Radio station goes red for charity

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Children in action on Radio Lollipop at the Starship Childrens Hospital, Auckland. Image/ Radio Lollipop
Children in action on Radio Lollipop at the Starship Childrens Hospital, Auckland. Image / Radio Lollipop

Radio Lollipop New Zealand is seeing red.

The radio station will fundraise for their charitable organisation with a fun ‘wear-red’ day on November 7.

Angela Mackie, Chairperson for the Radio Lollipop volunteers based in Auckland’s Starship Hospital, says schools and workplaces are encouraged to host a ‘red’ morning tea, or a ‘red hair’ day and offer gold coin donations.

The international children’s charity is run entirely by volunteers and provides care, comfort, play and entertainment to children in hospital.

Radio Lollipop has been in New Zealand for over 20 years. First established at Starship Children’s Hospital, and officially opening a ‘real’ radio station in 1992.

“Growth is a big part of what we are doing and the core thing is just providing a distraction for children in hospital,” says Mackie.

“One volunteer raised $5,000 dollars on her own. The volunteers have been amazing and are our best fundraisers.”

Mackie says it’s a creative and interactive experience. Studio guests include Sticky TV, Shortland Street actors and New Zealand musicians who visit the children offering interviews and autographs.

“Our radio is what makes us unique and its delightful to see the children come into the studio, put on the big headphones, have a microphone in front of their face, to be singing, making shout-outs and running the show. They have the biggest smile on their face,” adds Mackie.

“Growth is a big part of what we are doing and the core thing is just providing a distraction for children in hospital.”

Radio Lollipop now has six stations across the country. Most of these are inside the hospitals. However, since the earthquake, Christchurch Hospital has a mobile unit that is parked within hospital grounds.

Mackie leads the volunteer recruitment and offers introductory evenings for people who might be interested.

“You need to be available every 10 out of 13 weeks to be an active volunteer,” she says. “There is not a single night at Radio Lollipop when you don’t leave with a smile on your face.”

Mackie is looking for more volunteers. Particularly, volunteers from the work force to help make the hospital experience fun and easy for young patients.

“Retaining active volunteers is important and they don’t need to have media or radio knowledge as full training is offered,” Mackie says.

Radio Lollipop is not a part of Starship Hospital. It is a stand-alone charity and reliant on funding and public donations to stay afloat.

Sausage sizzles, quiz nights and volunteer fundraisers play an important part in Radio Lollipop’s success.

Tickets for ‘Giving Hearts’, a red tie event on December 1 with quiz master Aaron Ward from TV1’s Nothing Trivial, are also now on sale.

For tickets email [email protected] or [email protected] to become a volunteer.

Listen to an interview with Angela Mackie below: