Letter from Chair and CEO

The purpose of this letter is to thank you for your ongoing support to Soldier On and to outline some exciting changes that will be occurring within Soldier On over the next few months. As one of our most valuable supporters we wanted to tell you about these changes before they take effect. We hope you will be as excited as we are about the prospects for further enhancing the support that, working together, we provide to the veteran community. We will adjust our focus to provide an integrated and holistic transition program to wrap around the veteran and their family and offer a full range of psychological, family and community inclusion, and educational and employment ready services. Over the last four years we have learned much from our work within the veteran community.  While there are many issues that make it difficult for veterans to reintegrate back into the community we have learned that the key issue is around the process of transition from military life back into the civilian community.

The transition journey is frustrating and often stressful for veterans as they leave behind their unit, their community and their job. For many, the journey of transition provokes and contributes to family relationship break down and compounds mental and physical health and wellbeing issues. Transition does not just mean leaving the Australia Defence Force, it can be a lifelong process of re-integration back into society.

Transition is a journey that also profoundly impacts partners and children as well as extended family and community networks. To be effective the transition journey should empower, connect and strengthen the veteran’s resilience, while supporting the family unit.  The journey is unique to each veteran. It is a dynamic and complex process that requires agile service delivery capable of responding to unfolding circumstances.

A critical component of the transition journey is productive and purposeful employment. Soldier On is committed to working with Australian industry, the Government and other Service Organisations to create policies and programs that facilitate veteran friendly workplaces. The incredible skills and expertise of our ex-serving men and women have the potential to significantly enhance the capabilities and capacity of Australian industry. For those that are unable to work we will provide volunteering options to ensure the Australian community continues to benefit from the service that veterans can offer. The community can in turn offer opportunities for veterans to continue to engage and connect socially, with purpose.

For Soldier On these changes mark the beginning of a new phase of our organisational journey.  Since our inception four years ago, we have successfully raised community and political awareness of the needs of contemporary veterans. We have built a community of individuals, families, and corporate organisations (large and small) committed to working together to fund services and activities that empower, engage and connect veterans and their families. This next phase will keep the very best of the services we have become known for, while increasing our ability to provide more services across Australia.

Our mission to achieve the best reintegrated generation of serving and ex-serving men and women in Australia’s history has been, and continues to be, actively executed as we grow our service provision across Australia.  Importantly, we have become a provider of advice, support and services trusted by government, veterans, families and the Australian community. This is a level of trust that we do not take for granted and we look forward to continuing to work with you on the next phase of our journey. Together we will engage more actively in all elements of our community to provide a level of services that are the best in the world.

We thank you for everything you have done to support those who have been affected by their service and we look forward to building this incredible community with you. In doing so, having the best re-integrated generation of veterans and their families in our country’s history won’t be an aim, it will be a reality.

Regards,

John Bale, CEO and Co-Founder           Peter Leahy AC, Chairman of The Board