MATES STAY

Summary

The Wattle League Foundation’s first project is to campaign for funds for the purchase of a house to provide residential respite for returning servicemen and women. The facility will be utilised as a ‘Mates Stay’, where Australian soldiers can access the support they need to eventually return to their families, and once again feel a part of the community. 

Mates Stay will enable more than 48 Soldiers to access respite and support each year, giving families peace of mind that their loved ones are safe and housed in an environment where will access a range of services to support their rehabilitation and recovery.

The Need

Australia is home to many returned soldiers. Some returned soldiers find it difficult to adjust back into day to day living, following their experiences of war and conflict. It is claimed that returned soldiers on medical discharge often experience incorrect diagnosis, which can lead to homelessness. If ongoing employment is not secured post-discharge, veterans sometimes use their support wages to provide for their families. As a consequence, they don’t receive the support they need and this can extend their recovery period. 

According to veterans and support agencies, hundreds, if not thousands, of Australian soldiers struggle access both financial and emotional assistance needed to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) once they return home. Read more. 

In March 2015, the current affairs program ‘Four Corners’ broadcast a compelling program,“Bringing the War Home” - sparking intense debate whilst posing the question: As Australia prepares to send more troops to the Middle East, there's a simple question. Are we doing enough to look after the people who have already served their country ? To watch the whole Four Corners program, click here.  

It appears increasingly evident we are indeed not doing enough. 

Robyn Collins, head of RSL NSW's DefenceCare charity, said mental health and homeless services aimed at veterans were in desperate need of more government funding. Read more.

Our Response

That is why the Wattle League Foundation aims to establish the Mates Stay respite facility returned service men and women in Brisbane, QLD. The Mates Stay facility will enable up to 48 soldiers to access respite support each year, and the Foundation will continue to seek funds to allow it to exist in perpetuity for generations to come. 

The facility aims to support and accommodate returned soldiers who currently fall between the cracks of service delivery - men and women suffering PTSD and are at risk of, or are already homeless.  

The Mates Stay project complements already available services provided by the Government through the Department for Veteran Affairs (DVA) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as well as the RSL and other relevant organisations. The Wattle League Foundation will work wherever possible in cooperation with other relevant organisations to ensure Mates Stay adds value to existing services.  

The Mates Stay services will allow for a speedier and very tailored path to recovery. It will also ensure that family members know their loved one is accessing support and staying in a safe environment with the best possible chances for recovery.  

Our Approach

A range of services will be offered to returned Defence Force members and their families on a case-by-case basis to maximize success and will follow proven principles to ensure recovery. (http://www.openminds.org.au/vision-and-values;http://www.openminds.org.au/recovery) Returned service men and women will be able to apply to stay in the respite facility to help with their recovery. 

The Mates Stay will be located somewhere in Brisbane and offer accommodation for up to 48 returned servicemen per annum. A care taker will be located onsite property.  

Mates Stay will operate with the same values and principles adopted by Open Minds and practiced during our long history of serving the community. Clients are at the centre of service delivery and the privacy and integrity of the individual is respected at all times.  

Evaluation and Performance Measures 

Monitoring and evaluation of the project will be built in from the outset so we can improve the services and will focus on processes, impacts and/or outcomes. Evaluation is also important to ensure investors know that their money is applied wisely.

Evaluation will determine whether the project works, it will deliver the facts needed to refine delivery and the evidence required for continuing support.

In the Media 

Returned servicemen, homelessness and mental health in the media

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-05/epidemic-rates-homelessness-australian-veterans/5866836

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/thousands-of-iraq-and-afghanistan-veterans-homeless/6285252

http://www.smh.com.au/national/returned-australian-soldiers-with-ptsd-plead-for-more-help-as-four-corners-program-reveals-widespread-depression-and-homelessness-20150309-13zgq7.html

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Wounded Heroes Association Incorporated is a Registered Australian Public Benevolent Institution No. 91 644 109 140 and is endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) from 23 Jul 2014. It is covered by Item 1 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.