The Vivian Bullwinkel Veterans and Families Wellbeing Centre, an initiative of Melbourne Legacy, was opened on Swanston St in April, providing crucial support to veterans and their families.
The centre will offer the veteran community access to vital care from specialist staff and essential support services including counselling, advocacy, case management and referral pathways.
The launch of The Vivian Bullwinkel Veterans and Families Wellbeing Centre marks the significant coming together of two of Victoria’s largest veteran support services with Melbourne Legacy and Victorian RSL collaborating to offer a holistic service for veterans and their families. The partnership establishes a platform for further combined service assistances from the two major Victorian ex-service organisations.
Joel Sardi served in the Australian Army for five years, and in 2014 he sustained a devastating injury that resulted on him becoming a C5 quadriplegic.
Joel said the centre would be vital in ensuring he and his family were provided ongoing, holistic care.
“When I was discharged from the army, I was immediately separated from the incredible support network and amazing friendships I had established over the previous five years,” he said.
“The wellbeing centre is going to be a place where I know I am always welcome to bring my family and we will be taken care of no matter what. I look at the wellbeing centre as my new battalion.”
Melbourne Legacy will rely heavily on the pivotal support of its donors in order to ensure the centre continues to grow and offer the community specialised care and trained staff they so heavily rely on.
“We are proud to be offering a safe haven for veterans and their families in the Melbourne CBD. The Vivian Bullwinkel Centre will provide them with the support and care they need, in one location. But we cannot continue the service our veteran community needs without the help of donors to fund this initiative well into the future,” Melbourne Legacy president Hugh Roberton said.
The wellbeing centre has been named in honour of an ordinary Australian who did extraordinary things. Vivian Bullwinkel was an Australian Army nurse during the Second World War and the lone survivor of the Bangka Island Massacre. She dedicated her life to nursing and honouring those killed on Bangka Island.
Vivian was a compassionate woman that exemplified the ANZAC spirit and embodied the care and support the centre hopes to offer the veteran community.
The centre’s launch in April unveiled a portrait of Vivian Bullwinkel by artist George Petrou OAM, which was also attended by Minister for Veterans Shaun Leane and RSL president Dr Rob Webster.
The wellbeing centre is located at Legacy House, level 3, 293 Swanston St •