Helen Hearnshaw and Chris Lynch from the Grafton Nursing Home Auxiliary presented a cheque for over $5000 to the Grafton Community Bus president Peter Dougherty
Helen Hearnshaw and Chris Lynch from the Grafton Nursing Home Auxiliary presented a cheque for over $5000 to the Grafton Community Bus president Peter Dougherty Caitlan Charles

Auxiliary's $5K parting gift for community bus

AFTER nearly 10 years with the Grafton Nursing Home Auxiliary, the organisation's members have decided to fold and donate their remaining funds to the Grafton Community Bus.

When her husband became a resident of Grafton Nursing Home, Helen Hearnshaw was asked to reinvigorate the nursing home auxiliary to help raise money for the residents' well being.

"I pulled together a group of people," Mrs Hearnshaw said.

"Chris Lynch who has been my friend for a long time... and some other ladies whose husbands or mothers had been there over the time and had been very grateful for the wonderful way their families had been cared for.

"Over the years we've tried to generate some money through fundraising, and we buy things for the residents that are not on the list of things management provides.

"Little things like flower pots and outside furniture and DVDs and televisions. It's about giving them more pleasure.

"We put money towards anything the activities officers discuss with us and said 'we'd really like this because it would help in this way'."

Now, many of the members no longer have family in care so the group has struggled to fill its ranks with new members.

"We tried to get people to come forward at the AGM, with no luck at all, and in the end we just said if no one is willing to come forward and take over, we will have to close it," Mrs Hearnshaw said.

With the auxiliary folding, the members wanted the more than $5000 they raised to go to a charity which had a similar purpose to the nursing home.

"The Grafton Community Bus came up and that used to service each of the aged care facilities so we thought that was a really nice way to share the money around," Mrs Hearnshaw said.

President of the Grafton Community Bus, Peter Dougherty, said the donation will help keep the bus running.

"We will move about 6000 people a year, which entails about 500 trips and the buses travel about 30,000 kilometres," he said.

"The cost of the upkeep is about $1.50 a kilometre, which is about $40,000 and then we have insurance and all the other things.

"So the cost of running the bus is about $70,000 a year, and this money will go towards running that."



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