Generous community gives back


NO ONE likes to think of kids in hospital, but a new playground open at the Mareeba Hospital will make their stay a little easier to bear.
Funded through the Mareeba Friends of the Foundation, the playground officially opens this week, much to the delight of staff, patients and the broader community. The Mareeba Friends of the Foundation is a branch of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, fundraising specifically for the Mareeba Hospital.
Mareeba Friends of the Foundation chair Ida Portella said the $140,000 playground came about through a grant from the Mareeba and Dimbulah Bendigo Community Bank, Mareeba Rotary and the Mareeba and District Fruit and Vegetable Growers, in kind donations from local businesses and the entire community.
“The Mareeba Friends have worked on this project for more than four years and it is evident that we continue to receive overwhelming support.   Our purpose is to raise funds to provide additional equipment which improves services for patients and staff at the Mareeba Hospital,” Ms Portella said.
Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Board chairman Clive Skarott AM said that he was proud to see new facilities added to help improve the experience of the hospital’s patients, both young and old.
“The new playground will provide an appropriate place for children who are either visiting the Mareeba Hospital or who are inpatients to enjoy playing in its colourful and inviting surrounds.”
Mareeba Hospital facility manager and director of nursing and midwifery Vickye Coffey said she wanted to thank all who contributed to the development and construction. “This wonderful playground will benefit the inpatient children and families of the Mareeba community. It is a wonderful example of what a community can do to achieve excellent results,” Ms Coffey said.
Mareeba Hospital maternity nurse unit manager Michelle Bombardieri said the playground is ideally for children aged up to 5 and features garden beds (completed thanks to a Rotary working bee).
“Before, that area was quite run down and not really used for anything, but now it’s one of the best features of the hospital. We have one little boy with a broken leg at the moment, and he’s been loving going out there and getting mobile in a normal, child-friendly environment so it’s been great for his rehabilitation,” Ms Bombardieri said.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said the playground was a wonderful example of the community working together for a common goal. “This will be a wonderful space for Mareeba children – the Foundation now has achieved two childrens playgrounds in a short space of time and we know both of them are well used and help make the hospital experience a little easier to bear, for kids in hospital,” Dr Chapman said.
The Foundation completed and opened its $1.2 million playground adjacent to the children’s ward at Cairns Hospital, two years ago.

Photo: Mareeba local Izzy Price gives the new playground a test run.


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