Real World Living Ltd was established in the middle of 2014 in order to continue Health and Disability Service provision in South Auckland when the then incumbent provider of similar services decided to exit the area.

The company was established by Janette Peebles and Deborah Freeman. Janette is a Physiotherapist with almost 40 years of clinical, Management and Service Development within Government, Private and NGO settings and has a passion for client centred service delivery, choice in regard to life roles and giving everyone an opportunity to participate in meaningful activities to whatever level of ability they have.  Janette has been the Managing Director role since 2014 and leads the MSD funded programs. She is based in the Papakura site.  Deborah is a UK trained Riding Therapist, with over 40 years of Riding, Equine training and management and Riding for the Disabled Coaching in the UK, US and NZ. She has a passion for the use of the horse, as a training and learning modality and has successfully translated this model into educational, sporting and personal development spheres. Deborah joined the team fulltime 2017 and performs a health & safety, environment and staff training and development role. Both Janette and Deborah are Company Directors

A Leadership team has been recruited and developed since our inception and shares the management responsibilities of all the day to day operations. Marian Galvin leads our Transition Program and provides sector and business expertise, Michelle McPherson is our Administration Manager and manages all our finances, Joanne Aholelei leads our Outreach Service, Assessment and reporting section, Lynette Lulich manages our ACC program which includes both Living My Life and Training for Independence, Elaine Marshall is our Quality Manager and provides HR and project back-up.  This team have a combined 180 years of expertise and experience in the Health & Disability sector both in NZ and overseas.

Our core team of Life Activity Coaches transitioned across from the previous provider which ensured that their extensive expertise was retained for the new service. We have added more staff as our client base has grown and developed a further pool of casual staff to allow the flexibility to support the program numbers. We have always endeavored to have a 1:4 client staff ratio for our VHN Program and a 1:6 client staff ratio for our other group programs. All our Life Activity Coaches have had experience as Support Workers or Rehab Coaches in both facility and community based environments and are multi- talented in the Art & Craft, Living Skill, music and sporting activity fields. In addition we have a Workshop tutor (specializing in woodwork) and we have -developed extensive community linkages and networks in our local communities. All staff have been supported to work toward Careerforce Level 3 & 4 qualifications.

Real World Living currently holds a Vocational Contract with the Ministry of Social Development for VHN and Community Participation, an MSD contract for Student Transition Services and a contract with ACC to provide the Living My Life service as well as Training for Independence. We have also been able to develop the provision of privately funded Living Skills and Work Preparation programs and Rehabilitation Professional Assessments and Physiotherapy services. Our programs are based on the facilitation of real world living and working experiences and opportunities and our current activities include: Living skills, Work Preparation including work experience placements, Community based Activities of Choice, Music, Art & Craft, Animal Therapy, Riding Therapy, Swimming, Drumming, Computer Skills, Communication Skills, Sport, Gardening, Coffee Club, Sensory Integration, social connection and Fitness programs.

In 2016 we added a branch and established a site at 7a McNab Street, Penrose. This site is located within a commercial park which is very close to all public transport links and allows easy access to community facilities and activities within greater Auckland.

In early 2021, our main branch moved to 79-83 Great South Road, Papakura. This gave us the opportunity to expand on our services and include a gymnasium and workshop onsite. The new location is right in the business hub of Papakura and allows us to provide facility based activities and easy access to a number of community based activities within Papakura (Library, Arts Centre, Aquatic Centre, Coffee shops, Countdown, sports fields, Museum, Pet Program, and Music and culture groups). We also have links with the Papakura hinterland and include Farm based activities both agriculture and horticulture and Riding Therapy sessions. Our work experience placements include jobs for the local council, SPCA, local retailers and local small block owners. 

Our programs generally run 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday inclusive. We added a social event program in 2017, which includes weekday and night and week end functions which are staff supported and supervised. We provide assistance with personal cares where required as part of the program support and purchased a van in 2016, which we use for transport when required as part of the program, to enable our clients to have access to the community.

In 2016 the Real World Living team made a commitment to work with MSD to provide a fundholding service for MSD VHN and Community Participation funded clients whose needs are best met via a home or local community based program directed by themselves or their family. Real World Living receives each client’s funding each quarter and passes this on to the client/family to use as per the way they feel is best for them. The funding must be used for support to attend and participate in activities of choice as part of a Life Activity Plan. Real World Living is responsible for all MSD funding reporting and to assist clients to amend their programs as and when their needs change. This scenario has aligned well with the future intent of the disability system transformation and roll out of Enabling good lives, where clients/families/whanau will be able to manage their own funding, thus giving more choice and control to the people directly involved in terms of the supports they want and how this support is implemented.