Martin Shaw from Wounded Heroes, a national organisation based at Wacol that provides immediate assistance for veteran homelessness. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Martin Shaw from Wounded Heroes, a national organisation based at Wacol that provides immediate assistance for veteran homelessness. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Veterans Lounge tackles defence family issues

IPSWICH military families will be among the thousands catered for at a new Veterans Lounge created by defence charity organisation Wounded Heroes.

Designed as a gambling and alcohol free meeting place for veterans and families to make social connections, the lounge is set to be officially opened at Alderley, in Brisbane’s inner northern suburbs, next Tuesday.

The lounge aims to address the alarmingly high rates of mental illness, homelessness and suicide among the veteran community.

Wounded Heroes president Martin Shaw said current serving ADF members, veterans and their families are our sole target for the Veterans Lounge.

“Missing in our Defence community is a safe-place, without alcohol and gambling, for veterans and their families to meet in the comfort and a non-confronting place, for a coffee and social connection,” Mr Shaw said.

Wounded Heroes is not a widely known charity but it comes to the aid of hundreds of veterans and family members every year.
Wounded Heroes is not a widely known charity but it comes to the aid of hundreds of veterans and family members every year.

“A Veterans’ Lounge for our Brisbane military family is a first for southeast Queensland and a space not catered for by the larger ex-service organisations.”

It has been estimated the lounge could cater for up to 10,000 Ipswich and Brisbane military families per year.

Mr Shaw said anyone who visits will be identified by volunteers and offered assistance in meeting the demands of military or post military life.

“Combined with our organisation’s objectives around crisis and advocacy, the VetLounge will provide a safe and non-judgemental place for the families, supported by the courage and love from war-widows and the like that have ‘been there, done that’ and give the families the social engagement and avoid isolation,” Mr Shaw said.

“They will not be alone, with their families interstate, they can find support with Wounded Heroes.”

The concept is one that Wounded Heroes said they would consider bringing into other areas, including Ipswich, if it is successful.

The Veteran Lounge, located at 29 Samford Road, Alderley, will be launched March 16 by Patron Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, Chief of Joint Operations.