Help Parramatta Mission raise $2M to provide a safe haven for families with sick
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Family Accommodation Project for Westmead Children’s Hospital Needs Your
Help. By Larry Woldenberg
of Sydney’s leading Institutions is the Children’s Hospital at
Westmead. It serves as a teaching hospital for both the
University of Sydney and the University of Western Sydney and
conducts children’s clinical research, focusing on translating
research into medicine.
The hospital has a bed capacity of 339 and employs a staff of
2500. At the moment, there is a chronic need for extended family
accommodation to serve the child patients. With this in mind,
Parramatta Mission is contracting to supply 6 badly needed
2-bedroom apartments just 30 metres from hospital’s entrance.
Westmead Hospital strongly supports the project. Childhood
illness can be surrounded by fear and uncertainty. A child’s
well-being will improve if the family feel confident and relaxed
about the illness. Having the immediate and extended family
nearby is a tremendous support of the healing process in
children. That’s why this $2 million project is so important.
The Parramatta Mission has already borrowed $1.3 million to fund
the purchase of the apartments and has a Development Application
currently before the Parramatta Council to do a $700,000
renovation of both the interior and exterior of the building.
This will enable the families of children patients from Regional
NSW and Inter-State to be with their loved ones at both the
Children’s Hospital and the larger Westmead Hospital if rooms
remain available. However, the focus will be on the children.
Parramatta Mission is profoundly qualified to oversee the
project. Currently, they manage the only motel in Westmead, the
Wesley Lodge, which consists of 59 rooms. One of its managers,
Dianne Hart, tells of the need: “Right now the existing
accommodation for children’s families can’t cope with the
demand. Either there’s a shortage of rooms or there is no room
for extended family members because only single rooms are
“We want to offer a space with Play Stations, a bath for the
kids and cooking facilities where more than just the immediate
family can stay. Grandparents, cousins, etc., all come and help
and this would be an opportunity for Mums and Dads to receive
plenty of support.
“For many children throughout NSW Westmead Hospital is the only
place they can receive the special treatment they need. Kids
with leukemia need 6-month treatment programs. Organ transplants
take 6-8 weeks. Radiation therapy patients need daily treatment
but can often be outpatients. So they could conceivably stay
with their families in this new facility. The same goes for
kidney dialysis patients.”
Parramatta Mission’s CEO, Chris Bertinshaw, describes the new
accommodations as well set-up and not expensively furnished.
“When the apartments open for occupancy in October of this year,
we plan to make them available at a low price of $300 a week
which is less than a normal rental apartment in Westmead.
“We really hope that people will respond to our Fund Raiser.
Otherwise we will need to service the bank loan which will force
the rental to go up to conceivably $600 a week—something we all
wish to avoid.”
Anyone wishing to contribute can contact the Parramatta Mission
directly on 9891 2277 or click on the 'Make a Donation' button