Palliative support finds a new home

WITH a team of fresh volunteers and a big new building to call home, things are looking up for Tweed Palliative Support (TPS).

The 19 new volunteers have just completed their 10-week training and are ready to head out into the community to provide care for those with life-threatening illnesses.

“They'll start working in the community with patients, providing transport to treatment, assisting with shopping needs and providing respite,” TPS president Meredith Dennis said.

“Some will be working in our op-shops or our office until they get their clients.”

Ms Dennis says TPS will keep striving until they have a full-time hospice running from the new premises at Dulguigan, which has been named Wedgetail Retreat.

“We'll start off with weekend and overnight respite for patients in the next few weeks,” she said.

“We aim to have a full- time hospice, but we need the funding.”

The new premises used to be a quality-of-life retreat for adults with cancer, but its owner fell ill and was forced to put the house on the market.

In order to be able to buy the property, TPS secured a loan of $1 million from a generous member of the community.

“A local member of the community asked if they could see the property and so we took them up there to have a look,” Ms Dennis said.

“They loaned us $1 million. We only had $100,000 in the bank, but we'd been lobbying for new premises for ages.

“When this offer was made we couldn't believe it - it was so generous.”

The retreat is a great place for patients to spend their last moments, Ms Dennis said.

“It's so peaceful and so beautiful. It's the perfect place for people to spend their last few weeks or days of their life.

“It's a big four-bedroom house on the hill. We'll be needing some more volunteers to help with the gardening and maintenance of the property.”

To keep operating, TPS relies heavily on money made at its two Murwillumbah op-shops.

And, with the loan for the new premises and the hospice in the works, extra fundraising will be needed, Ms Dennis said.

“We've raised nearly all our own funding. We will now have to get a proper fundraising committee.”

A concert featuring The Avondale Players and tenor Paul McGeown will be held next Sunday to raise money for the hospice.

Originally to be held in May, the event had to be resched- uled due to bad weather.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling (02) 6672 8459.

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