Sharing with Friends December Newsletter

Read the Sharing With Friends newsletter for all the latest news & happenings.


Sharing with Friends 

December 2023 Newsletter
Christmas Edition 

Hello friends!

December 2023 is a time for reflection, acknowledgement, and re-commitment.
This time last year the Sharing with Friends Foundation signalled a change of strategy to use our limited funds to show the world our model for real! That meant discarding our focus on government funding in favour of a self-reliant push - in the shared belief that “build-it and they will come”.
As a result, we have

  • an 800sqm Brisbane site purchased in September,
  • an active construction group,
  • a cohort of First Five Residents,
  • an army of donors
  • …… and the source of capital to fund our first build. 

SWF Management Committee members Fran Stowers, Anne Landsberg, Adrienne Irvine and Susan Davies looking over the plans for the Darra site.

Land purchase and construction timetable
Hot on the heels of the strategy change, SWF Director Ian Mackie identified our first block– One Darra Avenue - and he now chairs our Project Control Group (PCG) - securing affordable construction contracts – supported by PCG members Carlo de Luca and David Hamlyn-Harris.
We now have construction estimates from three builders – two prefabricated and one traditional – and plan to proceed with the traditional build method.We have been working in a very collaborative way with a home builder Ownit Homes. While we have not signed a contract, to date we have paid them a small deposit to commence detailed drafting of plans. A site survey has been completed, and Ownit is commissioning a soil survey, and a building certifier. Once drafting is more advanced, a detailed “value engineering” review will take place with architects Deicke Richards, the “First Five” cohort of women for the Pilot Project (see more below), and our Project Control Group (PCG), to refine and understand all the details, and finalize the cost projections. Once that is done, a building contract will be signed, and construction will commence. We anticipate that the contract will be signed shortly, and construction start after Easter. Construction is estimated to take 6 months meaning home for our residents in September 2024.
 Key Advisors Deicke Richards (Architect Eloise Atkinson), AECOM (Town Planner Matthew Rolley), and Minter Ellison Lawyers (Matthew Glenn and Elisha Bale) continue to collaborate to give essential architectural, town planning, and legal advice. Together we have navigated a major architectural change, avoided delays in town planning approvals and tenure issues relating to our choice of Rooming Accommodation category (instead of Multiple Dwelling).
The inter-related nature of each decision we’ve had to make speaks to the reason similar projects have never got off the ground – or have taken twice as many years to come to life. We salute our extraordinary advisors who have worked together at each stage

in May 2023, on the advice of former Treasurer Andrew Daniels, we held a fund-raising event at the Brisbane Club (in the shape of a “Turf War”) and raised over $300,000 in donations towards our pilot project. An extraordinary boost to our coffers – and our self-belief. The contribution of Susan Hocking and Ian Mackie (and their army of supporters) was a key factor in the success at every level. In addition, we have initiated a GoFundMe platform and links to regular corporate giving platforms. There are plans afoot for our next fundraising event for 2024 which will be sure to appeal to many of our supporters.

Image: Some of our interested women at the Information Day in August.

Residents Workshops
In September 2023 our unique component– the Co-Housing Workshops series run by Anne Landsberg and Adrienne Irvine and Fran Stowers – has secured a passionate group of potential residents who are keen to sign on to be the First Five. Thanks to wonderful guest speakers including John Deicke (Deicke Richards Architects), Kym De Thierry (Downsizing and Decluttering), Dianne Charman from Jade Financial, Matthew Glenn (Minter Ellison) on legal aspects of SWF and Em Prof. Gwen Jull, physiotherapist, on ageing-in-place.
For the participants, being in a relaxed and encouraging space, to compare values, beliefs and preferred ways of living and then choose their own neighbours, is unique to Sharing with Friends’ model. Friendships have been forged, the women continue to meet regularly and the membership of the First Five is being finalised.
Not surprisingly along the way, we met some women who have an urgent need for housing but did not fit or were unable to wait for our first build. The Workshop Team quickly invoked their networks and were successful in helping them find them suitable alternate accommodation. 
From left to right: Fran Stowers, Maggie Shambrook (HOWM), Adrienne Irvine, Carlo De Luca, Barrie Spring, Susan Davies, David Hamlyn-Harris, David Purvis, Ian Mackie.

Strategic Planning
In June 2023 a planning day held in the delightful Spring Hill premises of Workhorse Advisory, facilitated by Anne Moynihan, and attended by members of the management committee and key advisors. We have now honed a three-year pathway with four objectives:
  1. Build the pilot community and identify two more sites by 2026.
  2. Document the unique Sharing with Friends model and license it for the benefit of other partner housing providers.
  3. Public advocacy for reform of the Qld Planning Act to remove the regulatory barriers to community recognition of co-housing.
  4. Secure an economic and good-governance outlook for the Foundation and future Sharing with Friends co-housing communities based on sustainable principles.
Throughout the year members of the Management Committee have devoted time and effort to further developing and securing partnerships that will continue to support our goal of affordable housing for older women. Our new partnership with the University of Queensland Department of Architecture, Planning and Design, and Institute of Social Science Research, will provide us with:
1. Valuable evidence-based research outcomes to support our grants and funding drive
2. Learning from the process to continuously improve our planning and development
3. Demonstrate the positive outcomes of the Sharing with Friends Model.
Our intention for 2024 is to stretch our reach and seek out further partnerships across Queensland that will support our short and long-term goals such as replicating Sharing with Friends across Queensland and beyond…
With the support of Matt Blak (Brand and Web Specialist) we have a new website that makes it easier for people to contact us and make donations through the portal. On the website a video can be viewed that highlights the issue of older women and homelessness and the SWF model as one solution for the ‘missing middle’ of older women at risk of homelessness.
Please read through the website and encourage others to learn more about Sharing with Friends and help us spread the word.
You can view the video here:

To keep up with our regular updates follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.
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Linked In:
Sharing with Friends Foundation Queensland.
You can get in touch with us by emailing
Phone: 0403 472 589
Anne Landsberg, Adrienne Irvine and Susan Davies

AGM and Management Committee
The AGM held 3.12.23 brought new members to our Management Committee contributing a range of skills, experience and knowledge to assist the committee move ahead in 2024.
Our new members are:
Lisa Worner – Chartered Accountant/ SWF Treasurer
David Purvis – Solicitor
Fran Stowers – Social Worker / Grants-writer
Cathy Sawyer – Medical Practice manage / Lived experience
Susan Davies remains President and Adrienne Irvine appointed Secretary..

Anne Landsberg
The committee would like to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of founder member Anne Landsberg who stepped down from the Management Committee to devote her time to the Workshop women graduates and the documentation of Sharing with Friends model. Over five years and more Anne’s vision to make a difference to older women’s homelessness, her work with her late husband Ross Landsberg in the early days before incorporation on our first Workshop series, her selfless work on the weekly “kitchen cabinet” and her commitment at every level to the ongoing integrity of our work have been an essential ingredient to our success so far.

Having reflected and acknowledged the achievements of past 12 months, we now need to re-commit to our purpose. Providing safe, secure, and dignified housing for the “Missing Middle” of older women – those at retirement who have too much to qualify for social housing but nowhere near enough to purchase their own place. We are encouraged by the widespread approval given by supporters throughout the state. It takes a housing crisis for authorities and communities to understand the need for them to effect fundamental change – and the disastrous consequences for those we love if they don’t!

Congratulations to the members of the Management Committee and the Key Advisors who have worked so hard to get to our current stage - some say the End of the Beginning - having all our ducks aligned and ready to go.
Soon you will be able to read about our Management Committee members on the website
Workshop friends enjoying a Christmas get together.
From everyone at Sharing with Friends, we wish you a happy Christmas Season and best wishes for the New Year. 
Copyright © 2021 Older Women Co-Housing
Association (Qld) Inc, All rights reserved.

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Adrienne Irvine
Adrienne is a health professional with over 45 years' experience in team leadership and project management. She has initiated and successfully managed several start-up state-wide health programs of international recognition. With high level negotiation and facilitation skills she has significant experience in dealing with multi government departments and bringing together teams of professionals to deliver strategic goals.