OUTREACH: War veteran Cameron McKnight and welfare practitioner Liz Hill outside the Australian Peacekeepers’ new office in Main Street, Alstonville.
OUTREACH: War veteran Cameron McKnight and welfare practitioner Liz Hill outside the Australian Peacekeepers’ new office in Main Street, Alstonville. Ross Kendall

New outreach centre for veterans opens in Alstonville

A NEW Welfare Outreach Centre for returned war veterans and allied personnel will be officially opened this weekend in Alstonville.

Previously the Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans' Association operated on a roaming basis travelling between burrowed rooms at the RSL clubs around the region.

But with more and more people accessing the services of the APPVA this became unworkable, welfare practitioner for the organisation Liz Hill said.

"So we decide to open our office," she said.

The APPVA provide a free-service for veterans who need some help with a whole range of issues, form dealing with government departments through to assisting with accommodation and finances.

The next nearest outlet is in Coffs Harbour, she said.

On Sunday at 1 pm the office will be officially opened by local politicians including Kevin Hogan, Tamara Smith and Jenny Dowel as well as representatives of various veterans organisations.

Cameron McKnight served in the air force for 32 years and experienced active duty across that period.

Returning to civilian life he felt the physical and mental strain of that time take its toll on his family, health and finances.

Among other things he gets help from the APPVA to navigate the many federal departments he needs to get back on track he said.

"You have to go between the Department of Defence, Commonwealth Super and the Department of Veterans Affairs. When there are lawyers involved it gets even more complicated," he said.

"It is great to have a space that affords privacy and security for the veterans to talk about what they need to talk about," he said.

Anybody is welcome to come into the office at 1/76 Main Street Ballina or to make a phone call (66283096), Ms Hill said.

"Service vets, their spouses, parents or friends are all welcome," she said.



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