Having a seriously ill or injured child is a very stressful experience that can put families under enormous emotional and financial strain. Under these difficult circumstances, people need all the help they can get, and that’s where Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW and its volunteers come in.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented many of the usual support activities from taking place over the last two years, with volunteers unable to visit their facilities across Northern NSW.
With much of the restrictions now lifted, Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW is calling for people across its areas of operation to join them and help ease the burden on families with a sick or injured child.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW operates Ronald McDonald Houses in Newcastle and Tamworth, Family Rooms at Newcastle’s John Hunter Children’s Hospital and Gosford Hospital, as well as the Ronald McDonald House Family Retreat in Forster.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW CEO, Ross Bingham, said the service relies on contributions of up to 400 volunteers each year across all its facilities to ensure these families receive the support they need.
“Our facilities across Northern NSW support more than 20,000 people annually, ranging from families undertaking long stays at our Houses in Newcastle and Tamworth, short visits to our Family Rooms at John Hunter and Gosford Hospitals where families can take a break, or families taking a well-earned holiday at our Family Retreat in Forster.
“Volunteers truly are the heart of these Ronald McDonald House facilities, conducting a range of task and support services to ensure we continue to provide families with an oasis of comfort in a sea of chaos,” Ross said.
“Unfortunately, since the lifting of COVID restrictions we have experienced a shortage of volunteers, which has resulted in a number of these facilities operating at reduced capacity. Now more than ever, we need the support of the community to assist our families.
“We have always been well supported by the communities in which we operate and know they will again step up to support its own in a time when we need them most. My sincere thanks in advance to those people who will join us by volunteering across any of our services.”
Ronald McDonald House Newcastle Volunteer, Carey Binks, said there’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve made someone’s day just a little brighter.
“I’m a retired primary school teacher and I really enjoy helping out and just being there for the patients and their families,” Carey said.
“As a volunteer, you are often there to provide an outlet for people to share their problems with you and have a bit of a vent.
“It’s important for people in that situation to have someone to simply listen, so if you can lend a sympathetic ear, this is a great way to do it and give something back to the community.”
Greater Charitable Foundation is proud to play a supporting role alongside Ronald McDonald House Charities, Northern NSW, through a commitment of more than $650,000 to the Stronger Together partnership across the Hunter, Central Coast, Mid North Coast and New England Regions.
Greater Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Anne Long, said the partnership aims to ease the financial strain on families.
“Caring for a sick or injured loved one can be incredibly stressful, particularly when it’s a child needing care, and the inevitable financial burden families face makes things even harder,” Anne said.
“Ronald McDonald House Charities, Northern NSW, has done an amazing job for many years, and we are very pleased to play our part in reducing the burden for families so they can continue to focus on the health and wellbeing of their sick or injured child and, importantly, each other.”
To find out how you can get involved as a volunteer, go to rmhnnsw.org.au/find-out-more-volunteering