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‘Compassion fatigue’ – RRANA closes after 33 years

Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals (RRANA) Broken Hill will no longer be available to rescue injured native animals found around the region due to a shortage of volunteers to share the load.

Formed way back in 1991, this week RRANA members had to confront the simple fact that the shortage of dedicated volunteers was burning out existing members, which was unsustainable after numerous clarion calls for helpers received minimal response from the Broken Hill community.

“It is with deep sadness that RRANA members voted to close the organisation once and for all,” RRANA Treasurer and bird carer, Stephanie Grieve told the Truth on Thursday following the organisation’s final General Meeting on Wednesday evening – February 21.

“We’ve been asked if we’re closing because we’re not getting along or because we’re broke, but I can honestly say there is no discord within the group at all, and this is the best financial position RRANA’s ever been in, so it all came down to the workload that’s necessary for us to keep our licences,” says Ms Grieve.

“The workload has proven to be the biggest burden for all our volunteers. I think everyone across Australia is feeling the pinch and people who would normally volunteer may have returned to work,” she said. “But without new volunteers, we’ve all just burnt out, sadly.

“Over the years we’ve seen the volunteer base come and go at RRANA but Covid lockdowns followed closely by cost of living rises seems to have created a noticeable shift with the availability of volunteers,” said Ms Grieve.

“Many dedicated RRANA volunteers are now getting up in years and we’re not seeing younger people join the organisation as we once did,” she said. “And again, this is happening everywhere, not just in Broken Hill.”

Ms Grieve was so inspired by her work with RRANA that the mother of four is now studying to be a Veterinary Nurse so she can continue helping animals as a career.

“I’ve been expanding my knowledge since I’ve been with RRANA as it’s part of your licence requirements, so I’ve gone into vet nursing now that our four children are off to school,” she said.

“I think we all knew that RRANA was winding down as many were feeling compassion fatigue, but we hung in there for as long as we could, so last night’s final General Meeting was very sad for all members,” she said.

RRANA President, Lindy Hunt, who has been with the organisation for 22 years extended her sincere gratitude to the community for supporting the group since its establishment.

“It is very sad,” said Ms Hunt. “No one has been in the group longer than I have and I feel sad that RRANA is closing under my watch, but I know we’ve truly done our very best to keep RRANA rescuing animals.

“After numerous call outs for volunteers, we just can’t seem to attract more,” said Ms Hunt. “However, we’re certainly very grateful to the Broken Hill community for the support over the decades, including the Barrier Truth for supporting our many fundraising campaigns.”

The RRANA phone will be permanently switched off on Friday March 1.

Out of respect for RRANA volunteers, people are urged to remove mobile numbers for RRANA volunteers from phone contact lists.

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