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We are a proud supporter of the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC)

27 March 2019

Andrew Crosby, Vice GM at Universal Homes said “Our sales consultant for Long Bay at the time suggested that since we were a substantial home provider and bringing lots of new families into the area, that MERC might be an organisation that we should support. Andrew went for a visit, not sure what to expect and was excited by what he saw. MERC runs short-stay confidence and skill programmes with a marine focus for school kids across Auckland and beyond. This includes support for those disadvantaged kids in a bit of need, who normally would not have the resources to come to such a centre. When looking around, there was a group from Pukekohe just about to get in the boats – and ironically, we were just about to launch a project in Pukekohe. So, for us, the range of MERC, throughout greater Auckland fits us as an Auckland wider provider of homes primarily for families with kids. Since we are active in many coastal subdivisions, Long Bay, Millwater, Red Beach and Hobsonville for example then the marine aspect is complimentary. We decided to make a modest donation immediately and expand our relationship into 2018.”

Yuin, the General Manager of MERC highlighted the importance of the accommodation block. “The centre’s accommodation is essentially a home for the 15,000 kids that come through the facility each year. The ability to provide these children with a comfortable night’s sleep to recharge their batteries in preparation for another day of activities is key to ensuring a good experience and promote a healthy lifestyle. To have an organisation like Universal Homes supporting what we do would enhance our ability to make an impact with these young people.”

Andrew continued “supporting that facility in a much more impactful way is something we will be approaching our suppliers about in 2018. At the end of the day, we don’t do much sponsorship and try to not be too flashy, so we choose our partners carefully. Education has been something we have supported in the past, but when you throw in the innovative things MERC are doing, for families from diverse backgrounds, then it’s a great fit. We look forward to working to help MERC in the future. I would encourage all to check out what they do, see the video here and donate – on their give-a-little page - click here".

Late last year we teamed up with some of our key supply partners to do our little bit for this great organisation once again. Special thanks has to be given to James Hardie, PlaceMakers Albany and Wattyl Paints who all came on board and contributed in 2018. The money went towards purchasing some very cool paddleboards for the kids. An action shot of one in use as shown above on its maiden voyage with leaders and a couple of the kids we invited down to test one out.

We were truly thrilled to have these great companies assisting us to build great memories at this worthwhile facility, other than just helping us build Universal homes. We asked them to comment on what it meant to them.

Andrew Crosby (Universal Homes), Troy Spence (James Hardie), Greg Johnson (Wattyl Paints),
Damijan Kovacic (PlaceMakers Albany)
and Yuin Khai Foong (MERC).

James Hardie
Troy – “It was incredibly enlightening to walk around the facilities and see the level of excitement and genuine interest from the children enjoying it. To think that each year more than 15,000 visitors get to pass through this centre and have such a fantastic experience makes MERC an organisation we are pleased to be able to support.”

PlaceMakers Albany
Damijan – “What a wonderful team and facility at the MERC Centre! We at PlaceMakers Albany feel so very privileged to be a part of this youth developing and environmentally focused organisation.”

Wattyl Paints
Greg – “We here at Wattyl Paints feel extremely honoured and proud to be involved with MERC! It was a pleasure being shown around the facilities by such a passionate person in Yuin, and to see the joy and excitement on all the children's faces was priceless. Thank you for this opportunity and it’s a pleasure to be a part of this true Kiwi success story.”

A final word from Yuin, GM of MERC – “We are delighted to have these companies on board to support us. Support like this enables us to provide MERC experiences with as low as possible financial contribution from participants. As a home to 15,000 people per year, having support from this industry is vital to the long-term viability of the centre.” View our video here.

Universal Homes would like to thank our supply partners once again for their contributions and look forward to working with everyone involved in the future.  We have kick started 2019 with another donation and welcome other supply partners to join in. Long Bay as a destination has so much to offer people and this little piece of paradise is just another coastal gem amongst it.

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