Advocating for Defence families

DCO Community Coordinator Training

Our South Australian National Delegate Victoria has written a blog post about her experience at the recent Community Centre training she attended in Canberra.

We were invited to attend the Defence Community Organisation (DCO), Coordinator training during July. This training saw 37 Community Centre Coordinators, DCO Family Liaison Officers and DFA Delegates come together in Canberra for a two-day training event.

Every corner of Australia was represented which lead to vital discussions to take place in how DCO can help the Community Centres thrive nationwide. This training is following on from the Governance training provided via ‘Our Community’ which was a free training course to all volunteer committee members and coordinators.

Having been in the Defence community sector myself for over 12 years and in 3 different states, it is fantastic to see DCO take this opportunity to support the growth of each Community committee. This forum was the first, since the Community Support Coordinator Pilot Program (CSCP) was launched in June 2016.

It highlighted the importance for networking and collaboration between not just the centres in the same location however centres all over Australia. With the high mobility lifestyle that Defence demands, families are finding themselves transferring to interstate locations more frequently. To help support this the Coordinators, with guidance from the event presenters, were able to identify lack of information in areas of each centre and brainstorm ideas on how this can improve.

Over the two days of training, each Coordinator was given the chance to present to the group on what is working within their centre and communities, also what they thought needed improving. This lead to a wealth of information and ideas being shared in an honest and open forum to help engage and encourage the Coordinators to build a network amongst themselves to help foster a smoother flow for families when posting in between states.

Community Centres/Coordinators

For those unaware of their closest Defence community centre/committee, or if you are simply wanting to do some prior research before arriving in your gaining location, the best place to start would be the on the DCO website.

Most of the centres around Australia are in receipt of the Family Support Funding Program (FSPS) which is a government grant awarded from DCO. This grant allows a governing committee the opportunity to create a Defence friendly environment within the location. This is done in various activities for all demographics such as playgroups, nights out, gaming clubs, fitness classes, art and craft sessions, book clubs etc.

Check out the above link to the DCO website to see the full list of activities in your area.

Each community centre/area plays a vital roll for families within a location. Being an active member of your community can help you access up to date information on services provided in and around Defence. These community groups are an integral feature and highly valued asset to Defence life.

Within our DFA role we speak to Command on a regular basis about the benefits of Community Centres what these centres can do to improve the settling in of their members and their families.

How many of us have moved to an area and known no one?

With each move we do as a spouse, mother/father, wife/husband, for many of us it means starting from scratch. Your community centre can offer you a built-in network full of information. From finding a new hairdresser to which school you want to send your children to. All these conversations would be happening on a weekly basis in these areas, all you need to do is ask a question and to find the courage inside to meet new people and know that you are not alone in this life.

It was apparent through the training, and it would definitely be a highlighted outcome from our time in Canberra that each and every member that was there, was there to make a difference. Whether you are Army, Navy or Air Force – we are all one military, with the passion to see the same results for our families.

For more community information on posting locations check our the Defence Community Hub

Blog at