The doors have officially opened at The Veterans & Families Hub Wodonga in Honour of Tim Fischer AC.
The RSL Victoria-run Hub in Victoria’s north-east aims to connect the large veteran community in Wodonga with a network of services including compensation advocacy, health, wellbeing, employment and education programs.
“We are excited to see the Hub finally open after years of planning and building. It will allow RSL Victoria to continue to provide its vital and first-rate services to veterans and their families. This area has been home to a large cohort of veterans for a long time and with Latchford Barracks nearby, this will not change for the foreseeable future,” says RSL Victoria President, Dr Robert Webster OAM.
The purpose-built facility is an upgrade from the now defunct Hume Veterans’ Information Centre and will allow for staff to continue their vital work with veterans.
“Many people will be aware of the types of services that have been provided, but this Hub will greatly expand on that. It will reach out into a much wider group, many of whom have not previously been engaged with, as well as a whole range of specialty services,” says Benjamin Webb, Veteran Hubs Manager.
On top of the services provided by the RSL, The Hub will also include those provided by other ex-service organisations, support groups, the ADF’s transitions team and various other private and public services.
The multi-million-dollar project was funded by a 2020 Federal Government grant.
“I have no doubt this Hub will serve your community proudly for many years to come and will make a positive impact on the lives of all of those that seek its services and support,” says Veterans’ Affairs Minister Matt Keogh.
Located on the main street of Wodonga, the almost 2,000 square metres of land was previously owned by the son of a World War Two veteran.
“It was a nice bonus that the owner had their own connection with military service and we’re able to keep it as a space that supports veterans and their families. It also ticks a lot of boxes in terms of accessibility and surrounding services. It’s next door to a big health centre, it’s across the road from a post office and a nice, open park, there’s a library and Council Chambers as well, so it’s central to Wodonga. We’ve got onsite parking, but there’s also a Council car park at the back as well,” says Benjamin Webb, Veteran Hubs Manager.
Inside The Hub's doors, you will find a space that has been thoughtfully designed for veterans and their families.
“There’s a lot of neutral colours, natural light, it’s a warm and calming environment. There’s a multipurpose room at the back, which can be set up for families, yoga sessions, conferences. If they’re seeking support, it’s been designed in a way to keep people’s privacy at the forefront, so they can feel safe, without putting themselves at risk of any stigmas or perceptions,” says Benjamin.
The well-attended Opening Day included dignitaries from the Federal Government, Australian Defence Force, the local council and ex-service organisations.
A wall featuring a mural of the late Tim Fischer AC, a well-known political figure and Vietnam Veteran, is expected to be unveiled early next year.