WAR veterans and their families now have a new hub to visit with the Ballarat Veterans Assistance Centre in Bakery Hill securing a near $7000 grant from the federal government.
Ballarat's federal MP Catherine King was on hand to present the grant, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the veterans enabling them to buy much needed furniture and computer equipment to provide services for the 5000 war veterans known to be living in Ballarat and the more than 5000 others who have never known support exists.
President of the BVAC Greg Green said the grant money, accessed through the Stronger Communities program would allow the centre to set up.
"The whole concept of a veterans assistance centre is part of the Military Brotherhood Motorcycle Club is to begin a veteran assistance centre in their area if they can," Mr Green said.
"It is very important to get something like this set up. There's 5000 veterans that we known of who live in the Ballarat area and there's probably another 5000 that we don't know of.
"And because we don't really have an RSL for veterans, we've created this so they have somewhere to go so they can ask questions, get access to services, have an advocate working with us and have access to welfare officers."
Mr Green said there were a lot of veterans that simply did not know their rights.
"There's a lot of veterans out there that just go out and hide and don't get access to services, our job is to seek them out," he said.
"Just the other day, we had people walk in off the street and spoke about their father who had gone into care who was a Vietnam veteran and had never claimed or done anything, now that family is going through the steps in order to get the help he may need.
"At 70, you automatically get a gold card to support, he didn't even know that."
Ms King encouraged other communities groups to apply for grants.
"Community groups do so much great work in our community, but we know that for many of them finding sufficient funding is a high-wire act," she said.
"This Ballarat Veterans Assistance Centre is a wonderful new venue which will put veterans and serving personnel in our community first."
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