RSL NSW members dig deep to support their fellow veterans

RSL NSW veteran members have rallied to bolster life-changing support for veterans and their families by donating $2.1 million dollars to the charity’s service delivery partner, RSL LifeCare, this week.

Members of over 70 RSL sub-Branches contributed to the state-wide donation which will provide vital physical and mental health, DVA claims and advocacy, education and employment, housing, income and finance, and social services to veterans.

RSL NSW President Ray James said that the donation reflects the commitment of veterans across the state who, as members of the Returned and Services League, volunteer their time to help their mates, particularly after the withdrawal of the Australian Defence Force from Afghanistan.

“When the going gets tough, RSL NSW members get going by mobilising physical and financial resources to ensure that veterans and their families receive the hands-on support and services they need.

“RSL NSW and its partner charity RSL LifeCare has observed an increased need for support services this year and I expect this continue with the pressure of COVID-19 restrictions, the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, and the ADF’s withdrawal from the conflict in Afghanistan,” Mr James said.

The State’s largest member-based charity announced in August that it has established an office to advocate for and support veterans throughout the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. RSL NSW is contributing to a national submission by the RSL to the Royal Commission and the office will support veterans to prepare submissions and to appear at hearings.

RSL LifeCare Board Chair, Mark Dickson, said that he expects to see an increase in demand for financial assistance from the charity as communities begin to come out of lockdown over the next few months.

“The donation from RSL NSW will help to support the expansion of the organisation’s service delivery in regional communities, including veteran wellbeing centres and placement of remote Claims Advisors, like those in Ballina and the Newcastle region.

“The donation will help to support clients of the RSL Employment Program as we aim to place 100 veterans in new roles over the next financial year and support the processing of 500 claims to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs,” Mr Dickson said.

RSL NSW is a member-based charity and does not own or operate clubs or benefit from the proceeds of the sale of alcohol or gambling. As an ex-service organization RSL NSW and its sub-Branches are committed to supporting current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force.

Thanks to the support of RSL NSW sub-Branches and other donors, RSL LifeCare was able to provide the following services to veterans and their families throughout 2020:

  • Provide over $500,000 in financial assistance, supporting essential services for veterans and their families
  • Assist 107 veterans experiencing homelessness
  • Help 505 veterans to lodge 1729 DVA claims
  • Make 474 virtual or socially distanced visits to veterans and family members at homes, hospitals or nursing homes
  • Lodge 173 new VRB appeals, complete 244 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediation discussions and represent 57 full VRB Board Hearings.