On 5 November, Mount Maunganui Playcentre in collaboration with local business Kitchen Takeover, held a fundraising event which raised over $76,000 towards their relocation project.

Mount Maunganui Playcentre first opened in 1974. They have leased the same building for the last 48 years and are operating at near full capacity.

As part of the council’s redevelopment of Blake Park, they are required to move to new premises.

Despite financial support from Playcentre Aotearoa, Ministry of Education and Tauranga City Council, the centre still need an estimated $600,000 to complete construction of a new purpose-built Playcentre at Golf Road Reserve. Without it, they will face closure.

“The team at Kitchen Takeover donated $8,000 and the rest of the total was raised by our centre organising a wonderful line-up of auction items – all donated by local businesses and individuals. Some guests also made direct donations on the night,” said Karen Clarkson, Mount Maunganui Playcentre parent.

“We are blown away with the success of the event; and it reminds us of what an incredible community we are part of. We can’t thank those involved enough – from those providing prizes to those attending the event. This is a huge step towards our fundraising finishing line,” said Ms Clarkson.

Stacey Jones is the creator and director of Kitchen Takeover and has been a member of Mount Maunganui Playcentre for eight years attending with her three children.

Ms Jones and her husband came to New Zealand twelve years ago and left both their families behind in the United Kingdom.

“As a working mother and business owner it can be a lonely place. The connections I have made at Playcentre have allowed me to find a community of like-minded mums,” says Ms Jones.

“Like many whānau here in the Bay of Plenty, we lack family connection. I have been a Playcentre mum for over eight years now – it’s a place close to my heart.”

“The fundraising event on Saturday night was a real privilege to bring both my passions together – my business and Mount Maunganui Playcentre,” explained Ms Jones.

Mount Maunganui Playcentre which is a non-profit, run by local parents for nearly 50 years, has also set up a Givealittle page to help raise funds to relocate the current Playcentre to new premises.

Since then, the Mt Maunganui Playcentre Givealittle page has received more than $11,845 worth of donations to support their relocation project.

Photo: Stacey Jones, creator and director of Kitchen Takeover and Mount Maunganui Playcentre member.