Community groups and centres

Useful links

Defence maintains community centres and neighbourhood houses around Australia, where community group meetings or family-orientated activities can be held. Information on community groups and centres in the area is available from Your Community on the DCO website.


Defence Special Needs Support Group
Defence Special Needs Support Group
Defence Special Needs Support Group

The Defence Special Needs Support Group (DSNSG) provides peer support and a range of programs to support Defence families with special needs. DSNSG has coordinators and groups right across Australia including here in Nowra.

More info: DSNSG has coordinators and groups right across Australia. To find a coordinator near you visit their website.


**Defence families with special needs**

Defence Community Organisation (DCO) provides practical assistance to Defence families who have dependants with special needs. This assistance especially focuses on reducing the impact of relocations and minimising any interruption to specialist services that the dependant needs.

In order to receive any of the assistance and support services available, you will first need to have your dependant with special needs formally recognised by Defence. Forms and details can be found on the DCO website.

Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling

Open Arms provides counselling and support services to Australia's military community. If you have served one day of continuous full-time service in the ADF you can call them for support. They also support families, reservists and some peacekeepers. Call Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling on 1800 011 046 for free, confidential counselling and group programs to support mental health and wellbeing.

More info: Check out the Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling website and group programs.


Military Brotherhood MMC - Illawarra Sub-Branch

The Military Brotherhood MMC Illawarra Sub Branch is a Tri Service club which comprises of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members including Commonwealth Forces, families, friends and supporters. Their mission is to provide a ‘safe-haven’ incorporating camaraderie, mateship and support to all members and non-members, while providing a common and enduring bond through Defence service and motorcycles. As a recognised and approved Ex-Service Organisation (ESO) the MBMMC Illawarra Sub Branch provide qualified welfare, pension and advocacy support to ex-service members and Veterans. We achieve this by promoting a harmonious working relationship with Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and other (ESO’s).

More info: illawarra [at] (Email), phone 0412 404 630 or visit their website.


Shoalhaven City Arts Centre and Regional Gallery

The Arts Centre prides itself on fostering dynamic public programs. It presents art, cultural and community events aimed at development, access and education for the use and enjoyment of the entire community. The Centre's facilities include four exhibition spaces, a gallery shop, a meeting room, a music studio, an art making studio, a courtyard and catering area for functions.

More info: Visit their website, council [at] (email) or phone (02) 4429 5444.


Shoalhaven Defence Families Association

The Shoalhaven Defence Families Association is a not-for-profit organisation set up to bring fun, friendship and support to defence and civilian families in the Shoalhaven and surrounding areas. They also hold regular community education courses according to member interests. In the past these have included First Aid, mechanics courses, homeopathy, cooking classes and specific crafts.

More info: Visit their website, shoalhavendfa [at] (email) or phone (02) 4421 5766.



Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services

Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Centre promotes and enables a diverse and inclusive community and strengthens unity, through representation and advocacy. Their two Neighbourhood Centres, in Nowra and East Nowra, are community hubs that provide residents with a range of services including information and referral, training and education programs, and social support.

More info: Visit their website or phone (02) 4421 5077.


Shoalhaven Heads Lions Club

The Shoalhaven Heads Lions Club is committed to making a difference in the local community and beyond by supporting and assisting the community in their endeavours. The social hub is open to all Shoalhaven Heads community members including the retired, the aged, the disabled, carers, stay at home mums/dads. Visitors are also very welcomed.

More info: Visit their website or contact them by shoalhavenheadslions [at] (email).


Soldier On – ‘Helping our wounded warriors’

Soldier On provides a suite of services and access to partner organisations to meet the needs of our wounded serving and ex-serving men and women so that they can start their journey on their road to recovery. They offer support staff, psychological assistance, links with local services and a support network of other veterans and families.

Soldier On also has Reintegration and Recovery Centres throughout Australia as part of its Reintegration and Recovery Network. These centres are located in Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and the Gold Coast.

More info: Visit their website, phone 1300 620 380 or like their Facebook page to find a centre near you and learn how to get involved. Soldier On are always looking for volunteers to fundraise and spread the good word!


The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia

The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia (PVA) is a nationwide support network for partners of past and present members of the ADF, offering support, friendship, information and understanding. PVA believes there is a great need for support for all partners/carers, widows/widowers and families of Australian veterans, both now and in the future.

More info: Visit their website to connect with your local NSW branch, or find them on Facebook.