February 7 - 13, 2021: Issue 482


Palliative Care Unit At Mona Vale Hospital Realised

2013: Palliative Care Services and Upgrade opened - Eileen Gordon, then President of the Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary, The Hon Bronwyn Bishop ad the Hon. Rob Stokes

After decades of work from members of the community and local state MP's the day has finally arrived.

On Thursday, February 4th, 2021, the Palliative Care Unit on the Mona Vale Hospital Campus was officially opened. 

Background: On 29th.October, 1989 the Palliative Care Service at Mona Vale Hospital  was opened by the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, Member of Parliament for Mackellar.

The Palliative Care unit was run by the widely-revered Dr John Doran, and offered 24-hour home support. He was soon joined by Jo-Ann Steeves as Volunteer Co-ordinator. This was a start, but a Hospice was needed too. A group of volunteers, led Volunteer Co-ordinator, Jo-Ann Steeves, started fund-raising with a concert in 1992, which raised a remarkable $10,000. Later, the Combined Auxiliaries, headed by Cora Adcock, donated $2,000 and commenced fund-raising in this community with fetes, raffles, concerts, etc.

In October, 1992, The Area Health Board requested funding for a Hospice at Mona Vale Hospital from health authorities. On 25th.February, 1995, Community Services Minister, Mr Jim Longley, announced that a new 12-bed Hospice was to be built at Mona Vale at a cost of $2million, to be completed in August, 1997. 

At this time, the Auxiliaries had raised $115,000. THEN came a change of State Government and Labor refused the Hospice at Mona Vale. The community fund stood at $187,368. All active fund-raising ceased and the Funds remained in a Trust Fund with the Health Department, attracting Interest and also an annual Management Fee.

Over the ensuing years, the delivery of palliative care services has changed, with the focus now being to keep people in their own familiar surroundings by providing the services they need instead of treating them in acute hospitals – better for the patient, better for the budget. The CORE of this is an adequate Palliative Care Day Hospital.

So, on 17th.May, 2007, the Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary wrote to the General Manager of Mona Vale Hospital requesting that community funds held in Trust Fund 306704 be used to extend “The Cottage” where staff were doing their best to provide services in a facility that was inadequate.

And so began the Paper Trail from Auxiliary to Health Dept, Attorney General, Crown Solicitor and finally the Commissioner for Dormant Funds who ruled on 1st. Sept.2010 that the funds be released for the purpose of extending the Palliative Care building. A Trust was established with four Trustees and on 17th.January,2011 these community funds were finally released to the Palliative Care Trust Fund - $244,767. A process of a frustrating 3yrs 8months.

In 2011 the Palliative Care Trust Fund had detailed plans for extensions to the Palliative Care Unit which might serve this community well then and in the foreseeable future. These detailed plans had been supplied pro-bono by a well respected local architect, Emile Jansen, and approved by the Hospital Engineering Department.

With the extraordinary delays in releasing these community funds, building costs had escalated and we found that we could only fund the new administration section with adequate offices for doctors and nurses and the new physiotherapy unit, leaving the refit of treatment rooms, kitchen, bathroom, common room and reception plus the new physiotherapy deck and ramp exercise areas unfunded.

We really did not want a HALF-BAKED facility and so the Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary asked the Health Department, NOT for the 1995 $2million, but to match the funding of this community with $244,767. After all, this was a Health Department Facility on Health Department Land. With the support of Rob Stokes, Member for Pittwater, the State Government agreed to honour the promise of Mr Jim Longley in 1995 to match Auxiliary funds and $240,000 was added to the fund, MVH Kiosk donated $40,000, Rotary Clubs of Pittwater, Terrey Hills and Dee Why/Warringah added their support with combined donations of over $70,000, and Professor Vicki Taylor, CE of NSL agreed to waive the $60,000 fee that would normally be payable to Capital Works for overall supervision of the building project.

While all this was going on, Friends of Northern Beaches Palliative Care, led by President, Jo-Ann Steeves, were busy organising the refurbishment of the original Cottage – new carpet, painting etc with the help of a State Government grant.

The new building was going ahead, but disappointingly, we had exhausted all funds and had no means of building the $60,000 verandah which was a major feature and joined the two buildings. Then a miracle happened in the form of the Shirley Great Foundation, the Auxiliary found another $15,000 and the General Manager obtained $10,000. So we were able to build the beautiful verandah.

So, with all this help, this community has been able to provide a $660,000 purpose-built facility for the provision of Palliative Care Services.

Our thanks go to all the people who have supported this project and to the Trustees.

Eileen Gordon, 2nd.October, 2013.

(And now, Pittwater, Warringah and Manly, we need a Hospice .... )

And Now, we do.

Pittwater Online News contacted Eileen this week for comment.

''After decades, it is indeed a wonderful achievement. Our community has worked so long and so hard to see the original Cottage extended to provide increased day care facilities and now our long-awaited inpatient palliative care. Our palliative care centre is now complete and our community has the palliative care that we have needed for so long. I would like to thank Rob Stokes for his long-term support in bringing this project to fruition.'' Eileen said.

Pittwater Online News also spoke to 2015 Pittwater Woman of the Year, Friends of Northern Beaches Palliative Care President Jo-Ann Steeves and Gail Carew of Rotary and the Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary, who also both toiled for years through fundraisers and advocacy for this great day.

Their response:

It has been a long and obstructed journey to achieve inpatient Palliative Care for our Northern Beaches. The local community has persisted with loyal support and, on 4th February 2021, their perseverance was rewarded.    

Back in October 1989 Dr John Doran established the community service in the grounds of Mona Vale Hospital. It was his plan to progress straightaway with the addition of inpatient care for people with life-limiting illness. Meanwhile the team of specialized medical and allied health professionals and volunteers has supported thousands of local patients and their families in the clinic and in their homes. The holistic care is physical, emotional, spiritual and familial. When PC hospital care was needed it was out of area where the imposed tyranny of distance separated people at a time when being together with loved ones was ultimately important. 

Spirits soared briefly in the early ‘90’s when a twelve bed unit was granted. It was soon rescinded. But hope and support never dwindled as the hospital auxiliaries, Mona Vale (led by Cora Adcock and Eileen Gordon) and Friends of Northern Beaches Palliative Care (with Jo-Ann Steeves), remained stalwart with unwavering resolution. 

Meanwhile, with community funding (including Rotary via Gail Carew), a clinic was attached to the Palliative Care Service, increasing the ability of the team to expand and enhance their service to the Northern Beaches from Palm Beach to Manly. 

In June 2014 an intense, pro-active lobby group gathered with determined objective to achieve what had been impeded and thwarted. Councillor Kay Millar brought on board the then Pittwater Council. 

Seven years later, with valued support of The Hon Brad Hazzard, The Hon Rob Stokes, James Griffin MP and NSLHD CEO Deb Willcox, a gloriously sunny day greeted the opening of the state-of-the-art, ten bed facility. It adjoins a ten bed Geriatric Evaluation Unit. Staff have been chosen for professional expertise and qualities that optimize the care rendered by this medical specialty.  

The unit sits on the edge of the ocean and the golf course.  Each room is single, with a private balcony and comfortable accommodation for a loved one to remain overnight. Lounges, a contemplation area and other amenities have been created to optimize the experience of patients and visitors. Families, including frolicking pets, can be in visual proximity outdoors. The nurturing Northern Beaches culture, in which they have lived, will embrace patients on their journey. 

The Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary and Friends of Northern Beaches Palliative Care, with community assistance, will continue support for the unit. FONBPC, with a NSW grant, is currently completing a see-through safety fence, a paved path connecting to the NB Council walk and landscaping.

We express enormous gratitude to all who have encouraged and supported us on acquisition of the Northern Beaches Inpatient Palliative Care unit. Let us continue, together, to enhance the experience of our loved ones, friends and neighbours. 


May be an image of 3 people, people standing, outdoors and text that says "MonaVale Hospital Palliative Care #U Unit Geriatric Management Evaluation and"


Community Response To Youth Assaults, Theft, Vandalism, Bullying: ‘We Can Do Better Than This’

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Instances of teenagers assaulting other teenagers along with numerous instances of vandalism and alleged stand-overs to steal property has brought a consensus in the area, as a community, and as individuals, that ‘we can do better than this’.

Every generation since humans began has had to guide and work with their children to help them become all they want to be. Ignored, the problem grows. Addressed the unhappy get their happy back. This hasn’t changed – every generation needs to help their children grow up, not just grow tall.

In response to the questions ‘Why is this happening?’ and ‘What can we do about it?’ feedback collated from ages ranging from teenagers to grandparents and parents, with every age identifying these, is:

Why it's happening:

  • The person is having problems they cannot deal with within themselves or there is a problem at home they cannot deal with and this is a reaction to that;  – ‘these are cries for help’, and ‘if they cannot have a family at home they will seek to make one outside of the home with peers and make stupid mistakes’
  • Kids and adults: The person has access to alcohol and/or drugs and these are diminishing their capacity for clear thought and better choices for their self, as shown through their actions. close down the drug dens and stop the access to alcohol.
  • Kids: This generation has a lot of anxiety about the future, as experienced through witnessing recent bushfires and an incessant onslaught of reports about environmental destruction through climate change and animals now in jeopardy of extinction with no clear response from government to stop this – we want action now,  not to be the witnesses of 'the end of the world'
  • Kids: Recent ‘Covid’ experiences, along with estimates that our and our as yet unborn children’s generation will be paying off their debt, are diminishing visualising or moving towards any kind of ‘future’ or even trying – ‘what’s the point?’
  • Kids: There’s nowhere to go and nothing to do so everyone is just going into the parks and reserves and getting drunk and on drugs
  • Kids and parents: Sometimes someone is having a bad time and doesn’t know how to move forward to something constructive or positive – it’s got nothing to do with the parents, school, or anything else, they just feel ‘stuck’ and act badly
  • Kids: ‘'there’s an us vs. them thing going on where older teenagers are standing over younger teenagers who they think are ‘rich kids’ and stealing their phones, branded clothing, even shoes – they don’t care that we’ve gone out and earned it, they just want to take it, and they threaten you, that if you say anything, they’ll ‘bash’ you – and it just gets worse, at school and on the streets around my home, so we don’t say anything’’ – ‘kids in private school uniforms are targets going to and from school’
  • Kids and Adults: There’s no ‘time out’ anymore – no one switches off their devices long enough to have a real ‘time off or time out’ and just BE.
  • Adults: No boundaries and no rules being invested so they have no guidance on how to be how they really want to be or try to reach for their own potential in small steps or bigger pictures = no inspiration to go after their own dreams/passions

What we can do about it:

  • ‘We need somewhere to go and something to do’ – (older); ‘why can’t we have some dances and bands as we did when growing up’ – ‘Blue Light Discos’ (mentioned 100+ times) – a ‘we want a PCYC club in Pittwater; the skate park at Mona Vale was great, what we really needed was a space for our kids locally where they can swap heated-up adrenalin for endorphins, swap assaulting each other for using a punching bag and having someone there, with great programs in place, to listen and guide, these kids aren’t going to go to a youth hub if they’re feeling ‘off’ – they need to kick out without damaging themselves or others’
  • ‘Stop having a go at the parents, some of us have tried and tried and tried, you can have 4/6 kids and one just has problems. No matter what you do they just spiral, get in with ‘mates’ in the same mindset and it takes a lot of time and a lot of work for them to find their way out.’ (several of these)  - on the other side; ‘why don’t parents know where their children are? How can I be meeting your 14 year old, drunk in the street in mid-afternoon, or trying to break into the school I’m cleaning at 4am?’

NB: kids sneak out windows during the night, tell mum or dad they’re having a sleepover at ‘such and such a place’, are the children of single-parent/guardian/carer households where a wage-earner may be absent, earning the bread they will eat. That old adage about it taking a village to raise a child comes in there somewhere - it is your business to look out for and after the young, as well as the old.

What we can do about it (continued): HERE


Café By The Sea + Cellar By The Sea Launches This February!

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Mel and Dave Moss

Currently Serving Pittwater From Bayview To Palm Beach

Launching this February 2021, Café By Sea is a locally run, family start up business brought to you by the same creative visionary behind the Avalon on the Green music festival fundraiser for Avalon Public School in 2019, Mel Moss and husband Dave Moss. 

Mel says; 

''Our dream of a big, beautiful timber boat putting around Pittwater, serving best quality coffee by Seven Miles Roasters, fresh made La Banette bakery treats, Pittwater Seafood prawns and Streets ice-creams to boating enthusiasts and their families is so close to fruition we can almost smell the beans!

We are committed to providing professional and responsible service whilst ensuring our impact on Pittwater and its surrounds is minimal. Uncountable hours have been spent sourcing biodegradable, plant based takeaway coffee cups and lids, ethical, straight from the farm coffee and locally made edible treats. We wouldn't accept anything less and nor should our customers.''

Running alongside the Café By Sea coffee boat will be the team's second start up business to launch this month - Cellar By Sea, the first in Australia, an on water alcohol delivery service servicing boats on Pittwater and fixed addresses. Yummy prawns, fresh bread, and lots of great locally-made beverages can be delivered to you without you having to leave your boat.

Cellar By Sea is an on water beverage delivery business launching this February 2021. 

Mel said this week of this great new venture

''We endeavour to provide boating enthusiasts with alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, snacks and substantial food delivered by boat. Once customers place their order at www.cellarbysea.com.au they can sit back and relax on their boat knowing their needs are completely taken care of. 

We are committed to providing professional and responsible service of alcohol whilst creating an enjoyable experience and negating the job of carrying a heavy excess when heading out to enjoy time on the water. There is now no need to leave the perfect spot to purchase drinks and snacks.

We are excited to put our experienced palettes to use providing the best wines, sparkling and beer from small boutique producers as well as some amazing healthy mixers and non alcoholic newcomers to the market, all of which will enhance the joy of being out on Sydney’s incredible waterways.'' 

Orders must be made via www.cellarbysea.com.au due to the license conditions and once made, their high powered delivery boats and handpicked, RSA qualified A-team are ready to bring the fun. The party really doesn't start until we set sail. 

''Our business is new and completely original. We are local people, committed to enhancing our community. Cellar By Sea is the only company to have successfully obtained a packaged liquor license to deliver on water in Australia and as far as we know the world!'' Mel explained

To launch locally in our home of Pittwater is an honour. We have been entrusted with a great deal of responsibility and there is huge potential to join our Cellar By Sea family and ride the bow wave with us. It would be our pleasure to have you aboard.''

As a thank you in helping a little start up with a huge heart we’d love to provide Pittwater Online News readers with a 10% discount code they can use when placing their order with us: CBSFRIENDS10**''

So next time you've cleaned the boat until it sparkles, emptied your calendar and set out for a weekend of family fun on beautiful Pittwater and then find, as you round the heads you've forgotten something, Cellar by Sea is ready to answer the call, delivering ice cold alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, catering, snacks and more straight to your boat. 

Don't waste a glorious day heading back to shore - get the Cellar by the Sea team on board and keep enjoying your boating.

''Think of us as your party assistant - simply place an order online and we will deliver ice cold drinks and delicious food platters directly to your boat.'' Mel says.

More information can be found on the website: www.cellarbysea.com.au


Summer In Pittwater 2021

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Fledgling magpie eating spiders! A J Guesdon photo, February 4th, 2021

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