Updated: Sep 8
Chairman, Steve Senn's, report over the 12 months, coping with Covid restrictions, the excitement of new premises and progressing HRF up a gear
The past twelve months have brought much change to Hope Rising Farm. Starting with the continuation of COVID lockdown measures, mandates and a change in direction with regard to program participants, given schools had to largely disengage from any offsite activities. During the times we could not run programs, the staff continued to care for the animals and work on developing new program material and as part of that activity an external consultant was engaged by the board to lead the process of developing a new comprehensive strategic plan, which was delivered in October.
Going through the process has helped to clarify the organisations direction, order of priorities and the milestones we will need to achieve in order to fulfil the vision of delivering lasting change to vulnerable youth and women in the Waikato.
New Farm Venue
The month of February generated much excitement with the prospect of moving to a new 25acre property purchased specifically for Hope Rising Farms use. This was the welcome culmination of a long three-year search, while CYC graciously extended HRF’s stay! With a clear exit date of mid-June, a lot of work needed to be accomplished before the new property would be suitable to run programs; all the while simultaneously running a tandem project of removing all HRF equipment, fences, materials, troughs, sheds, barns etc from the old site. This was a major undertaking given programs were paused at the end of May and needed to be up and running for the beginning of term in late July. In amongst this, multiple contractors organised to carry out earthworks (in March) failed to make site for a number of reasons… Alternative arrangements finally materialised some months later with loaned equipment and borrowed operators to deliver what was needed and all just before one of the wettest Waikato winters on record!
In addition to staff working long hours, I would like to acknowledge the amazing members for the public, volunteers, contractors and businesses and charitable organisations like Rotary, Mobile Mission Maintenance that came together to put literary hundreds of hours into exiting CYC while upgrading the barn/stable complex, fencing, and grounds. There was no way HRF on its own could have got over the line what needed to be done in the available time frame. We remain humbled by the hard mahi put in by our dedicated community of helpers. In addition to helping hands, fundraising has continued to be a strong focus of the team, as NGOs, private trusts and individuals continue to make up the majority of the funding sources and we are extremely grateful for the continued provision of our funders who this year have stepped up further to meet the needs of the organisation as it changes up a gear!
On that note It is especially sad to say our goodbyes to our fantastic Operations Manager Jean Van Zweeden who having dedicated over two years to taking the organisations systems, funding and management to the next level; officially handing over the rein’s (pun intended) in June to our new OM and trustee Alan Kuyper and we welcome and extend our thanks to Alan for stepping up to the plate.
Furthermore, Rachel Ralph our founder was recently honoured by Volunteering Waikato for Her tireless service to the community by winning the Volunteer of the Year award, a fantastic achievement and a pleasure to see Rachel honoured in this way for all the time, sacrifice and effort of the past ten years!
The board has continued to meet regularly to keep abreast of the many decisions that needed to be made during the transition and are looking forward to getting back into a regular routine as we build out HRF’s capacity with stage two of the new farm development, while keeping front of mind that our efforts are focused towards better serving the needs of our communities most vulnerable. On behalf of the board and staff we thank you for your time, attention and support and are looking forward to the coming year of delivering positive change.
Hope Rising Farm Charitable Trust CC49073