Veteran support within the community

31 May 2024

Mates4Mates has connected veterans with local clubs around the country through the Community Connections Program.

Over the last 12 months, veterans have been encouraged to build connections within their local community while also learning a new skill and hobby through the Community Connections Program.

Committed to supporting veterans as they find their place in the civilian community, Mates4Mates facilitated the program to help veterans reduce any feelings of isolation and increase their wellbeing and coping skills.

Providing an opportunity for veterans to find a sense of belonging outside their regular activities, the Community Connections Program was run in Brisbane, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Darwin, Hobart and Launceston.

Activities included volunteering with the RSPCA, fishing clubs, learning new skills such as water colouring, table tennis and French, and more!

The impact on veterans

In South East Queensland, Brisbane veterans joined members of the Brisbane Table Tennis Centre in Windsor for an introduction to the fun and fully accessible sport. 

Receiving in-depth coaching lessons from experienced players, participants spent six weeks learning the game and practising with other veterans and civilians before engaging in a number of matches to show off their new skills.

Further west in Ipswich, a small group of veterans headed to Oxley Golf Club for a six-week beginner program where they learned different aspects of the game from professional coaching staff.

The end of the program saw everyone come together for a round of golf, taking to the green with new friends and uplifted confidence in their new abilities.

Mates4Mates counsellor, Stacey Gillam highlighted that the chance to learn a new skill while also socialising outside the veteran community was well received by the Ipswich 
veterans who participated.

“The program not only provided expert-taught golfing skills but also fostered a sense of community and connection among participants,” Stacey said.

“The veterans – the Mates – teamed up with others in the community to play a six-hole Ambrose which resulted in fun and friendly competition.”

This program was funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) as part of the Veteran Wellbeing Grant Program, and we thank them for allowing us to provide this valuable program to the veteran community.

Through a range of social connection activities, Mates4Mates provides opportunities for veterans and families to find mateship and a sense of purpose. To find out more, reach out to Mates4Mates on 1300 4 MATES (62 837).

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