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The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has paid a visit to a newly opened opportunity shop and drop-in centre for veterans in Morwell.

Mr Chester, who was last month sworn in as the Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, met with volunteers at the Carry On (Victoria) Gippsland Branch veterans drop-in centre in Commercial Road.

“This drop-in centre provides welfare support, help with education grants, a safe place for relaxation and contemplation, and a shoulder to lean on for veterans and their families,” Mr Chester said.

“The challenges experienced by former veterans as they settle back into civilian life can be difficult. As a community, we need to do what we can to support them after they have given so much to serve our country.”

The new centre is named the Mauro Folghera Veterans Centre in memory of a former air force serviceman who passed away in December.

Carry On (Victoria) Gippsland branch leader Paula Mattson said the centre was designed to help tackle feelings of isolation and social disconnection experienced by current and former Australian Defence Force service personnel.

“We’re able to help veterans, whether they need a cooked meal, a shower or time to work through their thoughts and feelings. We can also refer them to other service providers if we can’t provide exactly what they need,” Mrs Mattson said.

The drop-in centre received a $16,500 grant from the Federal Government through the second round of its Supporting Younger Veterans Program.

The Supporting Younger Veterans Program helps younger veterans as they transition out of the Australian Defence Force and integrate back into civilian life.

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