Sarah lilli Fund

Providing opportunities

There are over 250,000 children in New Zealand living below the poverty line, whose families struggle to provide day-to-day necessities, let alone any extras.

The Sarah Lilli Fund has helped 2,000 children in need to enjoy music, dancing, swimming, soccer and other sports, or to go to school camp with their friends — opportunities that would not have been possible for them otherwise.

How the Sarah Lilli Fund started

The Fund was set up by the Payne family in 2006 in memory of their daughter. Sarah Lilli died shortly after her 10th birthday of a rare brain disorder. The Paynes wanted to give other children the kind of opportunities that she had during her life and have worked with Barnardos to make this happen.

How it helps

The Sarah Lilli Fund helps disadvantaged children to

  • pursue a creative, sporting or social opportunity that is their chosen interest and will benefit their wellbeing — through grants for lessons, sporting equipment or musical instruments
  • enjoy a special celebration, experience or holiday — including grants for holiday programmes or camp fees

Our “Behind the Scenes at Wellington on a Plate” fundraiser in October was a great success, raising an amazing $11,707 from ticket sales, donations and the auction. Around 100 attendees enjoyed talks from WOAP’s Festival Director Sarah Meikle and WellingtonNZ CEO John Allen, as well as a display of chocolate bonbon making by Sébastien Lambert from Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand. There was music from NZSO’s Donald Armstrong playing with young performers from Arohanui Strings and later with Sasha Gunchenko on double bass. You can click here to watch the video. Flamboyant auctioneer David Parmenter ran another exciting auction for holiday accommodation, restaurant and entertainment experiences. Many thanks to all the performers, presenters, donors of the auction items and to Intergen for hosting the event.

The Sarah Lilli Fund helps children of all ages

Here are some of their stories

You can help

The Sarah Lilli Fund relies on donations, and a little gift goes a long way. For the children helped it’s the chance to enjoy an interest they’re passionate about or join in with their friends at school camp or on a holiday programme. For their parents, often a solo mum, it can mean connection to other families and relief from some financial and emotional pressures.

You can make a one-off donation or join our sponsorship scheme. We also run fundraising events, including concerts, auctions and movie nights. All the money you donate goes to the children, as Barnardos supports the administration of the Fund within its wider operations.

Making an application to the Sarah Lilli Fund

Social workers from Barnardos or other agencies make the grant applications on behalf of the children and families they are working with. They know there are real needs and no alternative sources of help.

Applications are reviewed by a Barnardos senior manager, and grants are made in a few days or even hours in some cases.

Donating to the Sarah Lilli Fund 

You can sponsor a Sarah Lilli Sports, Creative or Holiday Grant via regular automatic payments.

Grant sponsorships are

  • $10 per month or $120 per year for a Sarah Lilli Sports or Creative Grant
  • $20 per month or $240 per year for a Sarah Lilli Holiday Grant.


Regular giving

You can set up regular payments via internet banking. Payments can be made to Barnardos NZ, account 06 0501 0509606 02. Please put ‘Sarah Lilli sponsor’ in the payee identification field.

If you'd like a tax receipt at the end of the financial year, email [email protected] with

  • your full name and address
  • the start date, value and frequency of your payments.

We also accept automatic payments by debit or credit card. Contact us if you'd like to set one up.

One-off Donations

We appreciate donations of any value. If you'd like to sponsor a grant in full, it's $120 for a Sarah Lilli Sports or Creative Grant or $240 for a Sarah Lilli Holiday Grant.

Credit card donations can be made securely online through our donation portal. 

Who to contact

For more information on donating to the Sarah Lilli Fund, email [email protected] or call 0800 005 437.