Harbord Diggers Creates Veterans' Health Week Program To Attract and Benefit Veterans Young and Old

18 Oct 2019

An Invictus Games panel comprised of highly decorated veterans and a comedy night boasting some of the country’s most talented comics headline a bumper week of special events and offers for local veterans during Veterans’ Health Week at Harbord Diggers, Saturday 26 October to Sunday 3 November.

Harbord Diggers General Manager Michael Phillips says the club is thrilled to be supporting such an important week.

“As a community club, we are proud to be supporting the veterans of our community and it’s imperative that we acknowledge and celebrate everything our defence force personnel have done for our country.

“Veterans’ Health Week is an opportunity for veterans to improve their health and wellbeing, something which is very important to us at Harbord Diggers.

“Both the comedy night and the Invictus Games panel will be open to all and we encourage anyone who might be interested to come along. We will have many different events and activities over the course of the week, all of which are specifically designed to benefit the veterans of our community,” says Michael.

The Club’s health and wellbeing facilities and support for veterans

Member for Manly James Griffin, whose parents served in the army, is encouraging Defence Force personnel across the Northern Beaches to visit the Club during Veterans’ Health Week.

“Not every veteran has a health problem and not every veteran needs support as they transition from the defence forces, however in the modern era we have a far better appreciation of the need to look after our health and wellbeing, especially for former defence personnel.

“The week-long series of activities and events will highlight the open and community-based environment of the Diggers and the power of support for our veterans. By coming to the Club, they will get an appreciation of the fantastic services provided and meet some of the service providers.

“We must also consider our younger veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The Diggers club and the local RSL Sub Branch provide a contemporary approach to health and wellbeing, GFitness being one example of an outstanding asset for young diggers who want to be physically active and stay fit,” says James.

Local Vietnam veteran Peter Erickson has been a member of the Club and Harbord Diggers RSL Sub Branch since 1967 and has benefited from their facilities and social life since.

“I realised that by joining, I could go to the gym, meet other veterans and enjoy a cup of coffee afterwards,” said Peter. “The Diggers was the first club in Australia to have a gym for serving and retired defence force personnel to look after their bodies and minds. Today, the gym has the best facilities for fitness, three different classes of Yoga and meditation and a crèche, which enables them to enjoy the benefits of friendship and health.”

This year’s Veterans’ Health Week theme is mental wellness, and, fittingly Harbord Diggers’ new Health and Wellbeing precinct will be officially launched on the first day of the week. A number of the planned activities will be run from the state-of-the-art facilities within the precinct including free access to the GFitness gym for veterans, a special Veterans’ Health Class on the Tuesday, as well as dining offers for veterans at AcquaFresca by Pilu and Teddy Larkins Seafood and Steakhouse.

More special events and offers

The Invictus Games panel on Tuesday 29 October is expected to be one of the most inspiring, with a Support Services Expo on display in the Club from 5pm preceding the panel discussion.

  • Gwen Cherne
  • Garth Callender
  • Blair Hickey
  • Adrian Talbot

It promises to be a truly unique night, as those present will hear from Gwen Cherne, Garth Callender, Blair Hicky and Adrian Talbot athletes on how they overcame personal challenges and went on to represent their country at the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games – one which saw Prince Harry take part.

The comedy night, aptly titled Comedy for a Cause, will bring together four favourites of the stand-up scene in support of ‘Homes for Heroes’, which looks to provide safe and secure accommodation, as well as rehabilitation services, for returned veterans and their families. Tickets are just $30 and a link to the tickets is available through the Diggers website.

Gary Eck, Brett Nichols, Christina Van Look and Joe Comino will each test out their latest material in a bid to combat veteran homelessness. It is estimated that around 3,000 veterans are sleeping rough each night.

Harbord Diggers will also host a ‘Walk for Wellbeing’ on Wednesday - a guided tour of Freshwater’s ANZAC precinct - and ‘A Day with the Diggers’, a series of seminars celebrating mateship, sacrifice, courage and endurance hosted by James Griffin on Thursday. Both events are open only to veterans, their families and carers.

For a full list of Veteran’s Health Week activities at Harbord Diggers and information on how to secure your place, please visit www.harborddiggers.com.au. Comedy for a Cause is restricted to over 18s only.

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