11 September 2019

Volunteer fundraisers: Unsung heroes when it comes to Goulburn hospital

| Maryann Weston
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Chair of the BDCU Goulburn Hospital Fundraising Inc. Nerida Cullen with the Premier’s Award for ‘Outstanding Fundraising Effort’. Photo: Maryann Weston.

The BDCU Goulburn Hospital Fundraising Inc. might be small in number but its efforts have been gigantic, providing patients with access to around $400,000 worth of equipment that the NSW Government health budget hasn’t necessarily covered.

In April of this year, the committee’s hard work was recognised, receiving an award from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for ‘Outstanding Fundraising Efforts’. It’s an award that current Chair Nerida Cullen says belongs to all committee members and wouldn’t have been attainable if not for the generosity of Goulburn and its people.

“We can walk down the main street of Goulburn with a fundraising bucket and by the end of the day have more than $4,000 collected. The generosity of people is incredible. People have come back down with coins in a jar to give us,” Nerida said.

“One visiting woman told us she was happy to donate because of the great difference the Goulburn Base Hospital had made to her life…staff had saved her life when she was five year’s old.”

Goulburn Base has a wide catchment and is a referral hospital for the region, providing drug and alcohol, gastroenterology, general medicine, kidney medicine, maternity, ophthalmology and mental health care and services. The hospital fundraising committee has been helping with much-needed equipment since its inception in 2009 and Nerida has been a member from the start.

“There are around 12 members and we hold various fundraisers during the year. Our major events are Movie Under the Stars, the Mile of Pennies, a fun run which is held in April and the Lock Up Your Boss fundraiser [held last week from 29-30 November],” Nerida said.

“In 2018, we partnered with Goulburn Junior Basketball for Lock Up Your Boss and they will use their share of the fundraising to help young and upcoming referees to hone their skills by attending training sessions.

“We also partner with other service clubs – Argyle Rotary, Goulburn Rotary and Marulan Lions so that our fundraising is not competing in what we are buying for the hospital.”

The money raised is put towards equipment and technology that helps with patient needs and comfort. A $9,000 Vein Finder for the Goulburn Base Renal Unit was able to be purchased in July this year, thanks to fundraising. Other equipment funded has included wheelchairs, bariatric lift, a phototherapy machine, blanket warming machines, and ranged from $35,000 through to $2,000-$3,000 in value.

“If anyone wants to donate to the BDCU Goulburn Hospital Fundraising Inc. they can come into the BDCU in Goulburn and leave a donation, or you can find us on Facebook to keep up with our fundraising events,” Nerida said.

Senior Constable Williams (right), Joe Bow from Mow Down Property Maintenance, and Gail Bowdern from Eagle FM were ‘locked up’ as part of the fundraising event last Thursday. Photo: Supplied.

Nerida has a significant background in volunteering, as well as involvement in rural organisations and initiatives.

She’s been involved with the AP&H Goulburn Show Society, the Soroptimists, CWA Evening Branch, Rostrum, and was the Co-Chair of the NSW Rural Women’s Council. In 2013, she was awarded the Goulburn Woman of the Year – a NSW Premier’s award that recognises and celebrates the outstanding contribution made by women across NSW to industry, communities and society.

As well as chairing the fundraising committee, Nerida is also a member of the Goulburn Base Hospital’s Community Consultative Committee. This committee is central to connecting hospitals within the Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) with the community.

“We raise issues that the hospital needs to know about. They may be small issues at times, but they loom large when it comes to patient needs. We’ve recently raised the issue of improving communications…for example something as simple as making sure the family can get through on the phone to their loved one while they’re in hospital,” Nerida said.

“The committee is a sounding board as well and is there to promote a two-way dialogue between the hospital and the community.”

And as for future fundraising for the hospital, the BDCU Goulburn Hospital Fundraising Inc. has plenty of worthy goals in sight.

“We are fundraising for a Hearing Booth which will be large enough for a parent to go into the booth with their child when they have their hearing tested. Our goal is around $19,000, so we’d love contributions if people are able to give.

“We, the hospital fundraising committee, may be small in number but it is tremendously satisfying work. I’m continually amazed at how generous and enthusiastic local people are when it comes to fundraising for their hospital.”

Goulburn Base Hospital is currently in the preliminary stages of a $120 million redevelopment. The BDCU Goulburn Hospital Fundraising Inc. has been approached to assist with the new patient care and staff landscaped gardens.

Original Article published by Maryann Weston on the RiotACT.

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