Partner profile: Kennards Hire Foundation

Our Place has welcomed Kennards Hire Foundation as a philanthropic partner and member of its Philanthropic Alliance to support Our Place Northern Bay in Corio, Greater Geelong.

The funding will support the work of the Partnership Manager and Community Facilitators at Northern Bay, based at the Our Place site which brings together the P-8 Northern Bay College Wexford Campus and Korayn Birralee Family Centre with early learning, Maternal and Child Health, services, playgroups, and parenting programs.

Kennards Hire Foundation is the family foundation of the family-owned and operated equipment hire business Kennards Hire, located across Australian and New Zealand, and has recently celebrated the opening of its 200th branch in Morwell, Gippsland.

The foundation is proudly led by Kennard family members with a vison to make Australia and New Zealand better places for future generations. It is focused on significantly improving the ability of young people experiencing disadvantage to be independent and self -sufficient contributors to society.

Executive Director Kennards Hire Foundation and Kennards family member Kirsty Kovacs said Our Place first came to the Foundation’s attention following an invitation from the Dusseldorp Forum, an Our Place philanthropic partner, to visit the inaugural site at Doveton College.

“It was just amazing to see what was being achieved at Doveton College as the pilot location. We really liked the holistic, early intervention model, connecting the community to the school and health services, early learning and play, adult education, and everything else. It is long-term support and connection for families and community, and that longevity is really important for us as a Foundation.”

Kirsty Kovacs

Kirsty said the leadership that Our Place is taking in creating change in communities through the local school was also important to the Foundation.

“We like the fact that Our Place is trying to do systemic change, to produce the evidence to the government to hopefully validate and actually justify them to do it themselves across more schools,” Kirsty said.

The level of engagement from the families at Doveton College, who were using the spaces and participating in the programs facilitated by Our Place, also struck a chord with the Foundation.

“You could see the connection to community and what was nice was seeing the comfort of the parents in being in that space and them being more willing and wanting to volunteer, and therefore being more engaged – and their engagement brings kids’ engagement.”

The opportunity to support the Our Place Northern Bay site, which opened in January 2020 as a purpose-built hub, was welcomed by the Kennards Hire Foundation who have a presence in the local community with two Kennards Hire branches across Greater Geelong.

“What we could see at Northern Bay was the opportunity, the eagerness by the school principal to participate, and his excitement about Our Place and being part of that model. We feel that’s there’s significant systemic change happening, and we look forward to our journey with Our Place and seeing all the evidence, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, in proving the need and the value of the community hub.”

Kirsty Kovacs

As part of the partnership, local Kennards branch staff will be given the opportunity to visit Northern Bay and build connections with the Our Place team.

“The goal would be that there’s connection in terms of what our local team can do to support Our Place, because that’s what they’d love to do,” Kirsty said.

“We look forward to our journey with Our Place and seeing all the evidence, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, in proving the need and the value of the community hub model.”

Further examples of Kennards Hire Foundation’s important work can be found at Kennards Hire Foundation