Andrew Russell Veteran Living Accommodation Officially Opens

  • Andrew Russell Memorial Plaque

    Andrew Russell Memorial Plaque

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Helping our homeless veterans

On Friday 16th February 2018, exactly 16 years after South Australian born SAS soldier Sergeant Andrew Russell was killed in Afghanistan, the homeless veteran accommodation named in his honour was officially opened.

RSL Care SA’s Andrew Russell Veteran Living (ARVL) program assists contemporary veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with transit accommodation.  ARVL has provided nearly 6,000 nights of accommodation to veterans and their families.

During the pilot program, RSL Care SA utilised residential college rooms at the Australian Lutheran College in North Adelaide. As the program became more widely recognised and the referrals of homeless veterans intensified, RSL Care SA identified the need to look for more suitable and permanent accommodation for the program.

Thankfully a wonderful opportunity arose and we are very pleased to announce the purchase of a 10 unit block located in Sturt. The new ARVL accommodation was officially opened on Friday by Andrew’s parents, Bob and Jan Russell, with the unveiling of a memorial plaque, funded via a grant through Veterans SA, that now sits proudly at the front of the units.

Following the unveiling, approximately 60 guests from the veteran community, mental health sector, Members of Parliament, senior representatives of Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as other special guests attended a function at the Marion RSL.

Department of Veterans Affairs, Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) Grant

With 10 empty units waiting for veterans to transfer over, the next step was to organise furniture and utensils to ensure the units were fully functional and ready for emergency housing.   This was made possible with our successful application for funding through the Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) Grant by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The SYV grant program was established to support the needs of younger veterans as they leave the Australian Defence Force and integrate into civilian life, with all the challenges that accompany that unique transition. The Minister for Veterans Affairs, Dan Tehan, identified veteran homelessness as a significant & complex issue. RSL Care SA has responded to this issue through the Andrew Russell Veteran Living program.

Through the SYV grant, we applied for funding to fit out the 10 new ARVL accommodation units with furniture and goods to allow veterans needing temporary emergency accommodation to move straight in.

How it all works

The ARVL program has developed referral pathways into the program from Ward 17 at the Repatriation Hospital (now the Jamie Larcombe Centre at Glenside), a range of community services, other ex-service organisations and word of mouth. When RSL Care SA receives a referral, ARVL Program Manager, Ben Challinor, makes contact with the participant and meets with them to discuss their needs.

Where appropriate, Ben supports them into the ARVL emergency accommodation and works with them over time to link them to community, public and private service providers who may assist with the veteran’s circumstances of homelessness. These services include medical, financial, employment and social services.

For more information on ARVL, please contact Program Manager Ben Challinor on 8379 2600.

To donate to ARVL or any of our other programs, please click here. All donations are tax deductible and 100% of donations received go directly to the programs.

Getting To Know Our Volunteers

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Volunteers of RSL Care SA

RSL Care SA is privileged to have a wonderful, rapidly growing database of passionate volunteers. All our volunteers are highly valued and seen as a vital part of our organisation. Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers, we are able to offer a range of versatile activities and services that enrich the lives of our residents.

To demonstrate just how important volunteers are to our organisation, we will be posting monthly interviews with our volunteers showing exactly what it is they do and why.


Sandra Pavia is our Volunteer Coordinator and has been working at RSL Care SA for over 12 months.  Working closely with the residents, Sandra has been able to tailor volunteer services to suit their various needs. Having a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator has seen our volunteer database double over the last year! We currently have 34 active volunteers, and of course we are always looking for more! See Sandra’s interview below:

What sorts of activities do volunteers do with our residents?

Volunteers participate in a range of different activities with our residents, such as; companionship and social support; assistance on outings or shopping; driving the bus for resident outings; beauty therapy services such as manicures; organising or assisting with participation in activities; Pastoral care and faith support; assistance with wellbeing initiatives and providing pet therapy engagement with residents to list a few

We also have volunteers who provide support in areas such as the kitchen, garden and maintenance.

Volunteers with the right qualifications are also able to go into specialised areas such as Andrew Russell Veteran Living (ARVL), which is our program for younger veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Why do you think volunteers are so valued at RSL Care SA?

We value our volunteers because we recognise the critical role they play in supporting and enhancing the lives of our residents and hope that they gain as much enjoyment from their volunteering as our residents do. Volunteers also support the organisation in fulfilling its mission and vision.

What benefits do you see to the resident’s from having volunteers visit regularly?

Volunteers are able to focus on the resident’s individual needs at the time of their visit, spend quality time with them, nurture friendships, sit and listen, embrace natural reminiscing and support residents social connections.

How do you become a volunteer at RSL Care SA?

To volunteer at RSL Care SA all you need to have is a desire to contribute to the enhancement of our residents lives, an ability to commit as little as one hour per week, and undertake the necessary approval processes required to work in Aged Care.


Jim has been volunteering at the War Veterans Home in Myrtle Bank for about nine months and is a wonderful addition to our Veterans Support Group. Watch his interview below!

If you wish to enquire further about volunteer opportunities, please contact Sandra Pavia on 8379 2600. Sandra will be happy to schedule a time to meet with you and discuss your areas of interest.

Andrew Russell Veteran Living

  • ARVL


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“I was hitting walls here there and everywhere, so for someone to put out their hand and say ‘we can help you, mate’, I just thought it was beautiful”

On Monday the 22nd of January, Helen Meyer of ‘Service Voices’ on Radio Adelaide broadcast an interview conducted with Ben Challinor, Program Manager for our Andrew Russell Veteran Living (ARVL) program, as well as with ARVL resident, Phil.

To listen to Ben talk about how the ARVL program is assisting veterans that are homeless or at risk of homelessness, please click here.

To listen to Phil, a resident of the ARVL program, and the positive impact that our Andrew Russell Veteran Living program has had on his life, please click here.



The Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary

  • Gawler RSL Womens Auxiliary

    Gawler RSL Womens Auxiliary

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The Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary

The War Veterans Home honours its long relationship with the Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary with an annual luncheon

A Rich History

The Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary formed in 1950 as a team of dedicated women who hoped to provide financial support to service related organisations. The members have been very successful in their mission, providing numerous physical donations each year and hosting many fundraising events.

These ever charming and charismatic ladies have been welcome guests at The War Veteran’s Home now for almost 50 years. Current members have reminisced on our long history together;

The RSL Women’s Auxiliary visited the War Veterans home for the first time on September 28th 1968, and they brought gifts of oranges and cigarettes for the solely male residents. During this period the facility was home to many ex-servicemen who did not have a home to return to after their service.

In 1974 the men from the War Veterans Home began visiting the Women’s Auxiliary at their club room in Gawler. The veterans would present the ladies with toys, rugs and lead light glass butterfly’s and birds; all items that were handmade at the War Veterans Home onsite workshop. The ladies would then go on to sell these items and donate the funds back to the home.

As the home gradually evolved into the aged care facility that exists today, the ladies began donating home ware items that could be enjoyed by all residents, and their much loved crochet blankets are still included in our welcome packages for new residents.

Supporting our veterans today

Today these wonderful women continue to provide support to our veterans, having donated over $2,000 at their recent luncheon for our Andrew Russel Veteran Living (ARVL) program. This donation will go a long way in helping RSL Care SA to provide accommodation to ex-service men and women who are facing homelessness.

RSL Care SA looks forward to hosting many more lunches with the Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary.

For more information on ARVL, please click here.

To make a donation, please click here.  

RSL Care SA staff support Walk a Mile in my Boots

  • RSL Care SA staff support Walk a Mile in my Boots

    RSL Care SA staff support Walk a Mile in my Boots

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Walk a Mile in my Boots

RSL Care SA walk for the Homeless Veterans Support fundraiser

For the fourth year in a row, RSL Care SA staff braved the chilly early morning conditions to participate in the Hutt Street Centre’s Walk a Mile in my Boots on Friday 11th August.

Walk a mile in my boots provides RSL Care SA with a fantastic opportunity to show its support for an organisation that does so much for those experiencing homelessness in Adelaide. Staff are particularly passionate about supporting those experiencing homelessness. Homeless Veterans support is one of the many services we offer at RSL Care SA.

RSL Care SA has its own Andrew Russell Veteran Living program (ARVL) supporting ex-service personnel who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. ARVL has received a number referrals from the Hutt Street Centre. We have been able to reach out and provide transit, accommodation and support services. These services directly contribute to getting these individuals back on their feet.

It was great to see a number of our staff braving the cold to support ‘Walk a Mile in My Boots.’ It is a key fundraiser for the Hutt Street Centre. Funds raised are directed into their Day Centre which provide many services including:

  • crisis assistance
  • access point for those experiencing homelessness
  • essential services
  • referrals to support organisations, including RSL Care SA

If you would like to support the Hutt Street Centre, access their website here.

RSL Care SA has many opportunities to Volunteer as well. If you would like to know more about Volunteering click here.

We are an organisation that has been helping the ex-service and wider community for 100 years.

DVA Veteran Study

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Andrew Russell Veteran Living & DVA Veteran Study

Partnering with University of New South Wales and The University of Adelaide

The ARVL  program contributed to a DVA Veteran Study regarding homelessness in Australia. The University of New South Wales and the University of Adelaide invited ARVL to participate. The study commissioned by DVA  aims to accurately estimate the number of homeless veterans within Australia. The DVA aims to present an up to date account of the lived experiences of homeless veterans, and ARVL supplied quantitative and qualitative data to the study.

The project is being undertaken by a team of researchers from four main parties including:

The Board and management of RSL Care SA look forward to the results of the completed report at the end of 2017. RSL Care SA are thankful for the generous donation of $7,000 to the ARVL program by the Universities.

If you would like to know more about the Andrew Russell Veteran Living Program please click the link below.

RSL Care SA ARVL Program

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the program please contact us.

About us

RSL Care SA believes that the ex-service community deserves the best care and affordable accommodation. RSL Care SA is an independently constituted not for profit organisation with links to the Returned & Services League of Australia (SA Branch).

Our mission is to support veterans and their dependents, although the ex-service community are our primary client group it is not exclusively so. The facilities and services are also available to the broader community.

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