Louise Burnie-Allnutt - Westfield Local Heroes 2020
Supporting children in care
Foster Hope Charitable Trust
Thoughtful. Committed. Caring.
Louise Burnie-Allnutt brings joy and comfort to children entering foster care.
She founded the Foster Hope Charitable Trust to provide the children with a backpack full of essentials that give a little bit of light and excitement at an extremely traumatic time.
Many children enter care with only the clothes on their back, so Louise makes sure they have items such as underwear, a soft toy, a book and, in some cases, a quilt to help ease the transition into care.
At times, the children express sheer joy when they realise they have their own toothbrush and don't have to share.
Louise says: “I believe that every child in foster care deserves to know that their community cares about them. Something as simple as a backpack, can have a profound impact on a child when they find out that it's been made for them by a complete stranger”
She had to use her ingenuity to get Foster Hope off the ground as Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Children) initially wasn't convinced that she could help.
She used her business networking skills to reach someone higher up in the ministry who encouraged the idea.
Foster Hope now has eight branches around New Zealand.
"I grew up in a family which had a huge focus on helping others and get a real kick out of it," Louise says.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. The Foster Hope Charitable Trust will use its grant to buy backpacks.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here