Wednesday, 20 April 2016 14:43

Fundraising campaign continues to furnish new long-term care facility

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The Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation is looking for ongoing community support for the Welcome Home fundraising campaign to furnish the new long-term care facility in Swift Current.

The campaign kicked off last October and although the construction of the new facility will be completed at the end of this month, Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Clay Thompson said the fundraising will continue.
“First and foremost, we’re not done,” he emphasized. “Even though we’re getting down to what we had originally felt as the final date of the campaign, we’re going to keep going probably right up until the grand opening some time later this fall.”
He is anticipating that public tours of the new facility in the near future will help to draw people’s attention to the Welcome Home campaign.
“We’re hoping that once people get an opportunity to walk into these new homes and see what the quality of furniture is going to be like in the new homes, it will increase the interest and we’ll be able to gather a few more donations as part of that process,” he said.
The campaign’s original goal was to raise about $8 million to fully equip the new long-term care facility in Swift Current. At the time it was the largest ever fundraising initiative in the history of the Healthcare Foundation.
The campaign had a good start with a donation of $1 million from the estate of Albert “Bert” Miller. However, it became apparent the original fundraising goal would not be achieved within the available time and it was adjusted.
The Cypress Health Region has revised the furniture and equipment list for the new facility to around $5 million after a review that identified items that can still be used in the new facility.
“Some of the things that we took into consideration when we were doing that were things like utilizing all the beds that are still in good shape,” Cypress Health CEO Beth Vachon said. “So we’ll be looking at mattress replacement. We won’t be purchasing new floor lifts and while every room will have the overhead lifts, there still needs to be floor lifts available in the event that somebody needs assistance in the dining room or somewhere else in the facility. Those we could bring over with us rather than purchasing new.”
The health region was also able to identify some cost savings on the pricing of items that were ordered for the new facility.
“So we’re in good shape as far as moving in,” she said. “The Foundation will continue to fundraise … but as for moving in we will have what we need to move in.”
According to Thompson, the Healthcare Foundation is now about halfway towards its revised fundraising goal.
“We’ve got commitments, verbal commitments and written commitments and physical funding awfully close to that $2.5 million as of today,” he said on April 15.
He felt the economic slowdown as a result of lower commodity prices, especially a drop in the oil price, had a noticeable impact on the Welcome Home campaign.
“About the time we started phoning around about a year ago now and started talking to the folks that we had hoped to gather some of the initial gifts that would give the campaign a really strong start, the price of oil went south on us,” he said. “When we were building a prospect list, there were a number of oil patch-related businesses in the city and in fact in Calgary that we had sort of earmarked as potential clients. By the time we were picking up the phone to set up an appointment to chat with them, the price of oil went from $80 to $40 and we all know what happened in the economy as a result of that.”
He has spoken to hundreds of people about the fundraising campaign and they responded positively to the project to construct a new long-term care facility in the city.
“We haven’t spoken to anybody that thought that the project is a bad idea or maybe they should have done it different ways,” he said. “Everybody we’ve spoken to agrees that what is happening there is the right thing to be done, that long-term care certainly needed attention here in the city.”
This support for the project did not always result in donations towards the Welcome Home campaign.
“We had a lot of people committed to help us and have in fact helped us,” he said. “Some we had hoped for at one level and we got slightly less amount. Some we have hoped for and the economy being what it is we didn’t get any gifts.”
He urged people who are still thinking about supporting the fundraising campaign to contact the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation as soon as possible.
“The health region is going to take control of the facility in the next couple of weeks and they hope to start moving residents in the first week of June,” he said. “Our window of opportunity to help them is getting closer and closer to the end. So if someone is out there right now and had been thinking of getting hold of us and making a contribution, I would ask them to come forward sooner than later.”
He added all donations towards the fundraising campaign are important, regardless of the amount.
“If we had a 100 people put in $250 a piece, we furnish a room for long-term care,” he said. “Every donation of every size matters.”

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Matthew Liebenberg