While we deliver a wide range of social connection activities to support veterans and their families to connect with other veterans, the Community Connections Program builds on that further by helping veterans impacted by service find their place in the civilian world.
Earlier this year, Mates4Mates launched the pilot Community Connections Program in Townsville and Brisbane to help veterans connect with their local communities through shared interests and activities.
Over four weeks, the Community Connections Program worked in partnership with Townsville Target Archers in Townsville and Samford Archery Club in Brisbane to help veterans build local community networks through learning the skills of archery.
Senior Liaison Officer, Janine who facilitated the Brisbane program, explained how, “it’s not really about archery, it’s about building stronger civilian and social community connections.”
“Archery is only one community connections activity that veterans can engage in to build those relationships. Future programs may include environmental and humanitarian activities, volunteering for emergency response, and other community-based endeavours.”
Much more than learning bow and arrow skills, the program’s aim was to help veterans build a sense of community and increase social connections, providing them with various physical, mental, and social health benefits, including reducing the feeling of isolation, increasing wellbeing and coping skills, and decreasing levels of pain.
Having facilitated the Townsville program, Senior Liaison Officer, Deirdre shared how the veterans who took part were able to truly build connections within the community.
“Over the four weeks, the Mates really got something out of the program, finding it encouraging, fun, and an overall positive experience,” she said.
“The best outcome is that a number of the Mates will continue on with Townsville Target Archers as they plan on becoming members and attending on a regular basis.”
James Cook University have also conducted a research and evaluation project on this pilot program to provide further support to the veteran community.
Mates4Mates is here to support veterans and their families on their pathway to recovery. However, it’s important for those veterans moving forward that there will be a day where they no longer need regular, Mates4Mates social connection services. This program is helping veterans to take that next step to connect with their local civilian communities.
For more information about our Community Connections Program, or our other services, please get in contact
with our team via our online form or on 1300 4 MATES.