Grants open to support our veterans

Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien is encouraging local organisations to apply for grants of up to $150,000 for projects to support the wellbeing and mental health of veterans.

The 2021-22 rounds of the Veteran and Community Grants and the Supporting Younger Veterans Grants will both provide grants of up to $50,000 for local, community-based projects and activities. A small number of grants of up to $150,000 are also available for projects that deliver wellbeing support services and activities of broad-scale benefit to the veteran community.

“Veterans of all ages need our support now more than ever, and these two grants programs allow Ex-Service Organisations (ESO) or community groups with a link to the broader veteran community to increase targeted support and services at a local level,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This funding will enable local groups, which have local knowledge of what measures will be most helpful to veterans within our communities, to improve existing services and support programs, build the capacity for future services, and raise awareness of the important issues our younger veterans face.”

Eligible activities may include social inclusion and connectedness activities for veterans and their families, mentoring or other support for veterans to assist with their transition to civilian life and employment, or online activities that address stigma and raise awareness of mental health issues faced by former defence personnel.

“Our veterans have earned the respect of our nation and they deserve our full support, and it is incredibly important at this time that we show them that we value them and their service to our country,” Mr O’Brien said.

“So I encourage all Wide Bay groups and organisations which provide services for veterans to get involved and apply for funding.”

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said recent grants have been delivered to a wide variety of support programs including wellness weekends and care packages for Defence members, fishing and sporting activities and even off-road racing.

“I recently had the opportunity to catch some waves with veterans from previous grant recipient, the Veteran Surf Project at Gerroa in New South Wales, and saw firsthand the truly remarkable positive impact it’s having for local veterans,” Minister Gee said.

“Their program brings veterans together, gets them talking, gets them active and gives them something to look forward to each week. It can be literally life-changing for some of those who participate.

“With this latest round of funding, I hope we can support many more groups like this.

“We want to see applications for practical projects and activities that support safe, accessible environments for veterans and their families to enable social connections and improve wellbeing.

“These grants will help improve and expand existing services, build capacity for future projects, and raise awareness of the issues facing local veterans.

“I meet regularly with many ex-service organisations and have enormous respect for the critical role they play in providing mateship, advocacy and support.”

The Australian Government is investing $32 million this financial year alone in grant programs to help the many groups that provide complementary services to our veterans.

The 2021-22 grants rounds are now open online through the Community Grants Hub and close 20 January 2022. For information about how to apply for grants online, see the Community Grants Hub website: www.communitygrants.gov.au.