Idea which “clicked” with 11-year-old while acting on stage helps struggling families.

Auckland schoolgirl Hayley Minturn had no idea her role in a famous Broadway show when she was 11 would change not only her life, but also those of many of the city's needy and homeless.

In the six years since, Hayley has largely single-handedly set about collecting and distributing warm blankets, linen and towels to young families unable to afford them. She estimates she has given well over 2000 individual items for the beds of the needy.

Her efforts have been recognised by the ASB who have named her an ASB Good as Gold recipient, giving her $10,000 to help her continue her work.

"For an eleven-year-old to set up a charity dedicated to helping those in need is an amazing feat, and shows a level of selflessness that is worth rewarding," says ASB central Auckland regional manager Jason Marsh. "We hope this money helps her continue the amazing work she is doing."


But how did it all start? Hayley is now 16 and a Year 12 student at St Cuthbert's College in Epsom. Back in 2014, she successfully auditioned to play the character Tessie in the musical Annie on stage at Auckland's Civic Theatre.

Annie is the story of a girl dreaming of life out of the orphanage and Hayley played the part of Tessie, one of Annie's friends and a girl with a reputation as the cry baby of the orphanage.

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"I was on stage with a blanket wrapped around me," Hayley recalls. "It was a particularly cold winter that year and I started to think about how, in reality, so many children and families must feel the cold too - because they don't have enough blankets.

"I suddenly clicked. I realised how lucky I was to have warm bedding at night and it just came to me to get out and collect blankets for those less fortunate."

Hayley set aside $300-$400 of her first earnings from the show - a professional UK stage presentation that ran in Auckland for about three weeks - and headed to the Warehouse to buy blankets.

She called her initiative Blankets on Beds (BOB) and began approaching charity organisations for help with identifying those in need. She has worked with the Tamaki Community Trust and Presbyterian Support Services, but most of her time has been with the De Paul House Emergency Housing and Family Support Services based in Northcote.

Jan Rutledge, the manager at the De Paul House who nominated Hayley for the ASB award, says: "her level of empathy in one so young is extraordinary. It would be so easy for someone to live in their own little bubble, but it's a lot harder to reach out and do the hard mahi like Hayley has."


Rutledge says the bedding supplied by BOB has had an extremely tangible impact and has helped support an average of 94 beds every three months.

Hayley says she has had a lot of help. Her Mum and Dad, Julie and Andrew, brother Kevin and sister Christine have all chipped in as have her school colleagues through the annual BOB appeal and collection at St Cuthberts.

Other friends, family and neighbours have contributed and recently Hayley has received support from a number of businesses.

"I am very grateful to every person out there who has donated to BOB," says Hayley.

"Without their support it would never have been possible.

"I am very passionate about this. I want to make a difference in people's lives and let them know there are those out there who will help; that we all have to help each other."

Hayley says she has been influenced too by the support from St Cuthbert's and the school's motto: 'By Love Serve': "It is very dear to my heart and I carry it with me always."

Hayley is committed to continuing her charity work but is also beginning to think about what she will do once her school days are over. At this stage she is leaning towards a career in medicine.

Does she have any aspirations to be back on stage? "Annie was my first production and I'd love to do more but since then I've only done school shows. I was lucky to get the opportunity back then (2014), it was a lot of fun."

Hayley says while she was shocked and overwhelmed by the ASB award, at the same time she was humbled and grateful.

"I want to use the money to expand BOB, create a logo, get into branding and do brochures, that sort of thing," she says. "I've been doing all that on my laptop, so it would be exciting to have something more professional. I'll also definitely be using it to buy more blankets and linen."