Social programs

A number of tailored program and activities have been developed specifically for the ex-service community and their families by the Department of Veterans' Affairs or External Service Organisations.

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Volunteering is a positive way to contribute to your local community and connect with other like-minded people. It can involve anything from fundraising for charities to being a veteran mentor. These opportunities can be short-term, long-term, or one-off events, suitable for the time you can commit and the roles you are interested in.

To learn more about volunteering opportunities in your area, visit Go Volunteer

GoVolunteer is an initiative of Volunteering Australia. Our aim is to match people who are interested in volunteering with appropriate volunteering opportunities. The website uses a national database of volunteering opportunities. These are listed by volunteering involving organisations, Volunteer Resource Centres and State Volunteer Centres.

Soldier On

Soldier On offers a range of social connection activities and programs to encourage service personnel and their families reconnect with themselves and build links with the wider community.


Mates4Mates has developed various social activities which are run through their centres. ‘Mates’ are the wounded, injured or ill current or ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel.

Activities include:

  • Drop-in environment
  • Regular social BBQs
  • Family fun days (particularly in school holidays)
  • Group social activities, and
  • Peer support.

Veterans' Health Week

Veterans’ Health Week provides an opportunity for veteran and ex-service community members and their families to participate, connect and influence the health and wellbeing of themselves and their friends. Veterans’ Health Week is held on an annual basis in October.

DVA will support ex-service organisations (ESOs) and community organisations with established links to the veteran community to deliver a range of events to highlight the importance of improving and maintaining good mental health.

Mental wellness is essential for an individual's overall health and wellbeing which, in turn, strongly influences our physical health and social connectedness with family, friends and community.

ESOs and community organisations can apply for VHW funding or to register an event — refer to the VHW funding and registration guidelines for more information.

Funding is available through DVA for VHW events. Learn more here.

Men's Shed

Consider becoming a member of your local Men’s Shed. A Men’s Shed provides a safe environment where you can work on your own project or a community project in an atmosphere of mateship.

Cooking for One or Two

The Cooking for One or Two program is a five-session cooking skills program designed to improve your confidence in preparing a variety of healthy meals using easy cooking techniques.

Developed in consultation with nutritionists and DVA's Dietician, the program aims to improve the quality of life for participants and their families by providing lessons in basic cooking skills and nutrition and to promote the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices in an environment of positive social engagement.

If followed strictly, each session will take approximately two-and-a-half hours to deliver. However, the resources can also be tailored and delivered to suit the needs of any group of people, veterans and general community members alike. It can even be tailored for family groups, so kids can enjoy learning new skills alongside their parents.

For more information about getting a group together and for funding, email CMBSHPPST [at]