Geckos Family Centre
GECKOS is a place for Defence members, partners and families to build friendships, socialise and access information to assist with the challenges of a Defence lifestyle. The centre staff are familiar with the challenges for Defence members, partners and families due to the absence of members from home and the mobile lifestyle associated with Defence Force service. Geckos also provides a mix of formal and informal activities such as playgroups, coffee club and craft group each week.
Australian Air Force Cadets
Australian Air Force Cadets provides an opportunity for young people aged between 13 and 18 to meet new friends and build confidence and leadership skills, while experiencing a variety of activities both in the air and on the ground. Number 1 Wing is located at RAAF Base Townsville.
More info: Visit their website or send an oc.1wg [at] aafc.org.au (email) to the Officer Commanding.
Australian Military Wives Choir, Townsville
The Australian Military Wives Choir is a choir for women who support military personnel in Townsville. As a no audition, no experience necessary group, they welcome new members. Despite their name bearing the word ‘wives’, they welcome any woman who has close links to serving ADF members. Perhaps you're a female ADF member or a close family member - a partner, wife, sister or mother.
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 Townsville.
More info: You can contact the DSNSG National Office on 1800 037 674 or national.coordinator [at] dsnsg.org.au, 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.
North Townsville Community Hub
North Townsville Community Hub Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation that provides essential services such as regular playgroups and child health clinics in the northern districts of Townsville. Their Facebook page keeps locals up-to-date on all things Townsville.
More info: Like their Facebook page.
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.
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.
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!
Solid Rock Ministries
Solid Rock Ministries provides support and encouragement for Christian Defence spouses and serving members, with small groups meeting around Townsville often.
More info: Send them an solidrockedfence [at] gmail.com (email) or like their Facebook page.
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.
Upper Ross Community Centre
Located in the Upper Ross Community Centre, NQ Community Services Inc. (NQCS) is a not-for-profit community organisation which endeavours to provide a wide range of activities, programs, and services to meet current community needs through the principle of self-help, in partnership with government and non-government organisations. The centre currently provides a sewing class, JP service, library and book exchange, and free access to computers.
More info: Visit their website or phone (07) 4774 0144.