Helen Devlin is encouraging groups to think outside the square and consider how the current round of the Shell’s QGC Communities Fund can help them.

As treasurer of the Wandoan Housing Association (WHA), Helen successfully applied for funding which has helped keep the Juandah Gardens aged care units in community hands.

Federal Government changes prompted WHA to take ownership of Juandah Gardens, to keep costs down for residents.

The changes would have seen Juandah Gardens facing the same compliance requirements as large, privately-run facilities. This would have been a major burden for WHA, which manages the 10 units at the complex.

“We couldn’t comply, and if we couldn’t comply the Department takes over,” Helen said.

This could have led to a situation where bond and rent costs went up for residents.

So WHA came up with a plan to buy the units from the Queensland Government, allowing them to keep control and bypass the new regulations.

Helen said the Shell’s QGC Communities Fund provided WHA with additional funding to help secure the purchase of the units and allow for improvements to be made to the complex.

WHA’s top priority is keeping rents affordable, so residents can stay in the units longer and other people from the wider region are attracted to live at Juandah Gardens.

“Because we’re a non-profit association everything we get goes back into the units,” Helen said.

“What we’re hoping to do by keeping the rents down is that we’ll attract people back.”

And that plan is working, with Juandah Gardens about to welcome two new residents – meaning two more people living and spending locally in Wandoan.

“The funding from QGC has been a huge help,” she said.

The next round of the Shell’s QGC Communities Fund is open until 5pm on 31 August.