Wodonga’s TAFESpace building is the “perfect location” for a veterans’ wellbeing centre and will strengthen not only the veteran community but the larger community, says RSL Victoria's Chief of Veteran Services.
Adam Lawson welcomed Wodonga Councillors approving the transfer of lease at the March council meeting.
“The TAFESpace building represents an ideal opportunity to showcase the heart of Wodonga as a vital stepping-stone for veterans and their families needing support, integrating with the community, reducing social isolation, or volunteering,” he said.
“Having such a centre in the heart of Wodonga strengthens not only the veteran community but the entire community of Wodonga.”
In 2020, RSL Victoria was successful in obtaining $5 million for the Australian Government for the development of a Veterans and their Families Wellbeing Centre (VFWC) in Wodonga.
The centre will provide services for transition and employment support, Ex-Service Organisation advocacy and social connectedness, physical and mental health services and client and community engagement for veterans and their families.
RSL Victoria addressed a letter to the council identifying TAFESpace as appropriate premises for the VFWC.
In early February, Wodonga TAFE sought the council’s support to relinquish the lease with Wodonga TAFE, to enable them to sell the building to RSL Victoria for the purpose of a VFWC, and for the remaining terms of the lease to be transferred to RSL Victoria.
The Wodonga centre will be part of a national network of centres after the Australian Government committed $30 million over three years.
Mr Lawson said the intended outcomes for the centre include improving the general health and wellbeing of veterans and their families, as well as identifying service delivery gaps and improving access to key health and wellbeing services for veterans and their families.
RSL Victorian has been identified as the lead agency for the establishment and ongoing operation of the Wodonga centre.
Mr Lawson said the centre would operate within the context of the new RSL Victoria Resilient Veteran Family Strategy, a strategy that will provide direction and methodology to ensure the centre supports veterans and provides a ‘no wrong door’ approach.
“The VFWC will be a one-stop-shop for veterans and their families,” he said.
The centre is expected to be operational by the end of July next year.