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For and by the community . . . Waitaki District Health Services strategic fundraiser Becs Wilson and acting chief executive and chief financial officer Kelvin Kite are hoping the community will get behind its fundraising efforts. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

For the community, by the community.

Oamaru Hospital is making a big push towards its fundraising efforts and is calling on the community for help.

Strategic fundraiser Becs Wilson has been contracted by Waitaki District Health Services to establish streamlined fundraising practices for the hospital.

The fundraising would be for items that were in need of upgrading, but not funded by the Southern DHB, chief financial officer and acting chief executive Kelvin Kite said.

Oamaru Hospital would focus its fundraising efforts on grants and community donations from service groups, trusts and individuals, Mr Kite said.

Staff often got used to operating in a ‘‘short-ofcash environment’’ and were not used to asking for what they needed, he said.

Part of Ms Wilson’s job was working with staff to determine what needed to be upgraded — particularly in the face of Covid-19.

New vinyl chairs that would make it easier for the infection team to sweep through the hospital and sanitise it were an example of a necessary upgrade, Ms Wilson said.

Without the influence of Covid-19, the hospital could have continued using its old chairs, but the pandemic made it necessary to upgrade.

The chairs upgrade was just one way the hospital was preparing for when Covid-19 made its way to the community, Mr Kite said.

By fundraising, it also meant the hospital did not have to wait for Covid-19 relief funds and could better prepare for the impacts of the virus.

‘‘Looking forward, Covid-19 will be a fact of life,’’ Mr Kite said.

‘‘We do not want to downgrade our services — if anything, we want to upgrade them.’’

Several contributions had already been made by individuals, businesses, and service groups, such as the Waiareka Lions Club which donated $2000 towards a vitals monitor machine for the infusions and chemotherapy ward.

The hospital also needed more bariatric, maternity and general ward beds, Ms Wilson said.

‘‘The community is invested in this place. They have a lot of opinions and know what they want, and we want to support that as much as we can,’’ Mr Kite said.

The community was the beneficiary of what it was investing in, he said.

While some donation opportunities ranged in amounts, they were streamlined by a ‘‘wish list’’ section Ms Wilson had introduced to the hospital website.

Those interested in making a donation could visit waitakihealth.co.nz/wishlist.