New centre opens to provide better services for veterans

AFTER four years of “stress and hassle”, the Laidley RSL finally have a place to truly call their own.

The vital organisation moved from their flood-prone, dungeon like offices to a brand-new facility on the weekend.

The new building has been years in the planning and president Tom Barton couldn’t be happy to finally be moved in.

“We’re happy with the fact that we’re moving into it,” Mr Barton said.

The new facility isn’t just a shiny new facility – it’ opening the doors to a host of new opportunities for the RSL.

The extra space at the Laidley Cultural Centre will allow the RSL to bring on a second welfare support officer for its members.

“(It) increases our opportunity to work with vets, old and new,” he said.

The facility will also give the support officers more privacy for assisting clients.

“In the old building there was privacy, and privacy is a big concern when you’re talking to someone who might have PTSD or has a problem,” he said.

“Here, our welfare offices have got their own offices – they can shut the door and can go ahead in privacy.”

Department of Veteran affairs ADF support section director Stuart Bagnall said the new facilities were a fantastic asset for the RSL.

“I’m from a small country town, and I recognise the importance of community, and of having somewhere that is a sanctuary and where people can gather and enjoy each other’s company where they feel safe,” Mr Bagnall said.

“People will look around and they won’t be too many facilities that are going to match this in terms of the community hub.”

Mr Barton said the club hoped the new facility would draw more attention to the club and encourage younger veterans to become involved.

“It puts us on the – yeah sure we’ve been in Laidley for 60 years, but people drive passed now and they can see it,” he said.


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