Community groups and centres

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.

Little Diggers Community Centre 

Little Diggers Community Centre (LDCC) is a Defence-sponsored community group that aims to help Defence families feel confident, resilient and connected in Cairns. LDCC welcomes Defence and non-Defence families from all over Cairns, making it a great place to meet other local families and make new friends.

More info: Visit their website, email, phone 0498 505 494, or like their Facebook page.


Autism Queensland

Autism Queensland is a not-for-profit organisation with a vision for a life of participation, opportunity and choice for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They provide specialised education, therapy and support services for people of all ages with ASD and their families and are Queensland's longest serving and most experienced agency in the delivery of early intervention, education and training, therapy and respite care. 

More info: Visit their website to connect with their many offices throughout QLD.


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 Cairns.

More info: You can contact the DSNSG National Office on 1800 037 674 or national.coordinator [at], or visit their website for more details.


**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.


GSL: A good start to life

GSL supports young people and their families who are affected by a disability or mental health disorder. Caring support workers offer fun and supportive activities and respite services for Defence families.

More info: Visit their website, information [at] (email) or phone (07) 4031 0123.


RSL Queensland

RSL Queensland has evolved to be the largest ex-service organisation in the state, with over 240 Sub Branches across 10 districts offering practical assistance including: Assistance with DVA claims; emergency financial assistance; home and hospital visits; short-term emergency accommodation; low cost housing; bereavement assistance; comradeship and mateship and connections to other ex-service organisations.

Their staff and volunteers work to: Provide ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day services; provide welfare and support for the wounded, injured and ill and their families; honour the memory of those who have served through commemorative events; preserve the spirit of mateship within the ADF community and promote the interests of veterans and ADF members to Government and the wider community.

More info: Visit their website or call (07) 3634 9444.

Hambledon House Community Centre

Hambledon House Community Centre aims to promote, support and enhance community, family and individual lifestyles by providing opportunities for the community to come together. They provide reliable and appropriate information and referral services and deliver free, responsive and confidential professional counselling and support services.

More info: Visit their website, hambledonhouse [at] (email) or phone (07) 4044 3410.


Marlin Coast Neighbourhood Centre

The Marlin Coast Neighbourhood Centre is an incorporated community-based organisation which offers a range of services and support to the Cairns community. The Centre currently offers Hatha yoga classes, ukulele classes and line dancing.

More info: Visit their website, admin [at] (email) or phone (07) 4055 6440.


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 QLD branch, or find them on Facebook.


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!


Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service provides free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and anger. 

More info: Check out the VVCS Group Programs and VVCS Group Programs calendar.