Hamilton YMCA runs one of the country's biggest after-school care programmes, which has won a sought-after award for its efforts.

The YMCA won the Outstanding Children's Services Award at the organisation's Auckland AGM earlier this month.

The Hamilton OSCAR scheme provides eight after school, five before school and nine school holiday programmes all over the city and partners with 22 different schools.

Providing after school care for around 450 students, Hamilton's OSCAR is considered by the YMCA to be one of the largest out-of-school care programmes in the country.


"We treat each child like our own while they're in our care. Not every parent has the choice to go to back to work so we want to make sure that their children are well-supported," says deputy centre manager for the YMCA in Pembroke Street, Monique Farrant.

Since 2015, the award has been given out each year to an Auckland or Hamilton branch that has shown the best interactions with children, the greatest staff and the overall best out-of-school (OSCAR) programme.

Monique won the award in its first year, but felt that she couldn't do it without her team, especially as her role became more and more about sitting behind a desk.

This played a huge part in her team of 50 being nominated this time around, and she is gratified to see them getting the recognition that they deserve.

"They're the heart and soul of the organisation."

This is only a sign of things to come, according to centre manager Graeme Mead, as the YMCA looks to the future.

"The Y now employs over 80 staff in Hamilton and is still continuing to grow and, as a charity, returns any surpluses to the community by way of assistance programmes and support to those who might need fitness and health support," Mead said.

More than 10,000 visitors, both new and returning, come to the Pembroke Street centre every month for the programmes.