News

News from up north

  • by Kate Bowman
  • December 19, 2022

It would be true to say 2022 has been a challenging year for our friends at Tweed Palliative Support. Located in the Murwillumbah hinterland in far northern NSW, their service runs the only community hospice in NSW, Wedgetail Retreat. They also provide care in homes, relieving carers, transporting clients, and providing loan equipment such as electric beds and wheelchairs. Their volunteers also work hard raising funds to support their service by hosting community events and running three op shops.

The start of the year began with COVID still top of everybody’s worries but that was soon forgotten as the skies opened and the Northern Rivers flooded. The effects of the floods were significant. Two of their three op shops in town were lost leaving them without their main source of income. Fortunately thanks to the generosity of supporters in Sydney and Queensland they could keep on going after receiving truckloads of donated medical supplies, food, and clothing. With help from the ‘Mud Army” from Brisbane they were able to clean out the shops and sheds and seven months later have two of the three shops back up and running.

Out of town at the hospice in Dulguigan, nurses were flooded in for eight straight days until eventually a neighbour was able to get one of them out on the back of their tractor. That’s a very long shift! They went four days without power, having to rely on a generator powered with donated diesel. Ready for the next inundation they have acquired a little boat ready to ferry people across the low lying areas along the only road headed in and out of the place.

Despite all these trials and tribulations during the year they have still managed to welcome and train a new cohort of 19 eager volunteers at Wedgetail Retreat (see photo). Acknowledging how this type of volunteer role can be challenging as well as rewarding, the training is a unique combination of information-giving and knowledge-based material plus an experiential approach to learning.

One of their volunteers, Autumne, said, “It is a privilege for me to observe and be part of the process of personal development that is fostered during the training program”.

This time they introduced a new module called ‘Death Cafe” which involves having conversations about death in the intimate and natural format of a morning tea. This was a great success and they are looking to repeat these sessions for the community sometime in the future.

Welcome to the palliative care volunteering community, new volunteers of Tweed Palliative Support, and we wish for easier times ahead for all.

 

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