their families are supported in getting active, to join new social communities, develop connections and look after that life beyond service.”

Senator for NSW, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, mirrored the importance of the Veteran Wellbeing Centre for the South Coast community: “Nowra and the surrounding region has around 5,000 veterans and their families, as well as two Defence bases in HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell.”

“It is so important that our Australian Defence Force personnel, veterans and their families have a dedicated place where they can go to connect with one another and to also access the assistance they need,” said Senator Fierravanti Wells.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells, Jon Black, CEO RSL NSW & Nicki Young, General Manager, Veteran Services RSL LifeCare

Our thanks go to our Sporting Partner Bowls Australia, who was active at the launch hosting lawn bowls demonstrations for guests, although this almost become ‘aqua bowls’ due to a torrential downpour! Thankfully, Nick Hind from Bowls Australia was able to create an indoor bowls activity that had guests eager to test their skills.

Our thanks also go to our Sporting Partners Frontline Yogaparkrun Australia and the NRL who were also active at the launch, sharing details of their ongoing commitment to the veteran community and the important role sport plays in rehabilitation and wellbeing.

Congratulations to RSL LifeCare on a fantastic launch event to mark this significant occasion and we’re already embracing our work together.

Purpose-built facility for the new Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre due for completion in 2022 

The new Veteran Wellbeing Centre in Nowra is one of six across Australia and the first-of-its-kind in NSW. All current and former serving Australian Defence Force members and their families can access the Centre and the services it provides.

Debbie Dimmock, VSA Veteran Engagement Specialist, is looking forward to the imminent opening of the new facility, whilst commencing work alongside two highly complementary service providers for the veteran community. 

‘’I’m very excited to be working out of the RSL LifeCare’s Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre with Open Arms,” said Debbie. “I know we’ll all complement each other and work well together to provide services and opportunities to the defence community on the South Coast”.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the services offered by the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre, please contact Debbie Dimmock.