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TAFE Digital graduate walks alongside veterans at Homes for Heroes

TAFE Digital

TAFE Digital graduate walks alongside veterans at Homes for Heroes

ANZAC Day in Penrith

17 September 2019

Blacktown local, Melissa Neish, is on a mission to ensure that veterans across Sydney have access to the accommodation and support services they need.

Homes for Heroes was established in 2014, to support the vast numbers of young veterans experiencing homelessness, providing a stable base from which recovery can occur. Homes for Heroes is funded by RSL LifeCare and manged operationally by Wesley Mission.

As a therapeutic specialist at Homes for Heroes and further inspired by her involvement with the Invictus Games last year, Ms Neish remains committed to assisting veterans experiencing homelessness in their recovery journey, after completing a Bachelor of Community Services online with TAFE Digital.

Having started her career as a nurse in mental health and over time working in acute care, rehabilitation, alcohol and other drugs, and PTSD programmes, the TAFE NSW degree provided Ms Neish with the opportunity to consolidate her existing knowledge and remain current within the sector.

Ms Neish said, “The program provides supported accommodation to veterans experiencing homelessness and assists them to access the supportive services they may require throughout their recovery journey.

“I feel lucky that my job allows me to walk alongside people as they embark on making changes towards living the life they choose.”

“With consideration to my family’s needs I moved away from clinical care and shift work, to community services working in perinatal mental health, partners in recovery and now, Homes for Heroes,” she said.

“Studying online with TAFE NSW was perfect for me - I could fit completing the degree in with my family and work commitments.”

As part of her training, Ms Neish participated in a feasibility study with SMART Recovery, a free group program assisting people with problematic behaviours, including addictions to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, food and shopping.

“This placement was very relevant to my work as we offer SMART Recovery to Homes for Heroes residents,” she said.

When Ms Neish started working with Homes for Heroes, support was facilitated from one site in Narrabeen and she was able to lead the expansion of the service to develop and implement the Western Sydney program in 2016, which is operationally managed by Wesley Mission.

The Bachelor of Community Services has spurred Ms Neish to study even further, with her now completing a Masters in Mental Health.

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Media contact: Bonny Gunn, TAFE Digital Communications and Media Business Partner. M: 0417 134 048