IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY: Yoga is just one of the many online activities available to veterans in regional communities.
IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY: Yoga is just one of the many online activities available to veterans in regional communities.

Full accessibility for local veterans with support program

BUNDABERG veterans are encouraged to participate in a program designed to cater to the needs of those living in regional communities.

Isolation presented many challenges in accessing support and resources, which is why charity Mates4Mates is now offering services through an online platform, to assist veterans across the country.

CEO Troy Watson said while their Family Recovery Centres will continue operating in outreach areas and some major cities, evolving to incorporate technology will mean the high demand in regional areas can also be met.

"When restrictions were first put in place, we transitioned all of our services online and found that many people benefited from having the option to access services from their own home, particularly if they lived rurally or had injuries that made travel difficult," Mr Watson said.

"As a result, we will continue to offer some services online to complement our face-to-face support options offered at each Family Recovery Centre and in outreach areas."

Southeast Queensland manager Marc Diplock said the online services were suited to Bundaberg veterans and their families.

"For locals living in the Bundaberg region, we have many options available that they can access from online pilates and yoga, to creative programs like online art classes and cooking classes," Mr Diplock said.

"With restrictions easing, we are also starting up our face-to-face coffee support group this week which is held each Friday morning at 9am at River Cruise Cafe.

"We know that there is a need for support in the local area, with many veterans and their families expressing interest and attending programs that have been held."

Throughout the months of April and May and during isolation, the organisation conducted more than 650 psychology and 270 physiology appointments, as well as nearly 500 hours of exercise and social activities, through Telehealth and videoconferencing platform Zoom.

"We also provided over 700 pieces of content online from virtual cooking classes and coffee groups to online fitness challenges, health education sessions, and art lessons," Mr Watson said.

"For many charities, like Mates4Mates, the way services were delivered had to change and it was important that we were able to immediately respond and adapt to the needs of those we support.

"We're pleased to be back open and offering more services than ever, all while following strict Government guidelines and hygiene measures to keep everyone safe."

Mates4Mates provides support and rehabilitation to current and ex-serving members of the defence force, as well as their families.

Psychology and physiology appointments require a referral from a general practitioner.

Online activities can be found and veterans can join at mates4mates.org.

To get in touch, phone 1300 462 837.



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