RSL NSW members from more than 70 sub-branches have raised $2.1 million for RSL LifeCare.
The funds will go towards a range of veteran services including physical and mental health services, Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) claims and advocacy, education and employment, housing, financial assistance and social services.
RSL NSW President Ray James says the $2.1 million donation reflects the commitment of veterans across the state to “help their mates” by ensuring that veterans and their families receive the support and services they need.
Mr James says RSL NSW, the state’s largest member-based charity, and its partner charity RSL LifeCare, have experienced an increased need for veteran support services this year.
“I expect this will continue with the pressure of COVID-19 restrictions, the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and the Australian Defence Force’s withdrawal from the conflict in Afghanistan,” he says.
RSL NSW announced in August that it has established an office to advocate for and support veterans throughout the royal commission, including assistance with the preparation of submissions and support for veterans appearing at hearings.
RSL LifeCare chairman Mark Dickson expects an increase in demand for financial assistance and other support as communities emerge from lockdown over the next few months.
“The donation from RSL NSW will help to support the expansion of the organisation’s service delivery in regional communities, including veteran wellbeing centres and placement of remote claims advisers, like those in Ballina and the Newcastle region,” says Mr Dickson, who became board chairman in July.
“The donation will help to support clients of the RSL Employment Program as we aim to place 100 veterans in new roles over the next financial year and support the processing of 500 claims to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.”
The RSL Employment Program is funded by the Australian Government and is delivered in NSW by RSL LifeCare on behalf of RSL NSW.
With the support of RSL NSW sub-branches and other donors, RSL LifeCare has provided more than $500,000 in financial assistance, supporting essential services for veterans and their families in 2020.
Throughout 2020 RSL LifeCare also assisted 107 veterans experiencing homelessness, helped 505 veterans to lodge 1729 DVA claims and lodged 173 new Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) appeals, complete 244 alternative dispute resolution mediation discussions and represented veterans at 57 full VRB hearings.
RSL LifeCare is a public company limited by guarantee. RSL NSW is the sole member of the charity and its directors are appointed by RSL NSW.
RSL NSW does not own or operate clubs or benefit from the proceeds of the sale of alcohol or gambling.