What's Up Wednesday

Stu Buchanan’s Real Book

Stu Buchanan was a most beloved jazz musician especially in Christchurch where he based and all around NZ. One of his former students, Nanako Sato, helped him launch a PledgeMe campaign in 2013 to fund his album “Hey! What’s the Time?”. While Stu has since passed away, Nanako is keeping his legacy alive through a book that contains Stu’s stories and compositions. We talk to Nanako to find out more about the campaign.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

Stu Buchanan was a beloved jazz musician, especially in Christchurch, where he was based, but also all around New Zealand. Throughout his 50 year music career, he had frequent appearances on various radio shows as member of several music ensembles from the 70s to the 90s, entertaining people at many bars, weddings, and jazz festivals. He taught or gigged with most of the musicians in Christchurch. Many people are still grieving his passing in 2014. He was much loved by those he inspired and encouraged by his music, music making, and his teaching. To have his original compositions book would be a fantastic and fitting tribute for his former students, colleagues, fans, and whanau.

I started this project, the making of the Stu Buchanan Real Book while he was still alive. With great time and effort, and with his permission, I have compiled his compositions from 1968 to 2013 into Real Book format. When Stu passed away in 2014, it was really hard for me to keep working on this project but gradually I have endeavoured to bring this work to completion. It is with intense feelings of satisfaction and relief that this project has almost reached its final production.

I think this campaign is important because I believe it will reach out to much wider audience than what I could achieve by email or Facebook.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

I organised and set up a PledgeMe campaign for Stu in 2013 in order for him to record his album “Hey! What’s the Time”, which was a great success and for which I know Stu was extremely appreciative. During that campaign, I realised that the target audience of his music was much greater than I had been aware. Consequently, I made some new friends and acquaintances with people who all shared in a common love and respect for Stu. Once again, my hope is that this platform will reach its wide audience.

Another thing I learnt from the previous campaign was that through PledgeMe, I was able to count how many copies to print. As I do not have a budget to print off hard copies, I undertook a survey last year, asking people to confirm their interest in a hard copy of a Stu Buchanan Real Book or their preference for a PDF version only. Surprisingly, even in this online age, people still preferred to receive a hard copy. In fact, most people (and especially musos) wanted both a PDF and a hard copy version.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

What I am really excited about is reaching my goal so that I can print off the copies. I am organising a book launch party in May. I will post the details on the PledgeMe page as well as the RIP Stu Buchanan Facebook page.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

I want to say thank you for reading this blog. Many thanks to those who have already pre-ordered the books and left lovely messages for me. You guys are amazing. And thanks in advance to the people still intending to contribute in the near future.

I sincerely hope people will realise that I will only be able to print off copies equal to the number of orders I get through this campaign as there is no other budget to allow for additional copies. I hope no one will miss out ordering this time, so please help older people or those around you with a computer phobia and offer them your assistance for the PledgeMe process as this may cause a lot of stress for elderly people, like my mother.

To order a copy of Stu’s Real Book, check out the campaign page here

What's Up Wednesday

Nina and Reta’s Cape Epic Adventure

To say that Nina and Reta are enthusiastic about mountain biking is probably an understatement. They are set to go to South Africa to compete in an eight day mountain bike race in just two weeks. We talk to Reta about their campaign and how they are using it to inspire folk (and especially female folk!) to get out on their own bikes.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

We love riding bikes. We love adventures. And we love challenging ourselves. When the opportunity arose to ride in Cape Epic – an eight day mountain bike race in South Africa – we couldn’t say no. As well as encapsulating everything we love, Cape Epic stands for a great challenge that we want other bikers (and especially female bikers) to be inspired by.

We have heard some great stories trickle through about the influence we have had on our crowd. For example, one friend – who is incidentally a grandmother – entered a four day mountain bike race called the Pioneer thanks to Nina’s persistent encouragement. By putting our goal of Cape Epic out on PledgeMe for our crowd to see, we hope to get others to follow our journey and, even better, get out on their own bikes!

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

A friend encouraged us to create a PledgeMe campaign. We were drawn in by the fact that we are not simply asking for donations. We have been overwhelmed by the generous support that has come our way, and we always aim to give our supporters something back. This campaign has enabled us to create the opportunity for our supporters to win a year’s supply of Talley’s ice cream!

We also have a Facebook page where our supporters can follow our journey. We love creating videos – it is a great way to bring our supporters with us. We have also done a lot of fundraising in Christchurch. Some of our crowd have turned up to every single event! But by launching this campaign, we can reach those in our crowd who live elsewhere.  

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We will be providing regular video updates to our Facebook crowd from the actual race. It is in two week’s time, so not long to wait now!

We are also very excited to announce the winner of the Talley’s ice cream draw. Our campaign closes on 1 March so we will be announcing the lucky winners shortly after (keep an eye on our Facebook page).

You may have noticed that one of our closest supporters is the Hirepool Horse. He will hopefully be spotted at the Cape Epic race, up to his usual antics as well as supporting us. After all, we plan to talk, sing and laugh our way to the finish of Cape Epic.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

We want to send out a HUGE thank you to our crowd! We will definitely be thinking of you all in the hard times, as we try to push a little harder and deeper.

Finally, we want to remind you that if you haven’t pledged yet, this is a great opportunity to win a year’s supply of Talley’s ice cream. As well as helping us get to Cape Epic, you will be in to win an ample supply of some excellent post-adventure recovery food!

Ice cream for a year? Yes please! Head over to Reta and Nina’s campaign page here

What's Up Wednesday

Have your Cake and eat it too

Olivia is creating a film to share the reality of living a life full of anxiety (and cake). We chat to Olivia to learn why Cake is going to provide excellent food for thought to its viewers.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

I’ve suffered from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (G.A.D) for the past 10 years. It nearly consumed me. There were days where I expected the worse to happen. Even though our lives can be unpredictable – I thrived on making my days as predictable as possible and act as if it would all fall apart. I ended up staying indoors and found my comfort through baking. I found that baking and crafting a cake can take hours. I spent the entire day making these delicious cakes, just to make the day go by.

At the age of 21, I bought a few items at my local supermarket and all I did was have a panic attack. I realised that I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t justify why I needed to stay inside. I needed to get help. Through the help of my psychiatrist, I learned to walk outside again. I joined Rata Studios – led by my amazing teacher/mentor Miranda Harcourt. It took a while, but eventually I walked into her classroom and didn’t feel that sense of dread that nearly consumed me. I gained a passion for acting, and for telling stories through the character’s that I played out.

However, I craved more.

I spent hours online researching about directing. I started making videos for people and gained some knowledge about filming. I wrote my CAKE screenplay in under 5 hours. I already knew the story and I knew that this this would be important for those who are currently feeling like they’re alone. I want them to know that they aren’t.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

There are many types of artform to express an emotion or an idea. For me, I think that’s creating a film. I believe that this story could help bring awareness to those who are suffering from not only anxiety, but for those who are too afraid to ask for help for any issue they may have.

Unfortunately, to create a film can be rather expensive. I have a lovely small crew of Wellingtonians who are able to relate somewhat to the screenplay. We want to make an important film and we want to tell it right. This PledgeMe campaign will enable me to pay my crew and rent the equipment we need to further this project.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

Apart from finishing up last-minute documents for filming, I am also currently in the process of reaching out to the local newspaper to cover my story and to help spread awareness. I also intend to add a few more rewards in the last week of the PledgeMe campaign – so keep an eye out!

Also, the crew and I will scream until our voices crack if we reach our target! Thanks in advance for bringing us this joy! We finish filming the night before my birthday, so I think a glass of wine and a few cakes will be in order.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

I just want to say how amazing these supporters are. It made me cry knowing that there are people out there who have suffered and want this story to get out. This shout out is for them. My other shout out is for my psychiatrist and my acting teacher. You’re both amazing and without you both, I would possibly still be in my house, dreading the day as it goes by. Thank you.

In the mood for some Cake? Head over to Olivia’s campaign page here

What's Up Wednesday

Te Kōtare – a project to make Jenny Shearer’s dream fly

Jenny was a early childhood teacher who had a dream that all children would grow up in Aotearoa feeling comfortable moving through their own world and the world of tangata whenua. Jenny passed away before this dream happened. We talk to her whanau about how they are now making this dream a reality through a PledgeMe campaign.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

My wife Jen had a really strong passion for teaching children te reo māori – she was  a pre-school teacher, and took great care to fulfill this part of the curriculum. When she became unwell the first time, she reconsidered her work, and took some more time to focus on the songs she had been writing and teaching the children at her pre school (Little Earth Montessori, on the Kāpiti Coast). She worked really hard with local Māori to be respectful to the language, and to local history. In particular, she worked a lot with Matiu Te Huki, who is something of a local legend (and an international one, in fact) to craft the songs and the lyrics – Matui teaches waiata to children all around the Kāpiti area, and was amazing help.

So, Jen’s dream, was that these waiata could contribute to the education of children, and giving them more tools to live bi-culturally. We are not Māori, neither was Jen, but we are pākehā, and  we think that it is very important to live in a bi-cultural way – that’s the deal, and we can only have better lives by doing that.

It’s clear that as a language, Māori has a huge disadvantage – in that it is not as widely used as it could be, or should be – but it has this great advantage also, it’s beautiful and interesting and fun to learn.  Jenny just wanted to play her part in spreading a bit of that around.  Because she died, before we could get them recorded, it’s important to us, to honour her dream, and get them to as wide an audience as possible.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Our crowd is quite interesting. Many many people came to Jenny’s funeral, you know, for an introvert, it was amazing just how many people were there and were affected by her passing. She was such an encourager to so many people. She died soon after we completed transcribing all the songs she had written, so many people knew about her dream.

PledgeMe seems to be a perfect way to follow up on that dream, and reach out to the various groups – her close and distant family, colleagues from the early childhood sector, old school friends, other parents. We are really seeing a great response from people with interest in early childhood and primary education, music, and te reo, which is just what we had hoped for!

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We are still in the process of polishing off some of the recordings, and we are working on the songs having some real Wellington love behind them – while they are all recorded, we are approaching a number of fabulous artists, people like Warren Maxwell, and Lisa Tomlins, Al Faser, who is known for his knowledge and expertise in taonga puoro – we’ll be polishing off the recordings with these folk too. And more animations of the songs, we are super excited about that!

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

Yes!  We are so grateful for the support of Matiu te Huki, for the reasons mentioned before. And also for Lee Prebble – we had a really fun day in his studio, where so many music legends have recorded, he has been so generous in his support for this project.

And to everyone who has pledged and contributed in many ways so far, or about to. Honouring Jen’s dream in this way is the best that any of us could do for her.

You can pledge to the Te Kōtare campaign here

What's Up Wednesday

Aroha for plant-based cuisine

Yingjie was inspired by the range of vegan and vegetarian restaurants she encountered on trips to Australia. So much so, that she has teamed up with her co-conspirer and cooking enthusiast, Silvia, to start a vegan-based restaurant in the heart of Wellington. From plant-based power bowls to epic mylkshakes, Aroha is set to please. Yingjie gives us some insight into the Aroha campaign.

Why do you think this campaign important?

Eating plant-based food is a lifestyle people choose to be healthier, as well as being environmentally and animal friendly. The opening of Aroha in central Wellington will definitely change the landscape of vegan eating. The food offered at Aroha will also cater for people who are non-vegans, we want to inspire non-vegans to try plant-based food.

Lunch at Aroha will provide a variety of options on grains, plant-based protein; plant-based meat, cooked and raw vegetables and vegan sauce to enhance flavour. Aroha will offer interesting vegetables like Wakame seaweed salad, Shiitake mushroom stripes, Wood Ear mushroom salad – foods that Mother Earth offers in bounty, waiting for us to explore!

This campaign is important because, with the support of our crowd, we can open Aroha and get off to a flying start in our mission to rally enthusiasm about vegan food in Wellington.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We appeal to the crowd to pledge anything from $5 towards our goal.

We have already invested over $240k to set up the business from scratch, after paying the design company, the equipment supplier, the trades people, we still need $20k to allow smooth cash flow running to the opening date on 20 February.

I have just resigned from my professional job in IT to fully dedicate my time to Aroha. This is not only because I want to follow my passion for plant-based food, but also for the positive impact on sustainability and animal welfare.

Together, we can make the world a better place. We believe our community will thrive when we help each other. That’s why we are offering our (delicious) food as rewards for your help.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

The construction work at Aroha will be completed on 5 February. We will then start our trial cooking to ensure everything works. We will publish some photos of Aroha then. Join our journey – check our pledgeme page, facebook page or our website for updates.  

We will also have a stall at the Vegan Vault Night Market this Saturday 3rd February at 171 Victoria Street. Please come along to taste our food!

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

We want to send our love and appreciation to everyone who had already pledged. For the people who are planning on pledging, we send you a huge pre-thank you!

We want to let our crowd know that we are committed to do our best to provide people in Wellington with delicious plant-based food!

Tummy grumbling at the sound of delicious plant-based food? Give Aroha some aroha here!

What's Up Wednesday

Car(e) for the Community Driving School

The Puketapapa Community Driving School see driver licences as an important passport to living in our current world. And when one stops to think about it, PCDS is absolutely right. A licence provides independence and a mode family transportation; it is a requirement for many jobs and can be a source of pride. We chat to the team behind PCDS to learn why they have launched a campaign to crowdfund for a second practice car.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

Almost half of New Zealanders sitting restricted driver licences are failing, with a lack of practice behind the wheel being blamed. Many people – especially those for whom English is not their first language – struggle to pass the theory and practical tests. We know that many learner drivers get stuck with their learner licence for many years because of a lack of mentors, a practice car and/or the means to pay for driving lessons.

So, after two years of tedious preparations in setting up our very own driving school, we successfully launched Puketapapa Community Driving School in December 2017 to make driver training more affordable and accessible to our communities.

To date, 35 learners started practical driving lessons. We have over 80 learner drivers on our waitlist, including almost 40 former refugees. But having only one practice car means that learners have to wait longer for available mentor and car at their preferred day and time. This campaign will help us to fund the purchase of a second practice car. 

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We appeal to our crowd to contribute from $5 towards our goal of getting another practice car so we can help more learners especially former refugees and young people who are at risk of getting caught by police when they drive with learner licence without a supervisor.  

One Somali mother who failed her restricted test five times expressed, “In Africa we don’t have to drive, but here in NZ you really have to especially if you have children.” A Burmese father, who failed his restricted test twice, is grateful to be able to practice and prepare better for his upcoming test with the help of PCDS.

The NZTA recommends at least 120 hours of practical driving experience for a learner driver to be prepared to sit restricted test. Getting another car will enable us to do more bookings and help more learners pass their restricted and full licence tests. We believe our community can thrive together, if we just help each other out through initiatives like PCDS. 

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

On Monday 5 February we will mark the two month anniversary of the launch of PCDS. Pledgers who donate $50 and above and share our campaign with the hashtag #DrivingYourSuccess can take up the opportunity of one free driving lesson. This is a great opportunity to get to know us and the work we are doing – with the support of you, our crowd! 

Anything else you would like to shout out to your crowd?

Book. Volunteer. Donate!

Please help spread the word about our campaign and keep telling friends that by booking through PCDS, not only do they gain expert advice and support, but will also support young people, new migrants, ethnic women and resettled communities (former refugees) gain their driver licence. 100% of our profits will be used to subsidise their learner driver training and licensing.

If you are really interested, we would love you to colunteer to help a young person, new migrant or former refugee learn to drive. With the help of volunteer driver mentors we are able to offer subsidised training to young people, new migrants, ethnic women and resettled communities (former refugees).  

Right now though, PCDS needs all the help we can get to support those who find it the hardest to gain their drivers licence. If you can give up one fancy coffee or lunch, and instead pledge $5 or more to our campaign, we promise you will have a happy heart in the knowledge that you are helping someone gain a very important skill that will make a huge difference to their daily life. 

To help more people like Hakim and Ramzan Bibi (pic, above) to go through the Puketapapa Community Driving School, donate to their page here

What's Up Wednesday

All Bi Myself wants you to join Mia’s journey

All Bi Myself is a web series about Mia, a 22 year old female who comes out as bisexual to her family and church. With two great episodes already produced, All Bi Myself needs your help to fund the rest of the series.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

This campaign is important because it represents someone who we simply do not see in the media. We have found that bisexuality too often misses out – both in mainstream media and in the LGBT community. All Bi Myself aims to fill that gap – we want people to see themselves in a character like Mia (the star character in our web series).

Everyone involved in the campaign is doing this as a passion project. We’re not out to make money but we do need funding to pull it all off!

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We were actually inspired by ‘PSUSY’ – a NZ web series that prides itself as showcasing “flawed and gross” women. It launched a PledgeMe campaign in 2017. We are big fans of the team behind PSUSY and were inspired to also use PledgeMe as an alternative to funding.

We love the idea of getting our whole fanbase involved. It is awesome to know that people who enjoyed episodes one and two want to get behind us as we make the rest of the episodes in season one. We also love that we can offer our crowd rewards for supporting us, rather than simply asking for money.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

Within our crowd is a fantastic posse of small businesses who have approached us to ask if they can donate in kind to our cause rather than giving us money. The great news is that it means we have some pretty cool rewards to pass onto our pledgers! So we definitely recommend keeping an eye on our PledgeMe page and our Facebook page as we have a few more surprise incentives to give away.

And since we are part of the film community, we are planning to thank our community for its support by releasing a ‘behind the scenes’ bloopers reel when we reach our goal. And we also have some pretty great rewards – the the opportunity to have your name on the credits of our episodes!

Finally, we will be hosting a bit of a countdown in the countdown to the close of our campaign. We would love our crowd from across New Zealand to join us by jumping onto the live stream on our Facebook page.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

We want to send our unwavering and undying love and appreciation to everyone who has already pledged. As for the people who are planning on pledging, we send you a huge pre-thank you!

It is great to know that art can be created in new and different ways. We are all so excited to reach our goal, but to do so we need your help.

– Xoxo, AMB squad

Can’t wait for the rest of the All Bi Myself episodes to come out? Jump onto their PledgeMe page to pledge your support!

What's Up Wednesday

Making Wildfires with Jenny Mitchell

Jenny Mitchell is a folk-country songwriter hailing from the Deep South. She crowdfunded her first album with PledgeMe when she was just 15! Now, she’s back (just in time for Christmas!), calling on her crowd to help her produce a new album called ‘Wildfires’.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

This is actually the second time I have crowdfunded an album. I was a bit nervous before I launched because I wasn’t sure how people would react. But from the start, my crowd has been really supportive. They understand why I am crowdfunding: making music independently is hard!

My last album has taken me to some amazing places and I’m so grateful for that journey. However, I do feel that I’m now really confident in my musical skin and know the artist I want to be and the music I want to create. I’m so lucky to be working with one of Australia’s best producers and I can promise that I couldn’t be more proud of every word in Wildfires. Hence why I’m so excited to release it!

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

I was only 15 when I released my first album. I didn’t have a plan about what the future might look like at that time. But three years down the track, I’m ready. I have had so many experiences and opportunities in music since releasing my first album. This is an opportunity to show my crowd how much I have learnt about crafting songs and everything that goes with that – the lyrics, the music, and the feelings they evoke.

I’m really passionate about the songs I have created for this album, and the possibility of sharing that passion with my crowd is definitely a driving factor behind this campaign. And the best thing is that I have had so many people jump on board since I launched the campaign. I would love to see my crowd grow even more, as every single pledge goes to funding just half the cost of my album.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

My favourite reward is the $40 ‘All Access Pass’ that I devised when I was trying to think of rewards that I would want to pledge on. Basically the Pass gives you access to a secret Facebook group where I post exclusive behind the scenes content – like the first draft of my album cover. There is something new each day. It is where I will first release the album track list, videos of my song recordings in the studio, and sneak peeks of what it is like backstage at my gigs. I love this reward because my crowd is invited on my journey of making the music they love to listen to.

When I was planning my campaign, I knew that rewards should be valuable; something I would want to buy. This is the fortunate side effect of being a crowdfunding alum! I have tried to create some exciting rewards for my Gore/Southland-based crowd that include live concerts and tickets to locally held gigs like the NZ Country Music Awards. Other rewards can be sent anywhere in New Zealand, like a gift box where everything is handpicked by me. I’ve tried to make everything personal for my crowd, so please check it out!

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

At the moment I am actually in Ireland. The time difference means that pledges come in while I’m asleep. It is so exciting to wake up to notifications from my awesome crowd! I am so lucky to have a great partner-in-crime, Katie, who has been holding the (campaign) fort while I am away.

As I mentioned, I was feeling nervous before I launched this campaign but every pledge that comes in makes me feel more and more excited. My crowd wants to invest and me and what I have been working on – so definitely want to shout out to everyone who has pledged so far! It has been so interesting to see who has supported me – new friends from my first year of uni who don’t have much money but still want to help me; old time supporters; and total strangers – these people blow my mind!

My final shout-out is to those in my crowd who might not have gotten around to pledging, or know someone who might be interested. My campaign finishes on Sunday and I would love to for us to invest in Wildfires, together.

To treat your ears to some excellent country-folk music, jump onto Jenny’s campaign page here

What's Up Wednesday

The Dukes of Sandwich

The Dukes of Sandwich first grew legs in Christchurch. While the Dukes’ home is now in Welly, the duo behind the scene – Laura and Rob – have their eyes set on returning to the great (sandwich-hungry) people of Christchurch for the Buskers Festival in January 2018.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

Christchurch has been through some rough times in recent years. We had reason to move to Christchurch for an organic horticulture course but when the earthquakes happened we definitely thought twice. We decided that it would be an exciting transitional time for the city and came anyway. We watched as so much of what was left was taken down around us over the next few years

It was a low time for a lot of people. Yet we started to see new life, ideas and business ventures pop up in the cracks left behind by the quakes. These early start-ups were instigated by people who often had more passion than money, not your typical business owner, who never would have gotten the opportunity in other circumstances.

The Dukes of Sandwich was one of these start-ups. The idea behind Dukes and others like it succeeded because of the love and support of from various organisations, a growing new entrepreneurial community and the population of Christchurch.

This campaign is important because it is a thank you tour to all our friends, supporters, suppliers, and sandwich appreciators in Christchurch who helped make the Dukes of Sandwich what it is today.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

The people of Christchurch kept asking if we would come back and letting us know they miss us. We thought that was pretty sweet but never seriously considered it. After all, it would be a pretty high cost to move it! When we discovered how crowdfunding actually works we realised we could negate the risk of the venture by pre-selling our pretty cool goodies. Suddenly this crazy idea to return to Christchurch didn’t seem so crazy after all – thanks to the support of our crowd.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

Keep an eye out because we have a couple of new rewards in the works. To let you in on the secret, one is Rob’s “behind the scenes” hot sauce. It’s that sauce in the recycled bottle with no label that you get if you want to add a bit of spice to your sammie!

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

As one of our pledgers commented, “think of it as an investment as opposed to a donation. You don’t just get something for the money you pledge, you get the guarantee that you will actually get that sandwich with all that Dukes goodness.”

We also want to shout out to all the pledgers so far… I believe we can do this! We need you to help spread the word so keep on sharing it around

One final thing: this campaign is not just for the Christchurch folk. Our Welly region supporters have made us so welcome. We would love you to continue that support and pledge on this campaign (and of course the same rewards apply!).

Finally, thanks to everyone who’s had one of our sandwiches – and especially the ones who come back to tell us how they felt about it. That’s really important to us!

To get a taste of what Duke’s is all about, check out their campaign here.

What's Up Wednesday

Unlocking potential with the Kilmarnock Academy

Kilmarnock Enterprises believes in a world that values diversity. It is changing attitudes towards disability through education, employment, and opportunity. It has just launched a campaign that is going full throttle on its social mission of empowering people with disabilities to lead purposeful and dignified lives: the Kilmarnock Academy.

People with an intellectual disability will come out the other side of the Academy with NZQA qualifications, empowering them to find purposeful employment and a valued place in the community. Want to know more? We did too, so read on!

Why do you think this campaign is important?

We know that a lot of people with disabilities are not getting the same opportunities for education and employment as others. A lot of disabled people are leaving school with no option for further education that will suit their style of learning.

Through our campaign, we are opening up the opportunity for us – and our community – to cut to the root of this problem. We take a hands-on practical approach to helping our students develop work readiness and gain NZQA qualifications.

We ran a pilot of this programme and were so blown away by its success that we had to do more. We realised that we have a unique environment that sets us, and our students, up for success. At the start, a lot of our employees felt failed by the education system and didn’t want to get involved. It was amazing and humbling to see those very people go through the programme and come out the other side buzzing.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

We have spent the last three years putting a lot of energy into engaging with our community. This has included working to brand what and who we are in connection with our crowd and gathering support and feedback along the way. We recently built a new Basecamp which in itself happened entirely with the support of our crowd.

We have taken courage from all this support to create an opportunity for our supporters to get involved. We have had so many people telling us they really want to back us. We really value this, but it hasn’t been the right time to take up those offers as we have been focused on using our commercial arm to leverage social impact. Now, the time is right to give our crowd a chance to build something meaningful with us.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We have a few awesome rewards! We have flights to Fiji up for grabs. Every single person who pledges over $50 and shares on social media with the tag #kilmarnockacademy goes into the draw to win return flights to Fiji for two.

We also have a ‘Wonderful Wine Lucky Dip’ reward for people who love good, South Island wine. A Black Estate 2014 Pinot Noir, anyone?!

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

We would love you to join us in building up Kilmarnock Academy! We are genuinely making a difference to people’s lives by taking them through an education programme that works for them. By pledging to this campaign you are directly changing someone’s life. You are giving them the opportunity and confidence to lift up their lives in a way that hasn’t been possible before.

Success breeds success, and this is exactly what we have seen in our pilot. We had one lady who was practically ready to run in the opposite direction when we suggested she be part of our second cohort. School had failed her, and she didn’t want to go through a similar experience. We managed to get her onboard. Now, halfway through her NZQA Level One she is already saying she wants to go for Level Two.

So many of these wonderful people have been told all their life they can’t. By pledging, you are showing them that they can.

Show the Kilmarnock community that they can by pledging to the campaign here.