Here at Great Potentials Foundation, we have managed to weather Round Two of the Covid storm as an organisation.

After more than 100 days without any community transmission of the Covid virus in New Zealand, life had pretty much returned to normal – until a second community outbreak hit Auckland in August and we found ourselves back in lockdown.

Zoom meetings are the new normThankfully our team at Great Potentials knew what to do as we learned a lot from the first go-round and were swiftly able to make the move back into working from our bubbles to support our communities.

“We flexed our service delivery in a number of areas including development and the launch of webHIPPY [during the first lockdown] and made ongoing adjustments to areas such as national communications and training – most of which is now done via ZOOM. A number of large-scale events have been cancelled, like our National HIPPY Conference. We have also had to invest more in ICT, and still need to purchase more laptops,” says Jacki Richardson, Great Potentials’ CEO.

During the first lockdown, our team worked around the clock with the international HIPPY community to develop an online version of the HIPPY programme. Our amazing team saw over 130 staff trained online, over 50 weeks of curriculum recreated for an online context and 15 storybooks digitally remastered for online distribution.Online HIPPY training through Zoom during lockdown

HIPPY is now well-positioned to keep delivering programmes throughout the country at any alert Level – which we had the chance to test during this recent outbreak.

“While we found ourselves back into lockdown Level 3, thankfully we could still do HIPPY! It can provide some really cool activities to keep the kidlets entertained...” says Candyce Armstrong, a HIPPY Wellsford mum.

Things were a little more difficult for MATES in the first lockdown, with all schools being closed., delaying the start of our MATES mentoring programme for the year, until we reached Level 2.

To help make up for some of the learning time lost during lockdown, the MATES team ran a series of Study Groups (Fono) during the last school holidays to support senior students who were doubly disadvantaged by the loss of nearly a term of schooling.Students making up for lost learning time at the MATES Study Fono

Now nearly another month of learning time has been lost and our Maori and Pasifika students have been particularly hard hit. MATES will be holding more Study Fono during the next holidays to help make up for some of the lost learning time.

“We as a team care deeply about young people and we have so many concerns about the implications Covid19 has on their lives,” says Sonya Masoe, MATES Programme Manager.

Many community organisations have been struggling as funders feel the pinch – funding rounds have been delayed or cancelled altogether.

At Great Potentials we are extremely thankful that we have not had to lose any staff and have remained on course through the Covid storm, thanks in part to a steady hand at the helm and careful financial management.

“We are grateful for the continued support of our key philanthropic partners*, without whom we could not carry on as we have done. We are not resting on our laurels but continue to seek opportunities to improve what we do and help more children, young people and families towards brighter futures,” Richardson says.

*Special thanks to Wright Family Foundation, Hugh Green Foundation, Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust and Friedlander Foundation for their ongoing support as our key Philanthropic Partners. We would also like to thank Merchant 1948 (Overland) for their commitment to MATES Junior and Papakura Local Board and Pub Charity for helping us with funding for laptops.