About Young Diggers

About Young Diggers

Young Diggers Limited is a not for profit organisation formed in 2010 with Diggers from 6RAR who returned to Brisbane after MTF 1 (Multi Transitional Force) Afghanistan. Today the organisation has over 500 members Australia wide, 15,000 followers on Facebook and is active in five Australian States.

Young Diggers Limited is Australian Charities and Not for Profit Certified (ACNC) and

Deductible Gift Registered (DGR) for tax deductions.

The main aim of Young Diggers is to provide support, information, education and practical programs to ex-serving Australian Defence Force members giving them the tools to ensure a better quality of life.

Young Diggers also provides Advocate and Welfare support for veterans to process their claims for disabilities through Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA).

A large number of members are dealing with illness or injury as a result of their service and they, and their families, have difficulty coping with the stress associated with previous and current military service.

Assistance Dogs

Young Diggers provides Assistance Dogs at no cost to ex-servicemen and women diagnosed with PTSD and associated mental health issues. The aim of the Young Diggers Dog Training program is for members to train their dogs to become Assistance Dogs. An Assistance Dog differs from a companion dog. Companion dogs are not recognised under Australian law and not guaranteed access under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1982. An Assistance Dog is trained to help the veteran in public and is guaranteed access to all public areas including shopping centres, hospitals, public transport and restaurants.

Training is conducted weekly at centres located in Brisbane Queensland, Tamworth NSW, and Melton Victoria (and soon to be opened in South and West Australia) which gives members the opportunity to meet and socialise.

Prior to gaining access to the program, members and their dog are assessed for suitability for training as an Assistance Dog.

Suitability includes the member’s clinical diagnosis of either PTSD or other mental health issues, their home environment and ability to look after the dog. Other factors include whether they have other pets and their ability to attend training, to lastly progress to PAT (Public Access Test) assessment.

States have different legislation, or none at all, so Young Diggers uses Queensland PAT assessment. Young Diggers uses registered trainers and assessors at present while we wait on our registration as assessors. The assessments are done at a local training centre or by a local trainer. There are a number of trainers across Australia to assist members with their training.

The program does not have a ready supply of dogs. However, we can access dogs from breeders and local pounds, which saves the lives of abandoned dogs as well as members can provide their own dog after assessment. Young Diggers provides ongoing help and support to the new owner and their dog to ensure a quality experience for both of them.

The program not only helps these veterans and their families but recently we have included veterans of Emergency Services.

Young Diggers does not discriminate, pass judgment or devalue those men and women living with, and suffering from, combat stress and mental illness. The organisation provides a safe environment for members to network with one another, talk through tough times and to exchange training tips. Family members are welcome and encouraged to get involved with training.

Young Diggers relies on donations and Government grants and is run entirely by volunteers. If you would like to help veterans of the Australian Defence Force and Emergency Services and their families, your donation would be gratefully appreciated.

Terry Bell

General Manager

Young Diggers Limited

0418 193 871

generalmanager@youngdiggers.com.au

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