Invictus Australia employs Veteran Engagement Managers in local communities, building connections with at-risk veterans and relevant services.
Invictus Australia has strong relationships with the Australian Defence Force, service providers and local sporting groups to introduce veterans and their families to thriving local sporting communities. We build supportive environments that help all organisations achieve better outcomes.
We actively encourage veterans & their families to reach out to us so we can find something that will work in your local community. If we’re not in your area, please get in touch as our national footprint and relationships mean we can help you find your tribe.
We currently have Veteran Engagement Managers based in the following areas, with plans to expand.
Newcastle, servicing Northern NSW
For local events, follow the local Facebook Group
ACT Region, servicing Canberra and South Coast NSW
ACT Region Facebook Group
South East Queensland Facebook Group
South Australia Facebook Group
Victoria Facebook Group
South Coast NSW, Facebook Group
Western Australia Facebook Group, coming June 2023
Our VEM’s introduce veterans and their families to sporting communities and encourage their ongoing participation. These VEM roles are filled from the community –they are veterans or family members –who through their lived experience know intimately their community and their challenges, the local veteran networks and the difference that can be achieved through sport.
REGIONAL MANAGER, VETERAN ENGAGEMENT – ACT
“Sport saved me whilst holding down the fort and looking after two young kids when my husband deployed on back-to-back tours to Afghanistan, so I completely believe in this program. I’m enjoying working with sporting partners, including Bowls Australia, the NRL and parkrun, and increasing opportunities for veterans in the area.”
VETERAN ENGAGEMENT (TOOWOOMBA, QLD)
Justine joins Invictus Australia after several years supporting the Queensland Defence community as the Toowoomba Defence Families centre coordinator. As a successful event planner, Justine has delivered a range of exciting programs and events for veterans and their families. As an Army wife for more than 12 years, Justine appreciates the opportunities and sacrifices military life entails. She and her family have completed postings across the eastern coast of Australia, and following her partners recent discharge have return to the South East Queensland region for a new adventure. Justine loves the outdoors and in her spare time, you can generally find her bushwalking, cycling or at the beach with her family.
REGIONAL MANAGER, VETERAN ENGAGEMENT (NORTHERN NSW)
After nearly 12 years in the Royal Australian Air Force and being medically discharged in 2019 with a life changing back injury, Jye started volunteering in the veteran community. Jye has firsthand experience in how sport can positively impact lives and improve health and wellbeing. After his spinal surgery, Jye thought he wouldn’t be able to play sport ever again. He is currently back in the gym, playing golf and coaches junior Football. All of which have had a positive impact on his life. A sport fanatic, he enjoys Football, Golf, Cricket and Rugby League just to name a few. In his spare time, you will find him coaching his kids Football team or cooking for his family on one of his many BBQ’s.
REGIONAL MANAGER, VETERAN ENGAGEMENT (SOUTH AUSTRALIA)
Vanessa joined the Australian Army in 2005, transferring to Royal Australian Navy in 2009 before transitioning to the Navy Reserves in 2019 and eventually medically discharging in 2022. During her recovery, Vanessa was fortunate enough to be selected in Team Australia for both the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 and Invictus Games The Hague 2020. The journey to these games was a life changing experience for Vanessa, experiencing firsthand the healing power of sport. Vanessa is truly passionate about ensuring these life altering opportunities are available to all veterans and their families – not just those selected for the games.
VETERAN ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST, NOWRA
Abbie has a background as a paramedic with the South Australian Ambulance Service and is currently studying a Master of Social Work. Utilising her background in the fitness industry, she has been involved with supporting defence families at the Shoalhaven Defence Families Association running regular fitness classes. She is very passionate about promoting physical and mental health, and wellbeing and understands how strongly these are all linked. As a Navy defence spouse and mum to 5 year old Ethan, she understands the rewards and challenges that come with defence life. Abbie’s passion is trail running and enjoys hiking, painting and the beach.
1. Taking a proactive approach to engaging with and reaching out to ‘at risk’ members of the local veteran community
2. Connecting with, and improving collaboration between, local veteran, community and wellbeing-focused organisations
3. Upskilling and increasing the capacity of local sporting clubs and recreation activities -leveraging VSA’s national ‘Sporting Partners’-to support them to embrace local veterans and their families
4. Partnering with sports to generate sporting opportunities at a grassroots level for ‘at risk’ veterans(from participation through to volunteering opportunities), which all veterans and their families in the local community can also benefit from
5. Supporting ‘at risk’ veterans during their first and subsequent sporting involvement, as required;
6. Working as an ongoing source of support and advice regarding involvement in sport for local veterans and their families and referring them to external support providers where required
7. Encouraging ongoing, sustained involvement with sporting communities.
We have been working with a local veteran community in Ballina to establish a chapter of the Association of Veteran Surfers, identifying veteran volunteers to play leading roles and connecting with the local RSL sub branch. Watch this video for more.
“The Chapter’s all about camaraderie and looking after each other. It’s about social connections. We’re focused on supporting the mental health and social wellbeing of our veteran members.”
Phil Overton, veteran and President of the Hunter Coast chapter of the AVS
“I can attest to the profound and instrumental value this event provided. It is an opportunity for people to be themselves in and environment free of judgment where many others in the room have had the same experience and a shared sense of empathy.”
“Thank you for what you are doing for the veteran community.”
“I want to thank you for all you have done to make today such a success…I am sitting here feeling a bit emotional, loving the fact that we did it. I have already had interest from one guy wanting to play bowls.”