Soldier On’s March On campaign has been recognised for Outstanding Achievement (OAA) in The Australian Charity Awards 2021.
The OAA has been established to recognise organisations for the exceptional work undertaken through their charitable activities. The Australian Charity Awards are a partner program of The Australian Business Awards.
“The 2021 Australian Charity Awards have recognised ten organisations for their outstanding achievements in successfully managing their various programs, projects and services by meeting their challenges during these difficult times,” said Ms Tara Johnston, Australian Charity Awards Program Director.
“As the world changes, many of these organisations have succeeded by rethinking their community engagement strategies and implementing new business tools, practices, and policies to facilitate their operations beyond the physical office,” Ms Johnston added.
Soldier On is Australia’s only national, fully integrated, and holistic support services provider for our national service personnel and their families.
Currently reaching more than 6,000 Australian veterans and their families, Soldier On offers support services including a range of mental health and wellbeing services, employment support and education programs, as well as activities focused on connections with family, friends, and the broader community.
In response to the devastating statistics of veteran and Defence suicide, Soldier On established the March On challenge. March On is a virtual walking challenge, calling upon Australians to walk 96 kilometres, the length of Kokoda, during the month of March to raise funds to help prevent veteran suicide. The challenge pays tribute to the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers in Kokoda in World War II and highlights the importance of assisting our serving and ex-serving veterans of today.
In 2021, more than 6,200 participants, 862 teams, and 27 schools took part in the challenge, marching a total of 382,000km across the globe in unique ways, with some participants even completing their challenge across the ocean floor and mountain peaks.
The campaign received tremendous support from the Australian public, raising more than $1.85 million in support of our veteran community. The funds raised from March On will go directly towards the provision of life-changing support services for our contemporary veterans and their family members, including mental health support, employment and education assistance, and opportunities for social connection.
Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said the organisation is honoured to receive this award.
“The suicide rate among Australian veterans is simply unacceptable. Soldier On knows what must be done. We’ve proven that our programs are comprehensive and relevant to help our veterans and their families build better futures following their service. The challenge now is to expand our services across all areas of the nation where veterans are based but find themselves without support. This requires funding and the demonstrated support of every Australian. This is why we are marching on,” Mr Slavich said.
“We are thrilled to see the tremendous success of the March On challenge, with more than $1.85 million raised. Every dollar raised as part of the March On challenge will go directly to the services that Soldier On provides to our veteran community. We are putting on more Psychologists, more Counsellors, and offering more social activities to help prevent veteran suicide. We look forward to hosting the event again in 2022,” Mr Slavich added.