Kai and Christmas cheer for Haeata tamariki30 November 2023
900 sausages hit the grill at Haeata Community Campus on Tuesday as kaimahi from across Switched On Group brought kai and Christmas cheer to tamariki and their whānau. The initiative supported the first Haeata athletics day for primary-aged students and was a chance for Switched On Housing to connect with people they support through housing maintenance in East Christchurch.
Near 350 students, plus family members, visited the Switched On BBQ trailer as one of their athletics day stations, taking time out from competing to enjoy kai, a cheeky kōrero and some laughs with the teams manning the grill. Some of the tamariki even got involved with saucing the sausies before handing them out to their peers – complete with Christmas aprons and a silly hat or two.
Delivery Manager Greg McKeeman says that initiative was set up by Switched On Group to enhance relationships with whānau who live in Kāinga Ora properties and to provide some kai and fun in the lead up to the holidays.
“The whānau we meet on the job face a variety of challenges and it was great to be able to give back through the simple act of sharing kai and supporting an event that tamariki and whānau were proud to be part of at their local school.
By being more present in our community we can create positive experiences with our customers and help to ensure we are welcomed into homes when we do our local maintenance work. People need to feel comfortable with us in their spaces, and the more we can connect with them, the better.”
The event provided a unique opportunity for Switched On Group’s people who are often behind-the-scenes to have kanohi-ki-te-kanohi time with the people they work so hard to support. Customer Coordinators, trades, shared services team members and kaimahi from across Switched On Housing and Switched On Building Solutions came together to help the Haeata hāpori.
The feedback from the tamariki and the school on the day was a heart-warming reminder of the positive impact our kaimahi involved with housing maintenance have in their community.
The following day, Switched On donated the leftover loaves of bread, sausages and onions to the Christchurch City Mission for use at their Men’s Day Programme and emergency accommodation. This donation ensured that none of the pre-buttered bread went to waste and that the team could spread some extra Christmas cheer.
Switched On Group’s business units regularly hold BBQ events to support school and community kaupapa, including fundraising initiatives to provide access to extracurricular activities for tamariki and their whānau who face cost-barriers. Recent events were held in Wairoa, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay to support local hāpori and fundraisers, including partnership events with Kāinga Ora.
Community contribution is central to Switched On’s mahi across Aotearoa and the Group is committed to enhancing the experiences of kaimahi, clients and communities through its work.