Volunteer Story – Emma

Fundraising/ President


Emma attends Lyttelton Street Playcentre, with her son Magnus, aged 3.  Her older son Finlay, aged 7, was a “playcentre kid” from six months old and Magnus attended his first Playcentre session at 10 days old. 

“My husband, Sam, and I moved from the UK to Christchurch in 2013.  When our first son was born, I had postnatal anxiety, and I really needed more social connection.  Our midwife mentioned Babies Can Play and Playcentre as an option.”

When Finlay was about 6 months old, Emma attended Babies Can Play at Playcentre.  She says, “from that first moment I was hooked.”

 “I felt the warmth of the facilitators, the togetherness of the group and the welcome of the centre and I knew it was the right place for us.”

“I met my absolute best friend in the whole world at Playcentre.  We immediately connected and we have supported each other through everything since then.”

 Emma credits Playcentre with shaping her parenting style and providing her with the support network she needed as a new mother.  

No kidding, belonging to Playcentre has shaped my parenting and supported me as a person. The other parents are incredible friends. We are vulnerable with each other, we cheer each other on, and when the chips are down, we wrap around each other and push through together. There are people at our Centre that I would trust with my life, with my boys’ lives.  They’ve got my back for absolutely everything.”

 “I’ve also found the Playcentre education programme to be inspiring and interesting, and it has been of such a practical benefit to me in understanding my children’s development.”

When asked about her experience of being a parent volunteer at Playcentre Emma says, “it’s all about everyone contributing what they can and sharing the load.”

“Everyone gives what they can, when they can, and everyone’s valued for what they can do.  It’s a really positive space where you meet friends for life.”

Emma’s first volunteer role at Playcentre was as grants and fundraising officer, because of her professional background as a fundraiser.  She then moved into the role of president at her centre and is now in year three of that role.  She has also just volunteered for one of the regional representative roles, where she is looking forward to learning more about the governance side of Playcentre.

According to Emma, “Playcentre 100% promotes emergent leadership.”

 “One thing I knew at the end of my maternity leave was that I didn’t want to go back to work.  But I didn’t know what I did want to do.”

 “I’ve gone through this journey with Playcentre, doing the education, thinking about working in early childhood education or supporting new parents via the Space at Playcentre or Babies Can Play infant programmes.  I’m also hoping to study to be an antenatal childbirth educator. 

 “I honestly don’t think I would have got to that point without going through the education journey, the learning journey and just the life journey that comes from being in that Playcentre environment where adult learning is encouraged.” 

“I think Playcentre has helped me find who I am, if not make me who I am.”