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Surrogate Grandparent Startup Launches

Surrogate Grandparent Startup Launches
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 28th of June 2017

A new startup has launched with a PledgeMe campaign, in a bid to offer grandparent adoption services to families throughout New Zealand.

Surrogate Grandparents is a non-profit which connects families with surrogate grandparents in order to forge lasting friendships and family bonds. .

The venture is being launched by Auckland single mother-of-two, Jo Hayes, who wanted a step in grandparent for her children after moving to New Zealand from the UK 13 years ago.

“I felt so isolated from my parents on the other side of the world and knew my children were missing out on that special relationship kids have with their grandparents,” Jo says.

“So I adopted a friend’s mother to be a surrogate grandparent to my children and stand-in mother to me. It’s been amazing so I wanted to help others make the same connection!”

Although they’re referred to as “grandparents,” those connected to families don’t technically need to be grandparents; just people who want to spend time with families and children. All applicants are police checked before they’re approved.

Surrogate Grandparents has launched the PledgeMe campaign with the a goal of raising $20,000 which will help it to build a platform that enables families to connect with a surrogate grandparent so that both parties can benefit from each other’s company. Jo hopes Surrogate Grandparents can help to alleviate what has been described as “endemic” levels of loneliness among elderly, with almost half of New Zealand's elderly saying they feel lonely.

“Loneliness has been shown to be as bad for health as smoking is,” Jo says.

“I’ve felt lonely while still being relatively young and mobile, so I’d hate to experience it later on in life. It really pains me to think that there are elderly people in New Zealand who have next to no human contact, and I think Surrogate Grandparents will be a brilliant way for them to connect with loving families on a regular basis.”

It’s not just the benefits of company that both the surrogate grandparents and adoptive families get; there’s also a wealth of teaching and learning opportunities. For example, Jo’s “granny” is teaching her and her family how to knit.

“And there are plenty of elderly people out there who would be grateful to have lessons from a young whizz to learn a thing or two about using computers,” Jo says.

Jo hopes Surrogate Grandparents will grow to having thousands in its network by the end of the year and may look to expanding the service overseas if the model works well here.

For now, she is the only person driving the non-profit but is in the process of registering it as a Charitable Trust, after which she will have three more board members and trustees joining her.


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