What is CHIRF?
CHIRF (Mallacoota Community Health, Infrastructure and Resilience Fund) Inc. is a registered charity which was created to provide support across a wide range of activities in the Mallacoota community.
CHIRF is a volunteer organisation that is run totally by volunteers who have a commitment to the community and to enhancing health care and community resilience.
The accounts we have are:
- Medical Equipment and Facilities fund, which includes Doctor Search
- Medical Centre building fund
- Scholarship fund
- Youth support fund
CHIRF was launched following a community meeting called by Mallacoota’s then sole GP in April 2016,
Dr Sara Renwick-Lau who outlined the challenges faced by a small medical practice in a very remote community. Following that meeting two key activities were activated; the first, a Doctor Search committee was formed with the goal of increasing the number of doctors in the community; and secondly, a fund- raising committee was formed and tasked with improving the equipment and facilities in the medical centre.
The Medical Equipment and Facilities Fund has so far received money from donations, from a Commonwealth grant under the Rural GP Grant Program, and from fund raising activities in the form of raffles and a charity auction.
It is important to note that equipment purchased by CHIRF remains the property of the community and is used by the medical practice to improve medical outcomes in the community. A huge benefit of buying medical equipment is that it reduces the need for patients to travel to Merimbula, Bega, Bairnsdale or Orbost for investigation and treatment of some medical conditions.
What have we bought?
- We joined with MIAC (Mallacoota Inlet Aged Care Inc.) in co-funding a generator for the Medical Centre. This means that in the event of power failure, the clinic will be able to be kept open and unstable and expensive medicines can be kept refrigerated instead of having to be discarded. The generator, as with all our purchases, will remain a community asset.
- We have been able to invest in an ultrasound imaging machine. That we have been able to do so is due to the amazing work of some of our supporters. Please see the “Acknowledgements” page for details of their wonderful work.
- MIAC and CHIRF also supported the remodelling of the existing clinic in order to provide an office and a pathology collection space.
- We have spent money on bringing Mallacoota ‘brand recognition’ in medical circles by attending three conferences. Two ACCRM (Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine) conferences and one RACGP (Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) conference. The organisers of those conferences have been incredibly generous and supportive of our cause. (Again, please see our ‘Acknowledgements” page.) Apparently, we are the first town ever to try to recruit doctors by broadcasting our many positives to the delegates.
CHIRF’s Doctor Search team (individuals are listed on the acknowledgements page) can also claim success in its quest. Mallacoota now has two new doctors, one a registrar who is with us until February 2019 and one an already qualified General Practitioner. Money well spent!
Doctor Search is not stopping there! We are working on our forward program to ensure that when Dr Emily leaves us in February 2019, there will be another doctor to take her place.
CHIRF expects to be integral to future developments of medical care in Mallacoota.
What else has CHIRF achieved?
First and foremost, the two new doctors!
Equal first, early in 2018 CHIRF received a grant of $300,000 from the Federal Government, towards the building of a new medical centre on the site of the existing medical practice. Our sister charity MIAC already owns the land. The building of a new medical centre to replace the current ageing buildings will ultimately pave the way for a residential aged care facility as well. CHIRF has been partnered by MIAC who are contributing $300,000 to the building of which $100,000 is a mortgage from the Bendigo Community Bank.
As a result of the funding, CHIRF and MIAC are jointly undertaking the project of building the medical centre. A medical building specialist development firm, Group HIS, is undertaking the design and construction of the facility. It is currently planned that it will be completed October 2018. Initial planning was delayed when a very gratefully received extra donation became available which enabled the expansion of the building. The new building will be built to the highest bushfire performance standard, that is, BAL40 and it is hoped that the monies raised will enable us to install a solar array.
While we’re talking about most needed money, please note that donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.
Donations may be made directly into CHIRF’s medical account at the Bendigo Bank;
BSB 633 000 Account No 159 562 776