Win in push for changes

POSITIVE: Friends of Nolan House and Albury Auxiliary committee members: president Les Schmutter, vice president Courtney Avery, communications officer Fred Ford and secretary Jane Atkinson at the AGM. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
POSITIVE: Friends of Nolan House and Albury Auxiliary committee members: president Les Schmutter, vice president Courtney Avery, communications officer Fred Ford and secretary Jane Atkinson at the AGM. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Hope was the theme of the Friends of Nolan House and Albury Hospital Auxiliary’s first AGM, with major improvements on the horizon for the first time in years.

The Nolan House group merged with the auxiliary in June 2016 after low membership on both sides.

Outgoing president Roz Quin relayed the activities of the group’s first year on Tuesday night with a staggering amount raised.

“We had an opening balance of just over $10,911 and $4000 of that money went to chairs in the emergency department, for visitors beside the beds,” she said.

“We’ve raised $37,593 for the hospital auxiliary and $36,765 for Friends of Nolan House.”

Ms Quin said $20,000 from the Commercial Club went to the medical ward at Albury hospital and $14,400 from the Lions Club of Albury was handed over for Nolan House.

“So far we’ve donated to Nolan House bookshelves, CD players, diaries and a delivery of The Border Mail, which has made a huge different the patients because they had a bit of contact with the outside world,” she said.

“We’ve also pledged some money for chairs to go into the high dependency unit.”

Many of the improvements the group plans to make to the mental health unit will wait until infrastructure upgrades are complete.

Albury Wodonga Health Leigh McJames told the group these upgrades would be underway within 12 months.

“We have secured funding from both state governments of approximately $1 million to undertake a range of refurbishments in Nolan House,” he said.

“They will be focused on safety, the high dependency unit, improving gender segregation and the aesthetics.

“I’m verty keen to get the infrastructure in there because I really think it’s quite inadequate.”

Mr McJames also said the transit lounge would be utilised for the upgrades – a move the Nolan House group has long campaigned for.

“There’s a shortage of basic geography to properly achieve gender segregation, so what’s called the transit lounge will be incorporated in that planning as its needed,” he said.

“We’ve actually commissioned the architect; now we’re working through with staff exactly what that looks like.”

Private ensuites and improving facilities are among a range of items the board will continue to push for.

Communications officer Fred Ford said a major fundraiser would take place on Saturday, October 22.

“There will a range of activities and a list of items for people to bid for so they know where their money is going,” he said.

“We’re looking for partners, donors and helpers for the event.”