The Friends of Bandon Community Hospital are giving one last push to their fundraising drive for a state-of-the-art day room at the hospital. Kieran O’Mahony spoke to committee members about the project recently
ANYONE travelling on the by-pass in Bandon of late will probably have noticed the big sign erected by the Friends of Bandon Community Hospital (FOBCH) showing the target of €240,000 that they hope to raise for the day room. The sign, complete with ‘thermometer’, is a reminder to all passing that funds are still needed to finish the work at the hospital.
And it seems community groups and sporting organisations in the Bandon area are responding positively to the call for funds. Just two weeks ago, Newcestown Foroige Club held a Big Breakfast in their local hall in aid of the FOBCH and raised €1,400, and another example is Bandon Cycling Club which has recently announced their ‘500K in One Day’ sponsored cycle later this summer.
Phase one of the €3.4m works at the hospital is being funded by the HSE and this is expected to be completed by July of this year, with work on the new day room to commence after that, with an expected completion date of October.
‘Basically the HSE was going building a day room at the back of the hospital, but we went to them and said it would be better to build at the front,’ said Tony O’Leary, chairperson of FOBCH. ‘However, they said they didn’t have the funds to do so, but we in Friends of Bandon Community Hospital said that we would raise the money. It will be the last phase of the build, and our payment is the last stage payment, so this gives us time to raise the money. It’s easier to fundraise while the build is going on rather than waiting until it’s finished and that’s why we’re putting on a major push now.’
Pat Brennan, PRO of FOBCH explained that €240,000 is the total cost of the new day room, a facility which she believes is hugely important for residents.
‘This day room really is so important as it will be the residents’ living room. It’s a place where they can meet and socialise. We have about €130,000 left to raise and we would like anyone who is reading this to think up of some good fundraising ideas and to come to us. We would be only delighted to support them, especially outside the town in the surrounding catchment areas.
‘In the autumn we wrote to all clubs, organisations and schools in the area asking them to organise a fundraising event in aid of the hospital and the response has been fantastic.
Formed as a limited company in September 2015, FOBCH has, since the early 1990s, been the official fundraising body for the hospital and the current committee comprises 11 very dedicated fundraisers.
‘Pat and I are only in the group about a year and a half, but there’s a lot of other people who were involved prior to us who have done an incredible amount of work. They have raised huge amounts of money and provided a lot of equipment for the hospital. They need to be thanked for their hard work,’ said Tony.
The committee is keen to spread the word about their work in the greater Bandon area and what’s evident already is that groups and organisations are rising to the challenge of raising the much-needed funds.
‘An example of a small community fundraising for us would be Newcestown, where the pitch ‘n’ putt club has done something as have the Foroige and GAA clubs, as well as the National School. It’s four different groups in a small community organising these events which is tremendous,’ added Tony.
The group has also written to all the businesses in the area and so far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. They are now asking those who haven’t replied yet to do so if at all possible.
‘We’re going to do a book scroll of every donation given by businesses and we’ll put it on permanent display in the new facility. We are also planning to contact every household in the area to ask for a small donation to the fundraising drive,’ said Tony.
Plans for a major ‘Strictly Dancing’ fundraiser are also in the pipeline for the autumn, so potential contestants are being asked to get their dancing shoes ready for that.
‘People can follow Friends of Bandon Community Hospital on Facebook for updates on events. We would like to thank Amir Butt who designed our website free of charge. Some of the businesses have also offered to fit out the day room when completed. We would love to be in situation to provide new furnishings for the room too but we will have to wait and see how much we will raise,’ said Pat.
Breda O’Donovan, Head of Nursing at Bandon Community Hospital acknowledges the great work that has, and continues to be done by the FOBCH.
‘They have worked tirelessly. They’re into the hospital every week and they’re continuously investigating what new ideas people have in terms of fundraising. They’re very committed and they’re a fabulous bunch of people. There’s a real community spirit amongst them and I have to say the support they’re getting from the community is huge – but we still need more.’
• If you have a fundraising idea, big or small, see Friends of Bandon Community
Hospital on Facebook or visit www.friendsofbandoncommunityhospital.com for more information.