DEFENCE force veterans are encouraged to make the most of a support service in Heathridge.
The Joondalup City RSL Sub-branch has started offering its welfare and advocacy services from the Heathridge Leisure Centre.
Previously, its volunteers were running these from their homes and the sub-branch’s assets were kept in various homes and garages.
Secretary Ken Beven said while welfare assistance was only available to RSL members, all ex-service people could access support and advice.
“We’ve got these younger people coming on and they’re not sure where to go,” he said.
“A lot of people when they leave aren’t told what they’re entitled to.”
He said they aimed to link veterans to services available and estimated there were about 5500 ex-service people within the City of Joondalup.
The volunteers liaise with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on veterans’ behalf and one is a qualified counsellor who can provide support.
“What we want to try and do is get out to the younger fellas that you don’t have to go through all this crap we older veterans went through; there’s assistance,” he said.
“I know some that came back; it would have helped them immensely. We don’t want another generation going through the same thing.”
Mr Beven stressed the need for veterans to talk about their experiences and said it was often easier talking to fellow veterans.
The sub-branch is currently encouraging people to make contact via phone but eventually hopes to offer a drop-in service.
“We want to get to everybody, you don’t have to be a member,” he said. “Just make contact, see what’s there; if there’s something we can’t do we source it for them.
“It makes me feel good when you look at it… deep down people need help.”
Call 0434 269 410.