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Big-Hearted Builder to Help Little Harry Thanks to Grant


Cromwell-based builder Derek Craig is a man on a mission to help 3-year old Harry Finch walk independently, and thanks to a $25,000 Working Bee grant from the newly-formed PlaceMakers Foundation, every swing of Derek’s hammer will benefit Harry’s fund.

Born with cerebral palsy, Dunedin youngster Harry Finch has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy in his leg muscles, making walking a very difficult and sometimes painful challenge. Recently accepted for life-changing surgery at St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, Harry’s family must raise $150,000 to fund the trip and surgery, in the hope that Harry will have the best possible chance to walk, play and live life to the fullest.

Moved by Harry’s situation, and keen to make a practical and positive difference to the fundraising efforts of the Finch family, Derek has rallied his community and other tradies to help build two container houses which will be sold and profits donated to the Finch family. An application for a $25,000 PlaceMakers Working Bee grant has paid off for Derek, with his project awarded the first ever grant, selected from four finalists and over 40 submissions by a panel of Trustees and PlaceMakers store staff.

The PlaceMakers Working Bee grant has left Mr Craig feeling blown away with emotion, knowing that he can now donate the full estimated sale amount of $95,000 for the two container houses to the Finch family.

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“I’m just so thrilled that now we can donate every dollar we make to Harry and his family, without having to worry about finding extra money to pay for materials, it really takes the pressure off so that I can focus on making these container houses awesome” said Mr Craig. “When I first heard about Harry I just couldn’t get it out of my head and I was determined to put my skills to good use, and it’s been incredible how many other contractors and suppliers, and now this amazing grant, have helped bring this dream to life.”

The newly-formed PlaceMakers Foundation combines charitable giving, the skills of PlaceMakers’ own staff and customers, and all available resources to help make a lasting difference in communities around the country. From a helping hand for local groups to bringing major projects to fruition through the Working Bee programme, the goal of the PlaceMakers Foundation is to make a change and together build a better New Zealand.

Bruce McEwen, PlaceMakers Chief Executive, said the opportunity to have a positive, tangible impact through the PlaceMakers Foundation is a true expression of the connection that the 2,400 PlaceMakers people have with the communities they serve.

“We think the PlaceMakers Foundation is a great way to contribute to our neighbours, communities and Kiwis from all walks of life, by bringing together our people, products and passion to make a difference within our community,” said Mr McEwen. “I think Derek’s vision to help the Finch family is fantastic and we are thrilled to be part of this project as the first PlaceMakers Working Bee grant recipient.”

“As well as our Working Bee programme, each of our stores will fundraise continually to contribute towards local groups, teams and organisations seeking support. It’s this kind of ‘leg up’ that can make all the difference when it comes to achieving a goal that has positive ripples throughout a community.”

The two container houses are currently under construction in Cromwell and will be on public display in June where the finishing touches will be made and a family festival is planned. One 40ft container house features a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom while the other 20ft container can be used as a wing, with two bedrooms.

Applications are now open for the next Working Bee grant - go to to put forward a community project for consideration.


About the PlaceMakers Foundation

For nearly forty years, PlaceMakers has been helping Kiwis build homes with ingenuity and expertise. Through our people, our products and our customers we have an undeniable ambition to change for the better, all of the communities in which we belong.

The PlaceMakers Foundation is the culmination of our heritage. It combines our charitable giving, the skills of our people and customers, and all of our resources to help make a lasting difference. From a helping hand for local groups to bringing major projects to fruition through our Working Bee programme, we’re making a change and together building a better New Zealand.

About the PlaceMakers Foundation Working Bee grants

Communities around the country thrive on facilities that bring them together. Sharing sports, hobbies, cultures and activities is how we grow stronger neighbourhoods, towns and cities, yet sometimes great plans struggle to get lift-off or simply fizzle out.

The PlaceMakers Working Bee programme provides expertise, materials and project management for special ideas where an entire community will benefit from the creation or betterment of a local facility. Our entire team gets behind the programme, from selecting the recipient right through to rolling up our sleeves and helping make it happen. Together we’re building New Zealand and proud of it!

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