Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW (RMHC) provide accommodation and support services for thousands of sick children and their families. They strive to keep families together when life gets turned upside down due to a child's illness.
Greater Charitable Foundation (GCF) funds the Ronald McDonald Learning Program at the John Hunter Children's Hospital. The program aims to help children who have suffered a serious illness return to school, by providing them with individualised educational support tailored to suit their specific needs.
Hear from CEO, Ross Bingham about how GCF’s support has made a difference to the lives of children and families within our communities, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.
How has COVID-19 impacted RMHC?
COVID-19 hit us in every way possible. The initial concern was for our families and their wellbeing and safety. We unfortunately had to severely restrict all access to our Ronald McDonald House and close down all common areas within the House. There was also a severe impact on our volunteers, as we heavily rely on them to keep the House running, and our ability to fundraise, impacting our income in excess of $1 million.
Thankfully now, 8 months later, we have gradually been able to reopen our programs safely and we are getting back on track towards 80% of our previous service to families and children.
What do you love most about your job?
The people. I am fortunate enough to work in a role where everyone I communicate with is glad that we are there. From the volunteers that give their time selflessly because they believe in the mission to a small group of highly committed staff. From families that are grateful for the support to donors who love seeing their dollar making a difference.
It's a unique experience and whilst we do deal with some extremely tragic circumstances, the overall feeling is one of optimism.
What impact have GCF and Greater Bank employees had on your organisation?
Greater Bank and its employees have been incredibly supportive of our charity. They have extended their support in many ways by building awareness as well as providing financial support. Employees have also put their hand up to provide practical help by preparing home-cooked meals for families, helping with Christmas decorations for the House and making resources for the Learning Program.
I want to extend my gratitude to Greater Bank's employees for continuing to think of us during this time. The support we've received has made a significant impact on the families and children. Again, a huge THANK YOU!
And now for some fun, where is your favourite holiday destination?
The South West Rocks on the Mid-North Coast. I love the relaxed atmosphere, the beaches and, most importantly, the fact that it's relatively close to Newcastle (a factor that was extremely important when we are holidaying at the South West Rocks with our 4 young children asking "are we there yet?" every 10 minutes!)