The Gunnedah Hospital Auxiliary is in desperate need of volunteers to help run the hospital kiosk.

Chairperson of the Gunnedah Hospital Auxiliary, Lesley Croft, said the situation had become quite dire and she is concerned for the welfare of the four remaining volunteers.

“Some of our older members can no longer come to the canteen and I also have health issues,” Lesley said.

“Volunteering at the kiosk is not a stressful job and we would appreciate any help people could offer even if it is only 2-3 hours per week or even fortnightly.

“We open from 8:30am to 2:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but would like to open on Fridays as well if we could get enough volunteers.”

Lesley joined the hospital auxiliary in 2001 when Shirley Morrison was at the helm and although it was leased out for a short period, the auxiliary has manned the kiosk since it opened.

“All funds raised stay in Gunnedah and apart from our affiliation fees with the state body, our money is used locally,” Lesley said.

“We have a pretty basic lunch menu, sandwiches and wraps and other healthy choices as well as hot food like burgers – we have invested in an air fryer to make it easier and also an Eftpos machine.”

Lesley said the COVID-19 lockdown had affected the group’s ability to run the canteen effectively but now it is back in full swing while following all health regulations.

“Anyone who would like to just come along and give it a try would be very welcome,” Lesley said.

“We charge just $2 for membership and that covers volunteers for insurance while at work.”

Lesley has put her heart and soul into the auxiliary and the kiosk – she does this voluntarily, quietly and with good grace, but is in definite need of assistance. 

Lesley has also devoted a great deal of time to committee duties serving as secretary and treasurer and nine years as regional representative for New England.

The current canteen was built in 1969 and Lesley says there are no plans included for a new building in the upcoming hospital re-development.

When the District Hospital Auxiliary was formed in the early 1930s, funds were raised to provide linen for the hospital through jam making, with a “linen tea and garden party” held in the hospital grounds every year. The auxiliary members also carried out sewing and mending and held a street stall every year to provide “Christmas cheer” for the patients.

By 1935, the auxiliary had 150 members and the new maternity ward was furnished with funds raised by the group, with money also raised to help purchase a new X-ray machine.

Anyone who would like to help the auxiliary carry on its important work for the hospital is invited to drop into the canteen or contact Lesley Croft on 0459 225 551 or by email [email protected]

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