May 18, 2023

Sew wonderful – Busy Fingers are true change makers

National Volunteer Week 2023 is a celebration of a volunteers’ power to drive change. The Busy Fingers Auxiliary is a shining example of a group that has taken action to create positive change in our local community, one thread at a time.

Fifty years ago, a chat amongst a group of women, led by Mrs Kath Atkinson, the wife of the Mayor of Preston at the time, led to the establishment of an Auxiliary Fundraising Group. Kath Atkinson and her group of volunteers were indeed change-makers, dedicating their time and effort towards a cause they believed in.

Their initial project was to raise funds to establish independent aged care services in Melbourne’s north. They were successful in achieving this and did so by holding fundraising activities and submitting funding applications. These activities included holding raffles, book stalls, trading tables, trash and treasure markets, car boot sales, hosting card playing afternoons, fashion parades and even baby shows.

The Auxiliary opened the Busy Fingers Shop at Bundoora Centre in 1993, which was funded with money raised through the Auxiliary. To date, the Auxiliary has raised over $3,000,000 for aged care services and support at Bundoora – an incredible achievement.

Each and every day, the equipment they have funded assists patient care within Bundoora Centre.

Over the years, the Auxiliary has funded many projects and equipment, including the daily living display centre in the Information and Advisory Centre (IAC), a bladder scanner, tools for the Old Blokes Shed, the Kath Atkinson Wing Rotunda, portable weigh scales, a medical refrigerator and defibrillators.

Their latest equipment purchase was a vein-finder. With the enhanced imaging processing unit of this Vivo vein-finder, up to 80 per cent of invisible veins can be detected. This equipment not only enhances the work of our staff but contributes to a more pleasant patient experience.

Kerry Wall, President of Busy Fingers, and a member of the Busy Fingers Auxiliary for over 40 years, spoke of how invaluable this equipment is.

“I am really thrilled we have donated the vein-finder, as I had a bad experience with Dad before he died, that caused him a lot of grief. If only the doctor had had a vein-finder then. That is what makes people like me, do what we do, when we can help someone else and make their life a little easier,” says Ms Wall.

Although over the years the membership of this fundraising auxiliary group has changed, the Wall family has been the mainstay. Kerry’s mother was at that very first meeting at Kath Atkinson’s home 50 years ago, and Kerry’s father was also part of the Auxiliary for 33 years.

“I’d like to personally thank Busy Fingers for the amazing contributions they’ve made in funding some essential equipment at Bundoora Centre throughout their many years of fundraising. Every item received is greatly appreciated by staff and patients. Congratulations on 50 years of the Busy Fingers auxiliary. Thank you for the outstanding and continued support at Bundoora Centre,” said Kirralee Jensen, Site Operations Director and Director of Nursing at Bundoora Centre.

Pictured (L-R): Kirralee Jensen, Site Operations Director and Director of Nursing with Volunteers Norma McGrillen and Kerry Wall.