AFTER facing near extinction, a new cohort of younger members is helping to drag the Fremantle RSL back from the dead.
Afghanistan veteran Rob Cashman remembers fondly the Anzac march where he met the RSL’s Les Butt, a Vietnam and Borneo Vet himself, in what was a chance meeting that would see the pair embark on a new battle to help re-engage existing club members and bring new blood to the fold.
Just a few months into the newly revamped Fremantle RSL, Mr Cashman said the club had doubled its membership base and had started helping the local community again.
“We have increased our membership to over 37 from where we were previously at only 18, but it has not been easy,” he said.
“We need to find the connection point between ex-service personnel, current serving members and people who have a family connection to the military, but we need more members and we want people to feel that they can contribute.
“Recently we co-sponsored a fourth year physiotherapy student to volunteer aboard the Leeuwin II and another interest at the moment is Night Hoops, which is dedicated to supporting young people make positive life choices and break the cycle of disadvantage.”
The club has wasted no time busying themselves with many ideas already in the pipeline, including a push to create a Defence Community Hub in Fremantle, a centre that would bring together health, welfare and community-based programs for the defence and broader communities to use in the one place.
“The sub-branch committee is of the mind that too many of our ex-service members are falling through the cracks in our society,” he said.
Anyone who is interested in joining the Fremantle RSL can call 9339 2508.