Coffee and Conversations: a Positive Move for Veterans

Broadford RSL committee members are connecting local veterans through a monthly Veterans’ Breakfast.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Broadford RSL identified a disconnect amongst the ex-service personnel in their community, and kick-started an initiative to get isolated veterans together in a relaxed and safe environment.

“We wanted to get veterans back to the RSL to engage with like-minded individuals, without the pressure of being a member of the RSL or attending formal meetings and functions,” said James Evans, Broadford RSL President.

With the current focus on veteran’s issues in the media, “our committee felt these breakfasts would provide an avenue where veterans can get additional support. The focus is about providing a safe environment, allowing a gradual return to social interactions.”

The breakfasts, held on the third Sunday of every month since February 2022, have proved popular with RSL members and non-members, with around 20 veterans and their families attending each event.

“We have young families with their children attending, and veterans from their 20s up to their 90s,” James said.  “Everyone is welcome, and with the exceptional work of our committee members, we put on a decent feed.”

James said a fridge, outdoor tables, heater and larger barbecue have been purchased, with the hope of being able to accommodate more attendees, thanks to Health and Wellbeing funding from DVA. James said taking the first step is the hardest part for veterans hesitant to attend the breakfasts.

“We are there to support you,” he said. “There is no pressure. Come along, enjoy some food and talk to others – that is what the whole initiative is all about.”

The Broadford RSL Veteran’s Breakfasts are held on the third Sunday of every month at 27 Murchison Street, Broadford, Victoria from 8.30am.