Sharing with Friends Newsletter July 2023

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Sharing with Friends 

July 2023

Hello friends!

Our free Info Day on August 5 is an opportunity for you to hear details about the Darra Project, have a cuppa, and see if you are interested in being part of the First Five. Attendance numbers are limited with registrations to be made by emailing your name and phone details to

As you are aware, the national housing crisis has been front and centre of our daily news bulletins and Queensland has been hardest hit of all the Australian states. When SWF started our journey four years ago, we could not have predicted the impact of Covid, increasing population and escalating house and land prices on plans to build our first affordable co-housing community for 5 women.
The latest ABS data shows that Queensland has the highest proportion of older people in rental housing, in particular, older women. With rents skyrocketing, never has there been a greater need to address affordable solutions for safe, secure housing for older women.
It’s been a rocky road over the past four years for the Sharing with Friends Foundation. There have been frustrations along the way, but the high points, and the women we meet, have kept us on track, and we have some exciting news to share with you.

We have land!

Having exhausted all options for land to be donated from the State Government or alternative sources, the Foundation could no longer wait and used our existing philanthropic donations principally provided by two of our founding members to BUY the land. Our property guru, Ian Mackie, found a great 800sqm block in Darra…close to transport, shops and medical and all necessary amenities. The block ticked all our boxes, an offer was made and accepted!
We are excited to be on our way and we now need to find the final 5 residents to form the first co-housing community. As you know our residents form their own groups of five women – facilitated by discussions at our Workshops.

Information session

If you would like to know more about the Sharing with Friends older women co-housing model, an information session is being held at the Indooroopilly library on August 5 from 1.30pm – 3.30pm. The information session will cover the following:

  • The SWF co-housing model
  • Criteria for entry to the community of 5 residents
  • Legal/Financial/Lease arrangements
  • Residents Agreement
  • Workshop series

If you are a financially vulnerable older woman (55 years +), do not own your own home and have means to purchase a secure long-term lease ($120,000), this information session will give you the opportunity to learn more about co-housing and determine if it’s right for you.
Places are limited to 40 - to register attendance please email your name and phone number

Darra meet and greet!

As soon as we signed the initial documents for the Darra site, SwF Board members arranged a meet-and-greet for ourselves and some of our potential residents with our Darra neighbours. Mingling over a cup of tea and home baked goodies we were thrilled at the number of neighbours that came to meet us and tell us about their community. It is evident they love living in Darra (especially the Asian restaurants) and are proud of the local community spirit. Our new “Friends” were very welcoming and supportive and looking forward to welcoming our First Five to the “hood”.

Turf Wars!!

After purchasing our Darra block, we needed to raise more money quickly to finalise arrangements. We enlisted the voluntary support of Sarah Honey, a professional fundraiser, who recently moved to Brisbane from the UK. Sarah, along with our Board and key advisors, did a magnificent job in bringing together 120 people to the Brisbane Club Dining Room on May 10. With spirited bidding by each table to purchase pieces of turf we raised $204,000 on the day!! Follow-up donations made a total of $300,000 enabling us to move ahead with our building plans for the Darra project.

A huge thank you to the Brisbane Club, everyone who attended the event, gave us very generous donations and so heartfully supported our cause. A special thank you to Mayoress Nina Schrinner who attended the luncheon resulting in the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust donating $50,000 - $10,000 toward the fit out of each of the 5 units. We could not get our first project built without our amazing donors.
Below - guests at the luncheon
Committee members Fran Stowers and Anne Landsberg, fund raiser Sarah Honey and guest.
SwF President Susan Davies with committee members Carlo De Luca and Barrie Springer.

Video Launch
The Brisbane Club event gave us the opportunity to launch a new SwF video highlighting the needs of older women for safe, secure, and affordable homes. Produced by Tristan Davies, narrated by Dianne Eden, and featuring our wonderful women who openly share their personal experiences, this video was very well received by those attending the fund-raising event. Going forward it will support SwF in informing and approaching philanthropic donors for their support. We encourage you to view the video and share it with everyone you know.
You can view the video here:

Building Project Update
Following the success of the fund raiser and land purchase we are on our way:

  • The SwF Project Coordination Group (PCG) established – Developer Carlo De Luca, Property Leader Ian Mackie, Engineer David Hamlyn-Harris, Town Planner Matt Rolley (AECOM), Eloise Atkinson (Deicke Richards Architects). (It is important to mention that almost all the work being undertaken by these individuals is on pro-bono basis).
  • Minter Ellison lawyers have completed the Due Diligence report on land in Darra.
  • A new architectural concept plan for the Darra site completed.
  • Town planning and building certification process is in progress.
  • Building Certifier in the process of appointment.
  • Developer appointed.
  • Review of building methods under way (construction or prefab).
  • Application for capital building funds submitted to Qld Govt (HIF)
  • Ongoing liaison/advocacy with new Housing Department (Qld Government) and Brisbane City Council.

We look forward to receiving monthly reports from the PCG and will keep our social media regularly updated with the latest news.

A look into the future
The SwF Board recently held a very successful planning day held at Workhorse Advisory’s new Spring Hill premises to formulate a strategic ‘Three Year Plan’. While our minds are presently focused on progressing the first project for Darra, we are excited to be thinking ahead and replicating the SwF co-housing model throughout Queensland’s regional areas. The outcome of the day identified four priority objectives to achieve our aims:

  1. Design and build affordable co-housing for five women communities.
  2. Engage with interested Local Government/Council and community organisations to promote, replicate and apply our model.
  3. Influence policies which are barriers to collaborative housing models.
  4. Sharing with Friends remains an organisation accountable to our values, donors and residents.

The pictures show us hard at work and Susan and Adrienne recently meeting with housing advocate Dr Geraldine Mallinson and Cr David Clifton from the Atheron Regional Council discussing Sharing with Friends co-housing model.

From the beginning SwF President Susan Davies, and Board member Ian Mackie, have been relentless in their efforts to meet with and advocate for the SwF model of co-housing (and other alternate housing solutions) across all levels of government, the property industry and many other organisations and religious groups. Working alongside other housing groups such as the Housing Older Women Movement (HOWM), they have met with many politicians and high-level bureaucrats to identify the barriers to building alternate housing models and the need for planning reform. Together, they are ensuring that the collective voices of older women are heard by policymakers, fostering dialogue, and promoting the importance of alternative housing models.
PIC: Susan discussing Sharing with Friends co-housing model with Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon MP.

Opening of HOWSS in October2022
One useful outcome from these combined advocacy efforts is the implementation of Housing Older Women Support Service (HOWSS) operated by Footprints and based in West End. HOWSS opened in October 2022 by former Housing Minister Leeann Enoch MP and provides the following:
Housing Older Women’s Support Service is a flexible and responsive service that offers free and confidential advice and support to women (50 years and over, and 45 years and over for First Nations women) who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including assistance as early as possible to avoid homelessness. We provide one-to-one assistance to you, including telephone and face-to-face support, or link you to a service that can help.  
Call Footprints HOWSS on 1800 366 877 or drop into our support Hub at 31 Thomas Street, West End. The Hub is open from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday. All other support services (including outreach and telephone support) are available between 8:30am-4:30pm Monday to Friday.  

A new website is coming soon…we are excited to upload a new website shortly which will enhance viewers understanding and experience of Sharing with Friends and encourage ongoing donations.
We will be promoting our wonderful champions who continue to support us in a voluntary capacity and show us their support through their consistent actions.
All information previously gathered for newsletter and workshop notifications (now up to 865) will be maintained with the new website.
To keep up with our regular updates follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.
Sharing with Friends Queensland -
Sharing_with_friends_cohousing -
Linked In:
Sharing with Friends Foundation Queensland.
You can get in touch with us by emailing
Phone: 0403 472 589


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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.