RSL LifeCare Veteran Services FY21-22 update
To make it easier for veterans and their families to know where to turn for support and guidance, our partner charity, RSL LifeCare, has combined RSL DefenceCare and their range of other services for veterans and their families under the one banner – RSL LifeCare Veteran Services.
The support provided to veterans and their families by RSL NSW and RSL LifeCare Veteran Services has remained unwavering over the course of a tumultuous 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
Between July 2021 and June 2022, RSL LifeCare Veteran Services was able to:
- Provide $825,872 in financial assistance including $485,000 in disaster assistance.
- Assist 177 veterans experiencing homelessness.
- Help 944 veterans to lodge 3106 DVA claims.
- Facilitate 57 veterans or partners receiving employment assistance.
- Make 231 virtual or socially distanced visits to veterans and family members at homes, hospitals or nursing homes.
- Lodge 188 new VRB appeals, complete 276 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediation discussions and represent 39 full VRB Board Hearings.
- Guide 60 veterans through horse handling and riding courses.
Over the last 12 months, there has been a growing demand for Wellbeing services, including financial assistance, housing support, visits, and employment support. In October 2021, holistic operations of the Homes for Heroes program returned to RSL LifeCare Veteran Services.
Natural disasters, including the floods in Lismore have meant a huge demand for our disaster assistance, which rose to $485,000 in funds delivered to veteran families in impacted areas.
In June 2022, RSL LifeCare hosted its first Community of Practice, focused on family and domestic violence in the veteran community, bringing together experienced professionals in this area to address these issues.
“Knowing LifeCare were there took away the stress of wondering where I was going to live. It allowed me to heal the complex trauma and get better for my kids.” – Anonymous housing client
DVA claims and appeals
RSL LifeCare Veteran Services’ professionally trained and accredited claims advisors and advocates continued to support veterans and their families, assisting with claims to DVA that help provide clients with financial security. One of their clients, Lou Cunningham, featured in an RSL NSW Q&A focused on the claims process and how our team was able to assist him.
“Thank you so much. Your staff are professional and your service and support invaluable.” – A grateful client
Veteran Wellbeing Centres
In March 2022, the Riverina Veteran Wellbeing Centre in Wagga Wagga was officially opened, providing a one-stop shop for veterans in the Riverina region to access services and engage with their local community.
The Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre continued to deliver services out of the temporary location on Nowra Lane, and the team is eagerly awaiting the completion of the purpose-built centre on Wallace Street. The Nowra VWC has hosted a number of forums for ex-service organisations in the region throughout the last 12 months and, in June 2022, the team hosted the region’s first ever Families and Their Veterans Forum, which focused on developing strategies to better support veteran families. The forum was live-streamed, allowing regional, state and international guests to attend, and included an address from DVA Veteran Family Advocate Commissioner, Gwen Cherne.
Spur Equine Program
Due to COVID restrictions, the Spur Ranch spent the first few months of the financial year closed to participants. Since re-opening there has been a huge demand for the courses, so much so that the Spur Program is booked out for the rest of 2022 and the team is putting on additional courses in 2023.
RSL LifeCare Veteran Services’ efforts are proudly supported by funds from RSL NSW and RSL sub-Branches, and the services provided would not be possible without the generous support of donors.