This charitable trust was set up by the Directors of Kindercare Learning Centres in 2005, to support and advance the health, welfare, education and learning of life skills for individuals, families, groups and organisations, living in socially and economically disadvantaged communities.
The Foundation’s philosophy is that, with the right support, all New Zealanders will have a better chance of attaining success in their lives.
The establishment of Living and Learning Family Centres, through the Living and Learning Foundation, was a concept that was developed as a means to best assist New Zealand families who were most in need.
Our very first family centre, opened in 2009 in Favona, Mangere. This was built around the early childhood centre, caring for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and was partially funded by the Ministry of Education’s Discretionary Grant Scheme.
The second family centre opened in Henderson in 2012 caring for babies, toddlers and preschoolers as well as introducing a new program – The Teen Parent Unit. This service enables us to target support, education and opportunities for teen parent mums, providing them with skills and alternative options to consider in their current situation.
Every year, since 2006, Kindercare partners with a New Zealand supplier to manufacture thousands of 100% wool blankets.
Before winter, blankets are distributed to organisations such as the City Missions, Salvation Army, Birth Right, ADRA, and Women’s Refuge, in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton. These organisations know the needs of their local communities, enabling them to identify those individuals and families most likely to benefit from receiving a donated blanket.
Families and staff at our Kindercare centres are given the opportunity to support this annual initiative by either purchasing or making a donation towards the cost of these blankets. Kindercare carries all transport and administrative costs.
We always receive messages of heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the blankets, and those individuals and families who support the drive know their individual contribution has kept a child, young adult or older citizen warm through our cold winters.
Kindercare has been a business club supporter of Ronald McDonald House (RMH) since March 2007. Essentially, this is an annual financial commitment to contribute towards the continued viability of the House.
Our staff have also been involved in volunteer work: working shifts in the House over weekends to assist with reception, cooking and serving meals, doing activities with children and any other jobs that need to be done to keep the house running efficiently.
RMH in Auckland is run by the RMH Auckland Trust, a 100% community charitable trust. The House and Family Room provide a haven for families from all over NZ who travel to Auckland with desperately ill children, who require potentially lifesaving treatment.
Families with children in intensive care need to be close by, so RMH provides emergency accommodation in the RMH Family Room, located inside Starship.
In 2007, the staff at Support Office in Auckland were challenged to a new idea for their Christmas function - bring Christmas to a family on Auckland’s North Shore who would otherwise not be able to celebrate in the way so many of us simply take for granted.
Competing against each other, teams put together Christmas packages, with gifts selected specifically for each member of the family. The wrapped parcels were delivered to the Salvation Army to be given to the families before Christmas morning.
In 2008, Support Office chose Onepoto Primary School, in Northcote, as our special Christmas project – holding a Christmas party with games, entertainment, visit by Santa, afternoon tea and a bag of gifts for each child.
In 2013, Auckland’s Support Office put on a Christmas party for the children at our Living and Learning Centre in Mangere. There were fun activities for the babies, toddlers and preschoolers, entertainment, treats, a filled Santa Sack for each child and a shared lunch with the families.
It’s a heart-warming and humbling privilege to participate in activities that direct resources, which would have been spent on ourselves, to children and families who have so much less than we are accustomed to. And once a year, get alongside others and share what we’re so blessed to have.
To celebrate the opening of our first Wellington centre in 2007, we held an official opening. Staff and families joined us, with special guest, Prime Minister John Key (then Leader of the Opposition).
As our gift to the people of Wellington and all New Zealanders – especially the children – Kindercare made a donation to the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, which is responsible for protecting our endangered national birds.
Our donation, made on behalf of our children and future generations, went towards the construction of a Kiwi Creche to provide a large enclosed and safe area for the Kiwi population to breed and grow the population – thereby increasing our numbers living in nature and ensuring the survival of the species.