This site uses cookies to shape your online experience. Read more

Friday, 25 June 2021

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and Coffs Coast Legacy today joined together at Coffs Harbour Jetty to host an official Ship Launching Ceremony for the newly refurbished SV Mystic, on board which Coffs Coast Legacy will run its Two Dogs Sailing Program for veterans.

A $79,000 Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation grant has funded the preparation of the boat to deliver the program, including new sails, electronics, safety equipment and training for the crew.

Two Dogs Sailing is an activity based program addressing the high incidence of mental health issues (PTSD) in the local veteran community by providing a program that can enhance existing treatment pathways.

Modelled on similar successful projects for veterans in the United States, Israel and in Southern Queensland, the Coffs Coast Legacy run program is aimed at offering veterans and their families sailing experiences at no charge, enabling participants to leave their problems on the shore, be part of a team at sea and have open discrete conversations.

Hearing veteran Tex O’Grady’s personal story really inspired the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation to want to jump on board with funds to get this program to sea, so that other veterans who are struggling with their mental health can feel supported through the Two Dogs sailing program.

“Our $79,000 donation will do much more than fund the fit out of the boat – such as new sails, electronics, safety equipment and training – it will really give a sense of support and purpose back to those from the mid north coast region who have given so much through joining Australia’s armed forces,” Chair of Newcastle Charitable Foundation Board, Jennifer Leslie, told the dignitaries, veterans and media gathered at the special boat christening event.

“Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation knows that there is a critical resources of mental health support programs for veterans living in this area – many of which have retired here. Through this Charitable Foundation grant, we’re able to help Coffs Coast Legacy to really make a difference to improving the mental health outcomes of veterans with PTSD who can now access the complimentary Two Dogs Sailing program for free.”

The Charitable Foundation has jumped on board supporting the Two Dogs Sailing program as it is an activity based program addressing the high incidence of mental health issues (PTSD) in the local veteran community by providing a program that can enhance existing treatment pathways that offers veterans and their families sailing experiences at no charge, enabling participants to leave their problems on the shore, be part of a team at sea and have open discrete conversations.

“We know that PTSD is a condition that can develop in response to a single or related exposure to traumatic events. Data shows that PTSD rates are nearly higher in veterans than in the general population. Untreated, we know that severe PTSD can limit the quality of life and be a contributor to suicide,” Jennifer said.

Sadly, statistics show that suicide rates are 20% higher in ex-service men and women than in the general Australian population.

“The Charitable Foundation is confident that this program will make a tangible difference: it’s why we’ve pledged this grant. The project Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation is funding will offer veterans in the Mid North Coast region a safe and healthy environment for the target group to come together and learn new skills, to start important conversations and to work as a team to learn new skills through the benefit of sailing which has been demonstrated to help people overcome depression, anxiety and PTSD.”

Coffs Coast Legacy tells us that many veterans are reluctant to seek help, so this type of program being offered by Coffs Coast Legacy and funded by Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, is able to offer a safe and approachable support network run by people with a full understanding of military culture.

The boat required a large amount of work to bring it to the point where it could facilitate this life-changing program for veterans and the Charitable Foundation is so pleased that we have been able to contribute these funds to ensuring that the SV Mystic is seaworthy and fit for purpose, enabling this project to be available to veterans.

Coffs Coast Legacy will run its Two Dogs Sailing Program for veterans.
Coffs Coast Legacy launches its Two Dogs Sailing program.

Latest news