Coffs Harbour

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Unprecedented run of natural disasters highlights benefits of volunteering

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/07/2022 - 8:24pm in

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Coffs Harbour

Volunteer Eric Whalley with fellow members of the General Volunteers group at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

AUSTRALIA is experiencing a crisis in volunteering due to an unprecedented run of natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen national volunteer numbers plummet by a third since 2020, Simone Plews from Coffs Harbour Health Campus told News Of The Area.

The Coffs Coast isn’t immune from the crisis, which is why hospital volunteers supporting Coffs Harbour Health Campus have embarked on a recruitment drive.

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This year’s National Volunteer Week theme of ‘Better Together’ is a message local volunteers want their community to hear and respond to.

Local volunteers also want their community to know that the reasons to volunteer aren’t solely focused on “doing something good” for others.

Volunteering has huge benefits to the volunteer, including meeting new people, making new friends, having fun, learning new skills, making great use of existing skills, and breaking old habits with new experiences.

Let’s hear from a couple of volunteers:

Eric Whalley – General Volunteer

At 51 years of age, Eric Whalley has been a member of the Coffs Harbour Health Campus General Volunteers for about six years.

He says he enjoys volunteering to fill in the time and do something useful to help others.

Working twice a week at the hospital’s enquiry desk, Eric says it is a great way to meet people.

“I enjoy giving people directions and escorting them to places in the new Clinical Services Building,” Eric said.

“It’s great to meet new people, get out and about, and help people in need.”

Gabby Meyer – member of Pink Ladies

Gabby Meyer has been a volunteer at Coffs Harbour Health Campus for about five years and can mostly be found in the Pink Ladies Gift Shop.

With a background in hospitality and managing guesthouses and hotels, Gabby enjoys giving back to her community through volunteering.

“I love talking to people, whether they are staff who come in regularly and you get to know their faces or patients and their visitors.

“It’s all positive – it’s about helping and giving back to the community and making a small difference in people’s lives.

“I’d encourage anyone who has ever thought about volunteering to give it a go.”

Mid North Coast Local Health District Corporate Relations Coordinator Sharon Fuller said hospital volunteers were part of the Health family on the Mid North Coast.

“We have our General Volunteers and the Pink Ladies at Coffs Harbour hospital, but we also have volunteering opportunities in mental health, palliative care, pastoral care and community support dogs,” Mrs Fuller said.

“I don’t think you could find a more diverse group of volunteers in any hospital in NSW, and that is a magnificent reflection on the Coffs Coast community.”

Mrs Fuller said economists often speak of the economic value of volunteering to Australia, which is estimated to be about $200 billion.

“It’s an impressive number – larger than revenue sources from mining, agriculture, and the retail sector according to a University of Adelaide study, but it’s not the sum total of the value of volunteering,” Mrs Fuller said.

“It’s impossible to place a value on the connections made between volunteers and visitors coming into our hospital – people who are worried about their dad with dementia, their wife with cancer or their child in need of surgery.

“Who can place a value on the relief someone feels when greeted by a volunteer who wants to help them, who shares a kind word or a compassionate smile?

“Who can place a value on the hours our volunteers spend with someone who is dying, listening to their stories about loved ones, past and present; or the events that shaped a person’s life?

“We know the Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies have donated more than $3 million worth of medical equipment and patient comfort items to our hospital, but $3 million is a long way short of the value of their donation if it is your loved one connected to one of their vital signs monitors or your grandchild in a Paediatric Emergency Department transformed from a white, scary, clinical place into an underwater wonderland thanks to a beautiful mural funded by the Pink Ladies.

“Who can place a value on the unconditional love shared between a Community Support Dog and a mental health patient?”

Mrs Fuller said the benefits of volunteering also embrace the volunteer.

“We 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,” she said.

“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.

“At Coffs Harbour Health Campus, we are in awe of our volunteers, but we also know they need extra helping hands,” Mrs Fuller said.

“A lot of people have moved to the Coffs Coast in the past couple of years, and I can’t think of a better way to meet lovely people than by volunteering.

“So, whether you are a long-time resident or a new-comer, our volunteer groups would love to have you on board.”

Anyone wanting to find out more information about volunteering at Coffs Harbour Health Campus can contact Mrs Fuller via email at Sharon.Fuller1@health.nsw.gov.au.

By Susan KONTIC


Bellingen Council’s new Disability Inclusion Action Plan focuses on everyone being able to participate

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/07/2022 - 7:10am in

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Coffs Harbour

Bellingen Shire Council is working to make the community a better place for people of all abilities.

BELLINGEN Council has resolved to adopt the Bellingen Shire Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2022-2026, in accordance with the 2014 Regulation requiring all councils to have a Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) in place by 1 July 2022.

Council wants to hear from people living with disability, family members, carers, service providers, businesses and anyone interested in creating an environment that is accessible and inclusive.

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They also want to thank community members who have contributed their feedback to make the Shire more inclusive and accessible.

In outlining Council’s plans to make life easier for people living with disability, the Action Plan explains the steps that Council, in conjunction with the broader community, will take to ensure everyone has access to services, facilities, events and information.

In developing the new DIAP, Council focused on increased consultation and involvement of people with a disability.

“The feedback we received via our community and staff surveys, focus group meetings and submissions have been incorporated into the adopted Plan,” a Council spokesperson told News Of The Area.

The Plan has four key focus areas:

– Promoting positive community attitudes and behaviours;

– Creating liveable communities;

– Supporting access to meaningful employment; and

– Improving access to services through systems and processes.

Continued consultation and involvement of people with a disability will also be a focus of the implementation phase.

The Council is committed to working with people with disability to create an equitable, accessible and inclusive community, making Bellingen Shire a better place to live or visit for people of all abilities.

Some of the ways Council will facilitate this include improving access to community buildings; making it easier for people to use parks, beaches and playgrounds; creating accessible documents and making information easier to understand.

The Bellingen Shire Mobility Map is a handy tool showing accessible features including toilets and disabled parking spaces on maps of Dorrigo, Urunga, Mylestom and Bellingen together with useful phone numbers and information on the availability of groups and services.

The map is free from a number of locations around the Shire including Visitor Information Centres, Libraries, Neighbourhood Centres and Bellingen Shire Council’s Administration Centre.

By Susan KONTIC

Thursday, 8 June 2017 - 9:04pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 08/06/2017 - 9:07pm in

ALMOST 2000 children on the NSW north coast have not been fully immunised, with the district's vaccination rate trailing every other part of the nation.

It's easy to dismiss this as natural selection at work, weeding out the inbred progeny of the small-town airheaded bourgeoisie. Unfortunately immunisation works at the population level, rather than the individual level. Your little Typhoid Myron is both your personal choice and our collective problem.

I therefore propose a compromise. If you cretins agree to immunise your child like a sane person, I will personally arrange - for free - an exhaustive spiritual cleansing process involving auras, crystals, chakras, and mantras; the whole kit and caboodle. All chemicals and toxins will thus be purged, and it will be as though your child has never been exposed to anything unnatural and artificial, and can go back to playing Minecraft without a care in the world.

If, after this process, you are still convinced that your child has become feckless, withdrawn, dysfunctional, and completely detached from the real world, I will give you - at no extra cost - a mirror.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 - 8:32pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 19/04/2017 - 8:37pm in

I'm prepared to suspend judgment over this bit of landscape gardening until it's done, but calling it "momentous" and a "corner of paradise" does seem to be overstating the scope of the project. Granted, the Key Stakeholders who say "Ni!" did threaten to say "Ni!" to us again unless we brought them a shrubbery, but I'm sure that once it's done we'll resume going about our business as though it never happened.

Unless they decide they want another shrubbery…

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 - 9:34pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 28/06/2016 - 9:34pm in

The jewel in Coffs Harbour's cliche crown is still putting out the red light for any real estate agents in need of discreet, high-class services, after rejecting suggestions that a news story requires more than one source before it can be considered journalism.

The Advocate's advertorial editor-in-chief, Mr. Earnest Hardwicke-Goodge said he was disappointed by so many readers mystified as to why the unchanged ownership of prime CBD graffiti canvas was considered newsworthy.

"The continued presence of readers is a regrettable distraction from our core business of connecting advertisers with other sophisticated, consensual, like-minded advertisers," Mr. Hardwicke-Goodge said. "Unfortunately, despite filling any unsold advertorial space with the most unreadable tripe imaginable, we've been unable to shake them off."

Mr. Hardwicke-Goodge said that while an upcoming series of particularly nauseating stories of wholly uninspiring local people doing utterly unremarkable things had the potential to turn the situation around for the paper and it's key stakeholders, he urged any remaining would-be readers to remember one simple rule: "If you're not looking to scam or be scammed, just put the paper down and walk away; it's not for you."

Friday, 17 June 2016 - 6:09pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Fri, 17/06/2016 - 6:09pm in

Ha! We stride boldly into a vision of the future from the 1970s. More roads! More cars! More shopping malls! More dormitory suburbs! Knock it all down, and if you can't knock it down, knock something else down to bypass it!

Soon the current plague of property investors will pass, leaving ghost malls sitting alongside the ghost arcades of a previous plague. A home for tattoo parlours, the ever-expanding offices of the privatised dole police, and placards proclaiming "This space for rent" and "Vote Hartsuyker".

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 - 12:24pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 14/06/2016 - 12:24pm in

If there's one thing you can say about Coffs, it's that it's never afraid to build on its weaknesses. Our local university campus dropped it's Bachelor of Arts course three years ago to make room for an expanded range of business studies courses (on this at least I'm not kidding). We're celebrated as the region with the highest per capita concentration of Elvis impersonators, and the home of "Ain'tmusic: the Original Australian Adam and the Ants (and Tears for Fears) Tribute Show". And the local thigh slappers and scenery chewers collective is currently rehearsing "Rocky Horror Get Your Gun!" The combination of suburban sprawl and inadequate public transport means that for most of the population an evening out involves sitting on an upturned milk crate in the garage listening to Cold Chisel records, gulping rum and coke from a can, and wondering where it all started going so wrong.

I can save us some consultancy money and and deliver a report on the viability of a new performing arts centre right now: There is  none. Anybody in Coffs interested in seriously pursuing the arts has already left. A performing arts centre will, in approximately three years, be hollowed out and refitted as the new expanded headquarters for one of our flourishing Job Services providers. We might as well consider the viability of establishing a space exploration program.

Thursday, 21 April 2016 - 3:37am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 21/04/2016 - 3:37am in

I'm no medical expert, although I do have an advanced diploma in homeopathy from the time I went for a swim with somebody who had that qualification and accidentally swallowed some water. I honestly can't see why it's not possible to put St. Peter on the boom gates to only let in people with nice ailments. I don't like to be judgmental, but it's lowlife scum who ruin sickness for the rest of us. Ambulances are a waste of taxpayers' money and an outrageous rort by the suddenly-gravely-ill lobby. Personally, I schedule my extreme medical distress in installments across the calendar year, then take my treatment out at tax time as a lump sum. If you can't be bothered to plan ahead, I don't see why the rest of us should foot the bill.

Thursday, 21 April 2016 - 3:35am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 21/04/2016 - 3:35am in

It's hard to pinpoint when a revolutionary idea comes to you. I think I had the first inkling while on the way from my business networking breakfast to my business networking brunch. Later, at business networking lunch, I started to look at the people around me, sensing something… Something tantalising, yet frustratingly intangible, like the distant promise of an unexploited tax exemption. By business networking afternoon coffee, the idea was still yet not fully formed. The dynamic, entrepreneurial buzz washed over me as my gaze settled on the centre of the table. Raw, white, and artificial. These sweetener sachets crammed together in a whisky tumbler—each satisfying different needs, yet also the same need—were calling to me.

As the afternoon wore on, it became a drumbeat: raw, white, and artificial; raw, white, and artificial…

Over dinner, as the rhythm of "raw, white, and artificial…" rose to an intolerable crescendo in my mind, the flash of blinding insight finally hit me. I stood bolt upright and, as if possessed by the spirit of an old testament prophet, I proclaimed to the assembled business networking group: "Hear me! Something is missing from Coffs Harbour! Something disruptive, something game-changing, something that will engage our key stakeholders and enrich our brand! I have a vision of a great coming-together at signature events of well-mannered middle-class people of very marginal talent and even less intelligence, with very mediocre food, and very, very minor celebrities. I say unto you, raise an army of multimedia account managers! Let them go forth and multiply brand awareness! Let them vanquish the unbelievers in bloody and brutal information sessions! Only then—only then, my people—shall we have a new… business… networking… group!"

I fell exhausted to my seat, to rapturous applause. I sank my spork into a dry, tasteless slab of chocolate cake. One thing was clear: Coffs Harbour would never be the same again.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016 - 10:42pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 09/03/2016 - 10:42pm in

Lord knows I don't like to upset anybody, but I have to say that, going by the artist's impression (they always seem to highlight the presence of women in jeans, have you noticed that?), I can't really see any difference.

Granted, there is a green band-aid plastered over the grotty laneway and multi-story carpark at the far end of the square, but if the Advocate and its key stakeholders are to be believed, our carparks are particularly dazzling jewels in Coffs Harbour's exceptionally jewel-heavy crown, so shouldn't we be making these a feature? At least give the car park equal weight to the women in jeans. This is all at ratepayers' expense, so those women in jeans will be coming out of our pockets. They should at the very least be polishing our jewels.

Also, I've been in a number of city squares, but I'm not sure whether I could say how "active and alive", or at which "level of occupation", they were. Will the committee be issuing portable meters, so that the key stakeholder or ratepayer can independently verify that the committee has delivered on its deliverables?

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