Ex-service officials in Newcastle hoping to establish a drop-in centre with centralised support services

Posted by | June 2, 2018 | Community, General, News

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A collective of ex-service officials are hoping to establish a one-stop shop at Wallsend to house the variety of services on offer to past and present members of the Australian Defence Force.

The proposal comes at a time when many ex-service organisations are looking to get more younger personnel involved in their work.

Among talks are the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Veterans’ Association, Newcastle Vietnam Veterans and Wallsend RSL Sub-Branch.

The centre has been discussed previously, but has recently gained momentum and a meeting will be held on June 7 to establish a list of interested parties. The centre could be open to emergency service workers too.

“We’re finding that the younger veterans, from after Vietnam on, there’s no tendency to join the RSL,” Stephen Finney OAM said.

“There’s quite a number involved, but we’re finding a lot of them don’t know the services that are out there for them. What we want to do is organise this separate entity, where them and their families are quite welcome to just come in, have a cup of tea and catch up with somebody. Have all the services available there and get it to be run by some of the young veterans.”

Mr Finney, 70, is an Australian Army veteran who has been helping ex-services for over 40 years. He is a life member of the TPI Association, as well as vice-president of the City of Newcastle RSL Sub Branch, Vietnam Vets, and secretary of the TPI.

He says the need for a centre is paramount and centralising services will strengthen support by increasing availability and accessibility.

“There’s been more Afghanistan veterans commit suicide than there was killed in Afghanistan,” he said.

“There’s a lot of services there for them to access, but they need to know where to go … we want to set this up to help them and assist them in any way that we can.”

Mr Finney received an Order of Australia medal in 2008 for services to the veteran community. It followed the work of his father, who got the same award in 1986.

“The wealth of knowledge I’ve got, I want to give it to one of these younger guys and let them carry on.”

The centre could also host consults of the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), as well as legal, financial and health services.

Mr Finney says the Wallsend site, the TPI building on Cowper Street owned by Newcastle City Council, is a more central Hunter location than the DVA’s Auckland Street premises in Newcastle.

“Where we want to put the drop-in centre, it’s on a main artery, we’d put some big signs up there and people could just call in. Find out what’s available for them.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5430820/veterans-drop-in-hub-at-wallsend-proposed-by-ex-service-groups/?cs=12

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