Mooroolbark’s Treasured Babies recognised on national scale

Mooroolbark's Treasured Babies volunteers have been recognised as a finalist in the HESTA Excellence Awards for their community service. Picture: SUPPLIED.

By Mikayla van Loon

Mooroolbark’s very own Treasured Babies has been recognised for its 20 years of support for bereaved families by way of a national award nomination.

The HESTA Excellence Awards highlight the work of organisations in the areas of disability support, allied health, community service and aged care.

As a finalist in the Team Excellence – Community Services category, Treasured Babies coordinator and volunteer Cindy Furby said it is very exciting to be nominated, although she is a bit nervous.

“This is what we love doing or else we wouldn’t be here,” she said.

Part of Red Nose, Treasured Babies volunteers sew, knit and crochet outfits for deceased babies from as early as 14 weeks to newborns.

While the eight winners will share in a total of $60,000 prize money, Ms Furby said even just getting Treasured Babies’ name out there helps the volunteers continue providing for families.

“It will help get more things that we need. The amount of stuff we go through, what we need, materials and timber for Angel boxes, it all has to come from somewhere and unfortunately, things don’t always come free,” she said.

“Even if we were to get materials donated or something like that, that would be great too.”

As much as donations are needed, Ms Furby said sewers are in high demand right now to keep up with the amount of clothing required for deceased babies.

“We’d be lucky to have nine, maybe 10 [sewers]. We’ve got quite a lot of knitters now. It’s just the sewing of little dresses and boy’s outfits. Even for bunny rugs and blankets.”

Raising that awareness, not only Australia wide but also in the local community, is definitely a priority for Ms Furby.

“There’s a few more people who are aware of what we do now but at one time, nobody knew we were even here.”

Ms Furby and the team of volunteers will find out whether they have been successful in the awards on Thursday 24 November at a ceremony in Melbourne.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said each finalist has demonstrated inspiring leadership, dedication, and a drive to improve care and support for Australians during challenging times.

“HESTA is proud to help share the stories and amazing achievements of these wonderful finalists, who through their work each day demonstrate such care and compassion for Australian communities, improving health and wellbeing outcomes,” Ms Blakey said.

“From delivering clinics and outreach street care for people experiencing homelessness, to supporting bereaved parents grieving the devastating loss of their baby, these professionals help our communities in their greatest time of need.

“I wish to acknowledge and thank every finalist for their critical work, and the people who nominated them.”