After years of requests & discussions with senior executives failing to achieve a commitment to re-roof the leaking roofs on Hewitt Block & Hartley House at Bellingen Hospital BHAG stepped up the pressure in 2013.
During a Special General Meeting of BHAG Financial Members on the 27th Feb 2013 a motion was successfully moved & declared that $35,000 of existing donated funds be allocated towards re-roofing the hospital.
Your BHAG Committee commenced a massive Public & Political (Local, State & Federal) awareness & Fundraising campaign (lead by Pauline Murphy) stating the failure of senior executives in the Health Service to undertake routine maintenance at Bellingen Hospital (decades of neglect) regarding the state of the leaking roofs. No longer was it appropriate to fill the holes with more Silicone – the solution now was to replace the roofs, flashings, gutters & downpipes etc.
Raffle tickets were sold, donations gratefully received & our Petition to the NSW State Government signed by nearly 3,000 people.
20th of July 2013 the petition was received by our local MP’s Andrew Fraser & Andrew Stoner with a verbal commitment ‘The 2 Andrews Commit to 2 new Roofs at Bellingen Hospital’. Those present were elated as they were on record (televised on the NBN News that night).
Local businesses, individuals & Community Service Organisations were also very generous with individual donations varying from small change to $1,000. Over $13,543 was raised including interest earned throughout the campaign where the initial fund of $35,000 grew to $48,543 in just over 5 months.
It took some time but on the 21st October 2013 BHAG received written confirmation from the Mid North Coast Local Health District that The Board had allocated funds from their 2013/14 budget to replace the roofs & associated flashings etc. on Hewitt Block & Hartley House. The works commenced in November 2013 with re-roofing the Emergency Department initially & then the remainder of the roof on Hewitt Block which was completed around March 2014. The roof on Hartley House followed and was completed in June 2014. BHAG arranged an independent inspection by Rodney Hicks (Hicks Plumbing & Drainage).
The Mid North Coast Local Health District acknowledged the passionate commitment of the community of the Bellingen Shire during a morning tea celebration at Bellingen Hospital on the 8th of October 2014 when we donated $48,543 towards the cost to re-roof. The total cost to re-roof (excluding gutter guard & GST) was $348,879.75.
As president I would like to say thank you to the Chief Executive (Stewart Dowrick), Board & Chairman (Warren Grimshaw) of the Mid North Coast Local health District; the staff & Doctors at Bellingen Hospital; past & present committee members of BHAG in particular the ‘Funraising’ committee (aptly named by Gai Stern); Bellingen Shire Councillors; our local Members of Parliament and our entire community. Without this united support the staff would still be supervising the ‘bucket brigade’ at Bellingen Hospital during heavy rain events.
I wonder how many other communities have been successful in campaigning to undertake this scope of works in their local public hospital! This is not the first time that our community have had to fund major capital works. In 1925 the roof of the isolation ward was leaking. It had been built by the Dept. of Public Works & they refused to repair it. The Bellingen community had to foot the bill. There appears to be a theme here!
Well done Bello,
Barb Moore (president BHAG Inc.)
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