For a few years now, Sentinel Homes’ amazing franchisees have been building and selling homes, then handing over the profit to Kiwi charity Parenting Place. We’ve been able to make some good donations, but nothing has come close to the six-figure profit made from the most recent sale in Wellington.
Parenting Place CEO Greg Fleming says the result is outstanding and will make a huge difference to the charity’s work in supporting families. They help parents through the first 2000 days of a child’s life, provide talks to young people in schools about positive life choices, and run courses, events and coaching sessions for struggling parents.
Greg says the donation will go straight into providing practical help, advice and inspiration. “This donation will single-handedly allow over 300 families to go through our six-week Toolbox parenting programme. In addition, this will help us keep our direct family coaching free for those who would otherwise struggle to pay.”
Greg calls the charity home scheme “beautiful” because each house is helping Kiwi families on two levels – it’s providing a high-quality, affordable home for the buyers, and it’s also helping Parenting Place support families all over New Zealand. “The main aim is to see increased quality of relationships between parents and children,” explains Greg. “We want to make sure every child in New Zealand is deeply loved and deeply seen.” So, when Stu Shutt, Sentinel Homes managing director, came up with the idea, Greg jumped at it.
“They could have just invested company profits, but building a new home is way better,” says Greg. “You get tens of thousands of dollars to help families go through programmes, and in the process, you’re doing one of the coolest things you can for a family, which is, create a home for them. I love it.”
“We want to do more than just build houses,” says Stu. “We want to help society get better. We’ve got the vehicle to do something, so we want to do it.”
Supporting Parenting Place makes perfect sense to Sentinel Homes. Most of the team are parents, and know the difference that good support can make. They also believe that investing in children now is the best way of creating the New Zealand we want. Greg agrees, saying that without support, parents often end up passing down their dysfunction.
“It’s not because parents didn’t want to do the best by their kids. It’s just they themselves haven’t sorted out their issues,” he says. “It’s relatively simple to offer timely advice and input to literally change those cycles. That’s what we see all the time – it’s such a treat to do this for a job. I have to pinch myself some days.”
The charity home in Aotea, a new development near Porirua, is generously proportioned at 200m2, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a big garage. “It’s the most beautiful Sentinel family home. It’s high-spec, like all of Sentinel’s work – and affordable. I’m very excited about the family who get to grow in it,” says Greg.
The fast-growing area is part of what made the sale price so impressive, and it’s hoped that the same will be repeated soon in Wanaka when the next charity home goes on sale. “Wanaka over the last five years has grown from a holiday destination to a thriving community, especially since Queenstown has become so unaffordable for many families.”
The charity homes scheme wouldn’t happen without the passion and support of the franchisees who build these houses at cost.
The Porirua home was built by Hayden and Kylie Rau, Sentinel Homes’ Wellington and Kāpiti franchise owners. “We saw it as an amazing opportunity to help out Kiwi families,” says Hayden. “We went out to our subcontractors and they were happy to contribute too. Part of why we managed to get such a good profit was because of the suppliers getting in behind the project. It was really cool.”
Stu thinks the success of the scheme shows that the Sentinel Homes team is filled with the right kind of people. “It says good things about our culture, that people are so ready to help, which is really cool. They just had to get involved and that means a lot. It’s a lot of work to pull this off,” he says. Greg agrees – he’s so grateful to Sentinel Homes and their franchisees. “They’re throwing in all the work and the downstream effect on NZ society is massive,” he says.
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