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Charity blends love of classic cars with mental health awareness for veterans

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A new initiative to support the mental wellbeing of Australian veterans is turning heads by turning loose change into classic cars.

Classics For A Cause offers a slate of giveaways designed to inject much-needed funds into small charities that provide vital mental health services to Australian veterans.

Founded by Queensland brothers Tom and Edward Bailey in late 2019, Classics For A Cause sources and funds some of the rarest and high-end classic cars for charitable giveaways, managing the entire process from start to finish.

In less than a year, Classics For A Cause has amassed more than 130,000 supporters and given more than $2.5 million to its veteran charity partners, including Young Veterans and Heroes on the Homefront.

Predominately sourced from the USA, the traffic-stopping prizes given away form a veritable assembly line of classic cars including Ford Mustangs, Pontiacs, Dodge Chargers, Chevrolet trucks and custom Harley bikes.

Co-founder Tom Bailey said Classics For A Cause existed to give smaller charities a head start, assisting them to pursue their purpose and make positive change.

“There are so many small and passionate charity organisations striving for widespread change and making a genuine difference in improving the mental health of veterans,” Tom said.

The charity’s work draws inspiration from the fact that male veterans 21% more likely to die of suicide than the general male population and the rate of suicide among ex-serving women twice as high as among the general female population.

“After losing my best friend to suicide five years ago, this issue has become really important to both myself and Edward. Through Classics For A Cause, we give every Australian the chance to own their dream car for only a few dollars and to support the work of some top Aussie veteran charities,” Tom said.

Tom and Edward’s commitment to veteran wellbeing started six years ago when they launched Veteran Benefits Australia (VBA), a free service for veterans that connects former Australian Defence Force members with services, benefits and entitlements that look to improve their mental and physical wellbeing.

Tom said too many former defence members were unaware of the support available to them post-service including fully-funded exercise and nutrition plans, free mental health care, dental and psychology services, legal services for compensation claims, employment services and even subsidised home cleaning and gardening services for those with injuries relating to their time in service.

“Part of VBA’s mission is to spread awareness and help veterans find the services they need to support their health and wellbeing, creating a closer and well-informed Australian veteran community,” he said.

“With mental wellbeing front of mind during COVID lockdowns, we launched a free art therapy and yoga program with our mum to help veterans who felt isolated build effective daily mindfulness practices. We currently have over 1500 veterans still using the platform and it’s growing weekly.

The latest Classics For A Cause giveaway is a limited-edition 1967 Ford Eleanor Mustang GT500 valued at $280,000 with merchandise packs and gift cards also up for grabs.

Supporters can stake a claim in the stunning ’67 classic by purchasing one of four packages: Bronze ($25, one entry), Silver ($50, three entries), Gold ($100, 10 entries) and Platinum ($250, 30 entries).

The ’67 Eleanor Mustang giveaway is strictly capped at 25,000 entrants and closes on February 10, if not sold out beforehand.

Supporters who buy any of the four packages not only have the chance to win the ’67 Eleanor Mustang – the same model driven by actor Nicolas Cage in the film Gone in 60 Seconds – but can also enjoy over 200 discounted services and exclusive benefits from automotive and service partners Australia-wide.

“The big winners are those tireless Aussie charities that help our veterans suffering from mental health issues, with a large portion of every package purchased donated to fund their great work and innovative initiatives,” Tom said.

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