Wednesday 30 November 2022

Busy Fingers began 1981

 Busy Fingers ... From Rags to Riches

Bribie Times 12 Aug 1987

Bribie Island's Busy Fingers organisation is literally a Rags to Riches story and a tribute to a small group of Bribie residents who saw a need and acted upon it.

Busy Fingers takes the "rags" that people no longer want and turn them into "riches" to benefit the elderly residents of the Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home at Bribie's Church of Christ Retirement Village. Inaugurated on the 31st March, 1981, the Busy Fingers Fundraisers were literally that ... a group of dedicated people, mainly women, busily using their fingers in kinitting, crocheting, making james, pickles, cakes and even plastic robots in their efforts to raise money for the newly planned Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home at the Church of Christ Retirement Village. 

The first President was Mrs Peg Canfield. Her "offsiders" were Secretary Fay Jackson and Treasurer Enid Funnell, two of the organisation's stalwarts who still hold those positions. Planned to cost $842,000, the Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home required to raise funds of over $400,000 to get off the ground. An appeal was launched in March 1981 to raise this money.

Busy Fingers began its fundraising by holding street stalls outside Cornett's Foodbarn. In their first year of operation, the organisation managed to raise $4,000 towards this total. It then took over the old theatre on the corner of Cotterill and Bestman Avenues on the 10th January 1983 as its main point-of-sale venue for the items made by the original 15 members. Regular Flea Markets that had been held at the Retirement Village were discontinued and the theatre became a centre for the sale of second hand goods donated by members of the public, as well as the new items made by members.

By April 1983, the Busy Fingers ladies and their long-suffering husbands, had raised over $15,500 for the Nursing Home. Their efforts were partially rewarded when they were present at the official unveiling of the dedication plaque in July 1983, by the then Federal Member for Fisher, Mr Evan Adermann, son of the late Sir Charles Adermann. A small but also very important recognition of the group's hard work had come in April 1983 when the founder and original Treasurer of Busy Fingers, Mrs Enid Funnell received a nomination as Queenslander of the Year. 

The building contract for the new Nursing Home was signed in May 1983 and construction commenced in October. At this stage, over $115,000 had been raised from the Bribie Island community for the appeal. On 2nd August 1984, the Nursing Home became operational and most of the 30 beds were almost immediately filled. 

Since that time, Busy Fingers has not been idle. The group had been responsible for the raising of over $150,000 in funds to assist the Home. Purchases they have made on behalf of the Home include a truck, a new bus, therapy chairs, water chairs and mattresses, bed pans, a microwave oven, air cooler, bookshelves and a gas stove. Busy Finger's latest donation of $17,000 on behalf of the Nursing Home, towards the Lions Ambulance Fund is also aimed at helping the elderly folk of the Home.

The group feels that an efficient ambulance service is a vital part of care for Bribie's elderly, and the age and condition of the Island's two old ambulances posed a threat and a danger to the need for quick ambulance transportation in the case of emergencies. But the ladies of Busy Fingers are quite self-effacing. They give all of their credit to their highly successful fund raising to the people of Bribie Island.

1987 - Big start for new ambulance. Busy Fingers donates $17,000 to Lions. The Committee ladies from Busy Fingers hand over their cheque for $17,000 to the Bribie Island Lions Club Ambulance Appeal. 
L-R: Lion Cec Weldon, Lions Treasurer; Wally Poulton, Lions President; Lion Nev Galton, Asst. Treasurer; Mona Frost, President of Busy Fingers; Enid Funnell, Treasurer; Lion Jack Shaw and Fay Jackson, Secretary of Busy Fingers.

Treasurer Enid Funnell is quick to point out that it is only through the donations of items for sale by Bribie Islanders that the Busy Fingers shop is such a success. "Without the publuc's support, we never could have been so successful", she told the Bribie Times. "It is the people of Bribie, who support us so well, that need to be congratulated".

But the residents of the Island are not so easily fooled ... without the dedicated work of the handful of ladies of Busy Fingers, turning other peoples "rags" in the community "riches", this Island would be just a little poorer in the glow that comes from their unselfish service.

Article: Busy Fingers ... From Rags to Riches. Bribie Times v2(47) 12 Aug 1987, page 11
Photo: Big start for new ambulance. Bribie Times v2(47) 12 Aug 1987, page 1