Funding to help Blue Mountains veteran’s association
The Blue Mountains Vietnam Veterans and Associated Forces ex-service organisation (ESO) have received $8,296 to provide assistance to former and current defence personnel and their families under the Government’s Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) grants program.
The funding will enable the ESO to purchase a new printer to help them to continue to undertake their welfare and advocacy work.
Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said ESOs played an invaluable role in supporting those who had severed their nation.
“Ex-service organisations provide invaluable support to our veterans and their families,” Senator Payne said.
“I’m sure I join with the whole Blue Mountains community in thanking the Association for their important and vital work in these difficult times.”
Mr John Fenton JP, the Association’s welfare officer, said that with the onset of COVID-19, members had rallied to support each other.
“Ongoing mental health issues combined with the social distancing requirements have made things doubly difficult, so this funding news is just wonderful,” Mr Fenton said.
“The Association has really banded together. Members have been undertaking welfare checks over the phone to help.
“The purpose of this funding is to support our members and their families in regard to their mental health and social isolation.”
Mr Chris McKay, Secretary of the Association, said the funding had come at a crucial time.
“Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, our self-funded Association hasn’t been able to carry out our normal fundraising activities, so this DVA grant is really welcome, Mr McKay said.
"The monies will be used to assist veterans in overcoming social isolation, which is probably the major concern of ESOs particularly as the veteran cohort is ageing. This concern has been exacerbated by the need to self-isolate during the COVID 19 pandemic.”
For more information on BEST grants visit the grants page on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website at www.dva.gov.au/grants.
Picture credit: Blue Mountains Gazette, 2015.