All year long we have been talking about money and, in particular, about where the money will come from to keep running Sands Queensland.
While this has been a daunting experience for the Committee and the staff, it has also been an amazing opportunity.
As many readers know, we had been told our funding from Queensland Health had been cut and was due to end in December this year. This meant we had to find alternate income and the Save Sands campaign began. While there is a lot of hard work that goes in to organising events, the most refreshing and rewarding aspect was realising that our members and our community truly value what we do. Our members and their friends, associates and colleagues gave so generously of their time, money and donations that we were overwhelmed. The Save Sands Gala, the Save Sands High Tea and some flow-on donations received through interactions at the events, raised nearly $70,000, which is incredible. The Sands Management Committee want to thank everyone who contributed and helped us to ensure our long-term security. We also found that an additional benefit was that the events attracted a whole new audience of extended family, friends and colleagues allowing us to raise awareness of our member’s experiences.
In even bigger news though we have received news in recent weeks that Sands Queensland funding from Queensland Health has been renewed and will continue for at least the next three years. This is a massive relief for us all and reflects the hard work we’ve done in making sure the Government understands what we do and how valuable it is to bereaved parents, their families and the medical community.
The grant represents less than half our annual budget so fundraising remains vital to maintain and extend our reach across Queensland. The grant provides a baseline of predictable cash-flow to ensure we can keep Sands House open, maintain our important online supports and support the work of our volunteers.
With the new funding security, we will be working on extending our educational program for hospital employees and other professionals. This training program allows us to work with those people who help bereaved parents – doctors, midwives, other health professionals and funeral home employees. This program includes information on the need to recognise grief; how important babies are to our families; creating memories; how to talk to bereaved families and the sharing of parent stories. We have presented to one of the larger Brisbane Health and Hospital Service and we are hoping to present in Mackay and Rockhampton in the New Year. Parent volunteers play a big part in developing and presenting these training programs and we will continue to do this important work to make sure any future parents facing the death of their baby are well cared for and have access to important information in a timely manner.
Thank you all for ensuring Sands Queensland continues to support bereaved families.