COMMUNITY GIFT – Amputees Newcastle

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This month the Complete Parts and @ The Coalface $500 Community Gift goes to Amputees Newcastle, a voluntary organisation which offers peer support to old and new amputees.

Losing a limb is a devastating event, but one Hunter-based charity has been working to make life easier since 1967.

Amputees Newcastle Secretary Jeff Green said the organisation pre-dated Amputees NSW by some years and, after starting as a support service to clients of the Rankin Park Hospital, had spread right around the valley.

“We have about 10 volunteers at the moment and operate throughout the Hunter and have spread to areas such as Cessnock, Singleton and Clarence Town.

“It’s a far cry from many years ago when we had up to 100 people, but volunteers are short on the ground. The only qualification is to be an amputee.”

The Rankin Park hospital is one of only two state limb centres. Jeff said the other was at Albury and so Newcastle volunteers saw people from all over the state.

“We provide peer support to old and new amputees. We don’t do anything from a medical or prosthetic perspective, instead give advice such as how we live and get around obstacles and life experience. Basically sharing life stories.

“There are so many reasons for losing a limb – it may be because of diabetes, cancer, a traumatic accident. There are umpteen reasons we can lose an upper or lower limb.

“Quite often no one knows who to talk to and that’s where we come in. Being a sounding board and confidence booster – saying it’s not the end of the world and you can still have a life.

“Paralympians can succeed. There’s one young bloke who’s in Rankin Park – he’s so keen and motivated.

“The NSW president does a lot of martial arts and teaching and it’s a case of what people are able to work towards.”

Jeff said part of the job of volunteers was to talk to new amputees at what was a daunting time.

“If you going to go home and sit in a wheelchair, that’s fine, but there’s a lot of educating about what is possible as it can be very hard to work out when you don’t know what the future will offer, but we give people our lived experience.”

When Newcastle Amputees started in the 60s there was no NDIS and people needed a lot of financial assistance.

Jeff said the organisation still relied on donations which provided a welfare fund and help with physio suggestions and consumables. Just the liner under socks which protect the limbs can cost up to $1000.

“People have to maintain the quality of adaptive technology. They can’t afford to go backwards. We’re here as peer supporters.”

To find out more about Amputees Newcastle you can find them on Facebook or email

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