volunteers laughing, hands in the air and a big cake in front

Coffs Harbour Health Campus thanks its volunteers for their hard work and service.

Coffs Harbour Health Campus thanks its volunteer family

May 23, 2024

Coffs Harbour Health Campus hosted a special celebration yesterday, acknowledging the achievements, contributions and commitment of its volunteers.

This year’s National Volunteer Week, which started Monday,  features the theme, ‘Something for Everyone’, emphasising the power of volunteering and the diverse opportunities available, highlighting how everyone can find a meaningful role in making a difference.

Coffs Clinical Network Coordinator and CHHC General Manager Lydia Dennett ensured the volunteers knew their efforts were appreciated.

“The challenges of COVID-19 and recent natural disasters have highlighted the generous spirit of Australians, and their willingness to help those around them,” Ms Dennett said.

“However, these challenges have also shone a light on the capacity of people to volunteer during such trying times, particularly as the demand for support and volunteers increases. Volunteering is the thread that binds together the Australian spirit. It betters all our communities.

“National Volunteer Week is about you, and our chance to celebrate and thank you for your contributions.”

Coffs Harbour Health Campus has 180 volunteers who generously give their time and energy to the hospital, including the Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies, the Coffs Harbour General Volunteers, and Community Support Dogs.

“We believe our diverse group of volunteers is unmatched by any hospital in NSW, a magnificent reflection of the Coffs Coast community,” Ms Dennett said.

According to Volunteering Australia, more than 6 million volunteers in Australia contribute more than 800 million hours to the community each year.

“These figures are a testament to the incredible impact of volunteering,” Ms Dennett said.

“We also know volunteering is important for those who put up their hand to participate. It creates a sense of achievement, reinforces purpose, and helps people to feel part of a community. The team spirit within our volunteer groups is a pleasure to witness, and to be commended.

“There are the friendships that develop, the ability to use skills refined over the decades and that wonderful feeling of being involved in something that is bigger than any of us as individuals.

“It also has its challenges – one of the biggest remaining challenges is attracting new volunteers and maintaining a volunteer base.

“We know volunteering doesn’t just happen. It requires coordination skills, people management skills, organisational skills… sometimes even diplomacy.

“These are the tasks and challenges taken on by a handful of volunteers who step up to be branch president, group coordinator or roster clerk. They are a very special group of volunteers within a special group of volunteers, and we thank you.

Ms Dennett paid tribute to the organisers – Helen Mears of the Pink Ladies, Denise McNeill and Susie Nolan of the General Volunteers, Pink Buggy Co-Ordinator Ron Naylor, Louise Jeffs of the Cancer Council, Kyra Ensby of Community Support Dogs and Anne Goode of Pastoral Care.

Others were recognised with certificates of appreciation for their years of service.

Coffs Harbour General Volunteers:

Denise McNeill –15 years. Started volunteering at the CHHC in May 2009, not only on the enquiry desk but supported clerical and nursing staff in Community Health, Mental Health, as well as Fleet. In 2015 became the General Volunteers’ coordinator.

Denise has made a huge contribution towards the volunteers’ recruitment packages, role descriptions, the enquiry desk operating manual and the volunteers’ policies. Denise is also responsible for establishing the Grandparents program.

Susie Nolan – Suzie started as a General Volunteer in October 2018, training at the Enquiry Desk, and training new General Volunteers over this four and a half year. Suzie is also a volunteer with Marine Rescue, and the Soup Kitchen, showing that she is truly a very treasured Volunteer within the Coffs Harbour Community.

Pauline Kelly – Pauline has walked the hallways of the Coffs Harbour Health Campus since February 2019. Pauline has done many volunteer administration duties at RAS/ACAT, Fleet, and JMO, working 2 or 3 mornings or afternoons per week. These departments are thankful, and constantly praise Pauline’s professionalism. She was instrumental in the purchase of the purchase of the easy one air piece of equipment used for lung function testing that was donated to the junior doctors by the general volunteers. Previously, there was only one of these in the hospital and was shared between the departments.

Ron Naylor – Ron has been a General Volunteer since April 2019, and over that time has become the Buggy Drivers team leader, which is a role he handles with enthusiasm and dignity. Ron organizes the training, and monthly buggy drivers’ rosters, as well as continuing to train and mentor drivers. Ron has also become part of the general volunteering coordinating team and participates in the interviews of prospective buggy volunteers and chairs the general volunteers’ meetings.

Stephen Frawley – Joined the general volunteers in 2019 and is a highly valued member of the buggy team, always cheerful and polite and makes sure all visitors, patients, and staff are taken safely to their destinations.

Graham Chalmers – Again like Stephen joined in 2019 as a buggy driver, highly valued, and again rain hail or shine will be helping patient and visitors to their destination.

Adele Byrnes – Adele joined the general volunteers in Feb 2019 and is a keen member of our enquiry desk team, enquiry desk volunteers are the concierge of the hospital and the first port of call for patient and visitors. Adele has decided to extend her volunteering and she is becoming a ward grand parent volunteer.

Phyllis Taylor – Phyllis joined in March 2019, and an enthusiastic member of the buggy team, you see Phyllis driving around the campus with a smile on her face, Phyllis has attracted many compliments because of her out going, bubbly personality.

Special mention:
Lois Arthur – A special mention to Lois to express our appreciation for taking on the enquiry desk team leader role when no one wanted the responsibilities. The enquiry desk role involves training and mentoring new enquiry desk volunteers. Thank You Lois, your efforts have been very much appreciated.

Pink Ladies volunteers:

Gabrielle Meyer – 5 years has been a consistent member working in the gift shop and assisting delivering the papers.

Beryl Bracken – 15 years given to early starts making sandwiches and working in the NCCI coffee shop.

Catherine Woodroofe – 10 years dividing her time between the gift shop and the café.

Dianne Hendry – 10 years – working the register with a smile in the coffee shop.  

Heather Hardwick – 15 years works the early shift making sandwiches and wraps.

Ida Pilati – 15 years Has been a volunteer all up for up to 40 years, currently making the sandwiches on a Sunday morning in the coffee shop.

Jenny Hallett – 15 years Very busy managing the coffee shop in NCCI.

Kay Stuart – 10 years currently helping with the sandwiches in the coffee shop.

Lorraine Partland – 15 years has been working in the NCCI coffee shop.

Margaret Tees – 10 years assisting in the coffee shop on a Sunday.

Narelle Soles – 15 years, helping with the prep work for the sandwiches.

“Today is a celebration of all our volunteers, so to each and every one of you, thank you for making the Coffs Harbour a better place,” Ms Dennett said.

To view more photos from the event, please click on the image below and scroll through the library.



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