Students, firms aim for extras for new ward

ON THE MONEY: Waitara High School head students Sheldon Perry, 17, and Natalia Hunt, 17, get grilling to help raise money for Taranaki Base Hospital’s paediatric ward.
ON THE MONEY: Waitara High School head students Sheldon Perry, 17, and Natalia Hunt, 17, get grilling to help raise money for Taranaki Base Hospital’s paediatric ward.

Taranaki's hospital extensions will have televisions in every patient room thanks to the generosity of school students and construction suppliers.

The groups have already raised more than $57,000 to help pay for the televisions and other extras not accounted for in the rebuild budget.

Waitara High School started co-ordinating a fundraising campaign last month that aimed to collect $20,000 from Taranaki schools.

But they set the bar a little high and after raising more than $7000 have revised their goal to $12,000.

"We'd be happy with that," head boy Sheldon Kelly, 17, said.

Principal Jenny Gellen said the students were upset they had to reset their total. "It's still more than if we hadn't done anything."

Twenty-five of the region's 95 schools are taking part and each have held or will hold fundraising activities, including mufti days, work days, topsy-turvy days and crazy hair days as well as sausage sizzles, discos and car washes.

"We would have liked more schools to get involved but schools are always under pressure to fundraise for something and they can't do everything."

Hawera Primary School, for example, held a dress-up day, a fashion parade and a coin trail and spilt the proceeds between the hospital and the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter.

Waitara High School's head students, who went to plead their case to other schools, are leading by example having already raised more than $1500.

Mr Kelly said they planned to increase that figure by selling 700 sausages at the Clifton rugby club's Beats and Eats festival fundraiser at the Waitara Camp Reserve this Saturday.

The next biggest school contributions came from Fitzroy Primary School and Spotswood College, but Ms Gellen said the smaller rural schools had also been pitching in.

They plan to complete their fundraising activities before the end of May and money they raise is destined to fund televisions and a children's playroom in the new paediatric ward.

Having heard about what Waitara High School was doing, companies helping to redevelop the hospital have also taken their wallets out.

Already 10 of Project Maunga's suppliers, sub-contractors and consultants have agreed to give more than $50,000 to help provide extras for patients, including televisions and extra visitor chairs.

N-Counter Group project director Ian Grant said seeing the students stepping up had inspired them to do the same. "From our company's involvement with Project Maunga, we knew there was some extra patient comforts that everyone would like to see, but didn't form part of the core budget".

Some of the money will go towards a mobility garden - an outside area designed for rehabilitation and enjoyment by patients and their families.

The group is in the process of contacting all of Project Maunga's suppliers and asking them to join with them in donating money.

Taranaki DHB chief executive Tony Foulkes said the community support for the hospital redevelopment was fantastic. "It is supporting some of those many extras we would like. Our staff team is committed to the highest standard of patient care, and this kind of support enables those extra patient comforts to be achieved. Our thanks to everyone providing this support."

Taranaki Daily News