Recently I spent time with the Castle Hill RSL sub-branch Committee discussing the challenges around engaging with and serving younger generations of ex-servicemen and women.
Many in our community have never heard about the RSL sub-Branch — we might know of or have visited the RSL Club and its great facilities but know little or nothing about the important services the sub-Branch (which is a separate organisation) provides to people in our community who have served on our behalf.
As an organisation, the sub-Branch exists for three reasons. First and foremost, they are here to support servicemen and women through various and numerous welfare activities, pension support, as well as provide donations to organisations that care for service personnel. Run by ex-servicemen and women they support those who are going through hard times in health or bad situations, including the loved ones of service people past and present.
The sub-Branch also commemorates those service and merchant navy personnel who have gone before us, those currently in service and on deployment, those who have made the supreme sacrifice, and those who pass on their watch; and finally, to provide fellowship and friendship to their members of all ages.
The Castle Hill sub-Branch is a sizeable branch which is soundly run and well governed, but more importantly, they have a large body of members who are willing to commit above and beyond to support the armed services community, both the current generations of younger and middle-aged service personnel and older generations.
Many servicemen and women need the opportunity to connect with other service personnel to relax, socialise and get access to help when they need it — even just to navigate some of the more complex government benefit and service programs. The Castle Hill sub-Branch team of volunteers is available to assist with these processes, and runs a range of group fitness and gym membership programs, in which you can invite your friends to participate with you.
Their Pension Advocacy team members are qualified under the Department of Veteran Affairs sponsored Training and Information Program (TIP), and can advise on entitlements as well as provide valuable assistance with the preparation of claims according to service history and period of service, across VEA, MRCA and SRCA schemes.
If you’re a serviceman or woman, or you know someone who is, why not join the Castle Hill sub-Branch and access the services available and enjoy the social connection opportunities. Any person who has served in the Australian Defence Force, or served with or supported or was otherwise engaged with the Australian Defence Force or the Armed Forces of its allies for at least six months, or any other person provided for in the Constitution, may be admitted to service membership.
The team at the Castle Hill sub-Branch are particularly interested in attracting members who are young and middle-aged so they can continue to deliver and develop appropriate and engaging services and social opportunities for younger generations of servicemen and women.
So why not visit their next meeting, which offers a great opportunity to talk and network with like-minded serving and ex-serving individuals from across Australian and international armed forces.
You can find more information about the sub-Branch and its activities and meetings at https://www.chrslsubbranch.org.au.

DID YOU KNOW
1 - Each year, Castle Hill sub-Branch conducts several commemorative and community based activities and events including Anzac Sunday (parade and lunch), Anzac Day Dawn Service and march in the city, Remembrance Day, and Australia Day flag planting at the Castle Hill Cemetery and Castlebrook Memorial Park.

2 - In addition to thousands of Reserves, in 2018 there are over 58,000 servicemen and women in various roles within our Defence Force community across Australia. Many live with their families in the Hills community and are looking to connect with local social groups to extend their networks of friends and gain access to various local support services.