Family Room needs more volunteers

The Family Room at Gosford Hospital

In the wake of National Volunteer Week (May 16-22), Ronald McDonald House Charities is putting out the call for more volunteers for its Family Room at Gosford, which is operating at reduced hours due to a shortage.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW CEO, Ross Bingham, said 80 volunteers are needed to ensure families with children in care at Gosford Hospital get the support they deserve.

“Each year around 7,000 people walk through the doors of the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Gosford Hospital to take a break,” he said.

“Our volunteers truly are the heart of the Ronald McDonald Family Room, helping to give these families an oasis of comfort in a sea of chaos.

“They are the welcoming face in the Ronald McDonald Family Room, whether it’s making a cuppa, lending an ear, or making sure the Family Room is a clean, comfortable and welcoming space – none of this is possible without the assistance of volunteers.

“Unfortunately, due to the shortage of volunteers, the Family Room is currently operating at reduced hours.

“We are hoping we can again open seven days a week as more volunteers come on board.”

Bingham said volunteers were also needed to work with the organisation’s team in the community, at fundraising events manning stalls, selling raffle tickets or collecting money boxes from local businesses.

Deanna Dimond has been a volunteer at the Family Room since 2018 and enjoys making a challenging situation less stressful for families.

“A friend of mine was working at the Family Room and I had been looking for something along that line, working with children, so I decided to volunteer,” Dimond said.

“I usually work there once a week, although I try to help out whenever there is an extra need or an emergency and probably average 6-10 shifts each month.

“We are there to provide a base for parents who come in with their children – we show them around and are available to answer any questions they may have.

“We also help keep the place clean and tidy – it’s a general body of work really.

“I do enjoy the work.

“Some parents want to talk, some don’t, but we are there if they need us.”

Dimond said the Family Room provided a haven for the patients and their families to get away from the ward or treatment rooms and have a bit of a break.

“Whether it’s to have something to eat or drink, watch some television, or even have a shower, it’s great to be able to provide some respite – however brief – for people,” she said.

“It’s a great feeling to know you’ve helped someone who’s having a tough time and I would recommend it to anyone looking to give something back to their community.”

To find out how to become a RMHC volunteer, go to rmhnnsw.org.au/find-out-more-volunteering.

Terry Collins

Volunteer Deanna Dimond