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The head of obstetrics at Albury Wodonga Health says new equipment purchased with a donation from the SS&A has the potential to save lives.
With $90,000 given by the club, AWH was able to purchase a general electric Voluson ultrasound machine.
It is a first for the Wodonga maternity ward and replaces a fixed, outdated machine which was slow to use and provided a far less clear picture.
Dr Simon Craig described the Voluson as “state-of-the-art”.
“This is what modern obstetrics in Australia is all about,” he said.
“Most obstetric units of our size would have one or more of this style.
“It’s a clearer picture and better information.
“This very generous donation makes a huge difference, and it might save lives.”
Operational Director of Women’s and Children’s Services Julie Wright said it provided extra information.
“For a midwife, to be able to listen to the heart rate and see the baby moving is great, but also, looking at the way the blood flows in the cord can give you information about the health of the baby,” she said.
“The other machine couldn’t pick up that detail.
“For a clinician making a decision … that information is really powerful.”
Paediatric nurse unit manager Samantha Peet said $35,000 had also been given to update Albury Hospital’s forensic medical equipment.
“We’ve had a strong relationship with them – their upgrading of the central monitoring system (in 2018) has allowed us to be able to monitor those really sick kids closely, and when we’re out of the rooms, gives reassurance to us and the families,” she said.
“The new forensic medical equipment has made the room a little bit less intimidating because the equipment is not as bulky.
“Without the SS&A’s support, it’s probably something that we would not have had for a long, long time.
“Forensic medicine is not an easy topic to talk about, but we spoke with the board, and they were fantastic.”
SS&A chief executive Gerard Darmody was glad to know the donation would improve operations for the hospital.
“As Sam mentioned, the process can be traumatic enough – to have a procedure that can be done in a way that reduces that a little bit, is great,” he said.
Mr Darmody said the ultrasound was the third piece of equipment donated.
“We’ve been proud to partner with AWH with the support of our members and the local community,” he said.
Club president Eddie Dunlop said all four of his grandkids had been born at the Wodonga ward.
“We know how important it is for them to have this,” he said.


Sonder is already partnered with the likes of the Woolworths Group, Commonwealth Bank and Youth off the Streets, however, the SS&A is said to be one of the first clubs to jump on board with the initiative.
“This is the first club partnership for Sonder, and we’re already seeing great value for the club and holistic centred support for their staff,” Sonders’ head of government and education Rodney Davis said.


Community Focus 

1 food capture

Boys To The Bush
$50,000 donated (Two years)

A humble program founded by three teachers to offer outdoor camps for disengaged boys has grown beyond expectations. One of the co-founders of the Boys to the Bush program, Richard Leahy says the program has expanded throughout NSW into Wagga, Bathurst, Parks and Forbes, while retaining its heritage as an Albury Wodonga based program. “The concept of what we’re about and the simplicity of what we do has filtered throughout the community,” Richard said. “It’s not rocket science what we do. We get good role models and give boys opportunities they may not have had otherwise.” Boys to the Bush encourages boys to immerse themselves in the great outdoors, fishing, canoeing, helping with farm work and mechanics while exploring and making genuine connections. Funding from the SS&A helped cover the costs of the camp for many local primary and high school aged boys. “The support from the SS&A means we’ve been able to give boys access to the program who may not have had that opportunity otherwise,” Richard said. “A lot of other local businesses have jumped on board too, opening up their mechanical workshops or facilities to expose the boys to a range of industries. We’ve even had Malibu Boats put on a couple of ski days for us. These boys would never get access to something like that, so all of the community support makes a real difference.”

Treatment Close to Home Makes a Difference
A mega donation of $80,000 from the SS&A has helped replace and upgrade much-needed monitoring equipment for the children’s cancer treatment space at Albury Hospital.

One local family with a child who has been receiving ongoing treatment for a rare form of cancer says local fundraising through the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund has helped make the treatment journey less challenging.
Sally Wildon’s five-year-old son Archie has had three and a half years of intensive chemotherapy, mostly in Melbourne, and has just finished 12 months of maintenance treatment at Albury Hospital.
One of the features of the equipment funded by the SS&A allows those children receiving treatment who are very sick and unable to fight off bugs, to be placed in isolation, yet remain connected to high-tech monitors, allowing nurses to keep a close eye on them whilst not in the room.
Sally Wildon says having the latest monitoring technology locally gives families like her peace of mind. “Archie often would have zero immunity so he would have to be in isolation,”
Sally said.
“Children on the ward might be coming in with illnesses such as chest infections and that would kill him, so it’s really important.”
Nurse Unit Manager of Paediatrics Samantha Peet says the upgraded technology makes caring for children much easier and effective.

“It is very exciting to have the newest version of the equipment which includes seven monitors that are beside the patient’s bed, a monitor in the treatment room and a central monitor at the nurse’s station.
“The new equipment also allows us to transfer the patient’s data from the ED department and to the ICU department if it is required that the children get moved. This allows for consistent treatment and streamlined care for all our patients.”
Perhaps the greatest benefit of adding new technology to the children’s cancer treatment space is giving families confidence, and an ability to keep families together during challenging times.
“When Archie was first diagnosed and was 18 months old we were in Melbourne and they said, ‘we’ll try and get you back home’ and I was a bit scared, because locally we couldn’t compare to the ward at the Royal Children’s with their equipment and isolation rooms.
“But we’re getting better and better as we’re getting more funding which is making a huge difference to lots of families. And when we do have treatment here, we keep the family together, as we have three other children,” Sally said.
“Anything that we can do to help a family through a very difficult time is of upmost importance,” added Samantha.
“With the support of the SS&A, it ensures that we have state of the art equipment to do this and it also makes the nurses job so much easier when we have equipment that facilitates our care.” “

Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre $40,000 donated
Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre is a unique service that was established in 2009. It is the first cross border public health service to exist in Australia and operates under an agreement between NSW and Victoria governments to provide the largest regional health care services between Sydney and Melbourne. It supports a catchment population of 250,000, covering North East Victoria and southern NSW. They have over 2,100 staff and over 200 volunteers working at two public hospitals, two rehabilitation centres, a dental clinic and mental health services to meet the needs of our diverse regional community.

Upper Murray Family Care
$30,000 donated

A 40 year anniversary of service to the community by Upper Murray Family Care (UMFC) was celebrated with two major functions at the SS&A. Life members, staff, board members and dignitaries gathered for a luncheon which attracted four life-members, including founder John Taylor, who’s kept a keen eye on UMFC’s growth. “I’ve watched the whole process over this period with great humility and with great excitement,” John said. “They’ve turned what used to be a track of people going to Melbourne for services, to having services received here and better still, introduced preventive and supportive services, so people don’t get into those more intensive type of interventions.” The organisation started out initially providing short and long term Foster Care, but has expanded to a range of services, helping between five and six thousand families and children in need each year. UMFC Chief Executive Officer Luke Rumbold says it’s a recognition to be proud of. “It’s a wonderful milestone for UMFC and the connections to the community it serves is so precious,” Luke said. UMFC also acknowledged the ongoing support of the SS&A, and conducted a successful charity ball in the upstairs auditorium, featuring comedian Fiona O’Loughlin and rock band Thirsty Merc.

Rising Up to be Fit for Life

A program to engage with young people through sport, fitness and a hearty breakfast has benefitted from a funding boost as part of ClubGRANTS from the SS&A.

Shane Walters, Club Manager from PCYC says the grant has helped with some of the basics.
“Out Fit for Life program is aimed at disengaged, or at-risk youth and runs in the mornings,” Shane said.
“We pick them up from home and get them involved in competition sport such as basketball and other physical activities – police are involved in the program as well.
We feed them, get them active, put them on a bus and send them to school, and work on building positive relationships with local police as well.”
“The grant has helped greatly, just simple things like trying to feed 12 or 15 kids in the morning with a two-slice toaster – now we have two four-slice toasters. Upgrading the kitchen allows us to teach kids baking and cooking for lunch on Wednesdays as part of our program. We can also buy new equipment to run some different sporting activities, just not basketball.”

The PCYC was also successful in obtaining grants towards a purpose-built trailer to ‘go mobile’ in delivering early intervention and crime prevention programs. The service model is designed for PCYC and NSW Police to go anywhere, equipped with sport and recreation equipment to positively engage with young people.
A separate grant also helps support a Fit for Home program, mainly designed for young girls to help them learn life skills such as growing food, cooking, repairing items and clothing as well as education and strategies around consent.
“We’re thankful to the SS&A for these grants – they’re really helpful,” Shane said.
“Without funding like this we’d be struggling to run our programs and to find money for simple things like food and we know everyone is asking for hand-outs, so we appreciate it.
“Through these programs, you build those relationships with kids, see them down the street and they wave and say g’day to you, so you really do see the growth in them.”

Uniting St davids

Thanks to the generosity of members, guests and staff,  92 children experienced the joy of receiving a Christmas present they otherwise would not have. The giving tree took pride of place at the SS&A in the lead-up to Christmas, where donations of beautifully wrapped toys piled up with each day. Kaily Goodsell from Uniting St David’s says she was thrilled to see first-hand the impact the gift giving had on local children and families. “I was the lucky one, as I was able to hand the gifts out to the care givers to take and provide for their children,” Kaily said. “There were many tears shed throughout this process as this generosity turned many families’ hopelessness into hope. A hope that they otherwise would not have had.” The simple, thoughtful act of gift giving was particularly appreciated by the lucky recipient of a bicycle. “The bicycle was gifted to a 7 year old boy whose mother died last year,” Kaily explained. “His father has not been able to get back on his feet enough emotionally to be able to re-join the workforce. When I asked his father if his son had a bike, he stated that he had tried to save for one but was not able to. You can only image what his reaction was. Emotional and priceless! “On behalf of the many children and their families and the team here at Uniting St David’s, thank you very much,” Kaily said.

Albury Wodonga Regional Food Share
$20,000 donated

The Power of Community
If ever there was an appreciation of the need for Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare, it has been during the past 12 months, with a huge demand for their services since the summer bushfires hit. General Manager of FoodShare Peter Matthews says the organisation was quick to respond to communities on both sides of the border from Holbrook, Tumbarumba, Jingellic and Batlow through to Walwa, Corryong and into the North East. “We provided all the basic non-perishable food staples immediately, as well as truck-loads of water and other material aid such as clothing and household essentials, because they were in critical need,” Peter said. “Also for the first time we allowed individuals to come direct to the FoodShare warehouse to help themselves to food. There were no limits, and no questions asked.” FoodShare has also played a vital role in supporting those experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19. Mr Matthews paid tribute to their key sponsors and donors, including the SS&A which has been a sponsor of FoodShare since 2015, contributing towards the purchase of fresh food and a $20,000 donation towards the purchase of a new refrigerated vehicle to assist with deliveries. “SS&A has played a crucial part in enabling us to improve our services, supporting vulnerable people experiencing hardship in a whole range of border communities,” Peter said. “We are not government funded, so the ability to increase access to good quality nutritious food for people in financial stress or need couldn’t happen without local support.”