Invictus Australia is increasing capacity to support veterans and their families on the South Coast of NSW to access the powerful benefits of sport, thanks to a multi-year commitment of support by the Shoalhaven Ex Services Group.
CAPTION: CEO of Shoalhaven Ex-Services Group Bernie Brown, Veteran Engagement Coordinator Justine Lugg and Invictus Australia’s Veteran Engagement Specialist for southern NSW Debbie Dimmock. Photo supplied.
The commitment by the Shoalhaven Ex Services Group has enabled Invictus Australia to have a permanent presence in Nowra, with the appointment of Justine Lugg as Veteran Engagement Coordinator.
This important development will deliver significant opportunities for veterans and their families to engage in participation, competition and volunteering pathways in sport in their local community.
Nowra is home to one of eight Veteran and Family Wellbeing Centres, funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and managed by RSL LifeCare.
Already in operation in a temporary home (the new centre is due for completion later this year), Invictus Australia was one of the first service providers to commence operations as part of the initiative and has established strong relationships with both sport and other ex-service organisations in the region.
Justine will be based in the Wellbeing Centre for ease of collaboration and holistic support for the community.
Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Australia Michael Hartung said he was very grateful for the support and foresight of Shoalhaven Ex Services Group who, through their generous support, had allowed Invictus Australia to appoint Justine in their community to support their veterans and families through the power of sport.
“There are thousands of veterans on the South Coast of NSW, and it’s a large community that we see embrace every opportunity we help to create and we see some amazing outcomes for the individuals getting involved thanks to the wonderful health benefits of sport,” Mr Hartung said.
“This model is something we think can work in other communities around the country and we are on the look out for other clubs and associations who would like to partner with us in a similar way to help their community”
CEO of Shoalhaven Ex-Services Group Bernie Brown said his club was very excited to partner with Invictus Australia in the establishment and ongoing support of this newly created role.
“This role fits with the club’s core values in supporting veterans and providing recreational and sporting opportunities in the local area,” Mr Brown said.
“We look forward to watching the success of the program in the coming years.”
Invictus Australia’s Veteran Engagement Specialist for southern NSW Debbie Dimmock, who is overseeing implementation of Invictus Australia’s work in the region, said it was wonderful to be adding to our team and having someone based in Nowra to focus on this region.
“We’re just grateful for all the support from Bernie and the Shoalhaven Ex-Services Board,” she said.
“It means we can reach more veterans, include more families and encourage the South Coast Defence community to get active and connected through sport.
“As an Army spouse myself, I know the benefits of getting involved in organised sporting communities are huge for maintaining a healthy body and improving mental wellbeing.
“We are excited that, with the help of the club, we can extend the work we have been doing on the South Coast.”
Both organisations look forward to creating a larger impact for Australian veterans and their families by working together, supporting relevant programs, events and activities.