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atWork Australia’s Gippsland team led by Disability Employment Services (DES) Job Coach, Anthony Drouggas is raising awareness to help break down the barriers many returned veterans face and how meaningful work can lead to improved mental health and wellbeing.

Anthony will ride from Traralgon, VIC to Canberra, ACT, to support returned veterans and their families, by promoting community inclusion and helping to mitigate any stigma around returning veterans finding work.

The local RSL (Returned and Services League), an organisation for men and women who have served or are serving in the Australian Defence Force, have formed a partnership with atWork Australia in the Gippsland region. Collaboratively, they are working together to help mutual clients who are returning service people, to find good lasting work.

“The idea was born after I met with a returned veteran over a coffee who shared his personal story and just how he struggled to find a place back in his community, resulting in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Overcoming the isolation and adjustment back into everyday life is a universal challenge for many veterans. I felt that something had to be done to raise awareness and how employment can play a major part in the recovery of veterans,” said atWork Australia’s DES Job Coach, Anthony.

During the bike ride, Anthony will cover 568 kilometres over a 5-day period. The bike ride has been rescheduled, with the goal of November. Anthony will leave Traralgon to arrive at Canberra War Memorial days later, with various overnight stops along the way.

“The obvious destination was Canberra, and in particular the war memorial as this symbolises the RSL and all it stands for,” stated Mr Drouggas.

“Anthony is passionate about finding a path to employment for people with disability, injury, illness and mental health conditions and through his strong relationship with the RSL, we are able to assist and support veterans in overcoming their barriers to secure sustainable work,” said atWork Australia’s Regional Manager, Yvonne Fawcett.

In preparation for the upcoming ride, Anthony has commenced training in December 2019 at Tracs Health & Fitness Centre in Traralgon. Tracs are providing the training free of charge in full support of the Veteran ride.

Anthony will be cheered on the sidelines by an atWork Australia support car travelling alongside him.

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