Challenges faced by defence force personnel transitioning back into society at the end of their service are well known but rarely easily solved.
Whether it’s a physical ailment, a mental health issue or simply difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life, the post-service period can be extremely challenging for personnel and their families.
But a unique facility at Jarrahdale south-east of Perth is putting building blocks in place to ensure that transition is as smooth as possible. Located in idyllic bushland, the Recovery and Restoration Veterans Transition Centre offers former and current service personnel the opportunity to access a range of counselling services, to undertake vocational rehabilitation, work in men’s and women’s sheds, and, if necessary, a quiet and safe spot in which they can find “ head space.”
WA Mineral Sands producer Doral provided financial assistance, along with kitchen cabinetry, solar panels and other building materials to help fit out the Centre’s communal kitchen. Doral was alerted to the project by employee Nick Carter, an ex-navy serviceman familiar with the challenges faced by veterans.
Partnership and Relationship Manager Greg Green said the Centre served a simple but highly important purpose.
“The philosophy is simple – to support and provide pathways and opportunities for our members, both ex and existing defence force personnel to transition from the military back into the community,” Green said.
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Spread across three separate lots , the Centre features 20 A-Frame one-bedroom chalets, 10 two-bedroom cottages, two four-bedroom houses, a further three two-bedroom dwellings, three halls (including a main hall with a kitchen), workshops, office space and recreational facilities such as tennis courts, cricket nets and a pool.
Operations Manager Alan Ingram said the transition out of defence force life was often challenging but the Centre offered a pathway and focus that ex-personnel embraced.
“The transition from the military and army is like starting a completely new life,” Ingram said.
“It’s not an easy step to make, there are so many knockbacks you can get.”
“If people are suffering with depression or PTSD they can come down here and get a task, work on that project themselves and take their time with it.”
Volunteer Bronwyn, who was discharged from service because of a back injury, said she expected the Centre to appeal to a range of former defence force personnel.
“I know of many other people who have discharged with medical or psychological reasons and are struggling to get back into the civilian world and get their lives moving again,” she said.
“I think this place has got so much potential and there are so many people who will benefit from it.”
A big thanks to WA Country Builders and Rural Building Co. who provided the gas top and stove in the kitchen.