GJ Gardner Homes is putting the finishing touches on the House That Convoy Built this week before the property is auctioned to raise money to support Illawarra families doing it tough due to potentially life threatening medical conditions
While the auction date has been delayed to give potential buyers the chance to inspect the house after restrictions ease. People can register their interest in purchasing the property now on the MMJ website.
It has been 13 months since work commenced on the house in August, 2020 as a unique way to help raise funds for the i98FM Illawarra Convoy & Illawarra Community Foundation.
Even COVID-19 lockdowns could not stop generous support flowing in from tradies and suppliers donating their time, products and skills.
The idea of building a house for auction with 100 per cent of proceeds going to the Illawarra Community Foundation was that of Team Dandaloo members Al Doherty, Rob Starcic and Paul Hadley who met with property group Sheargold before pitched the concept to the Illawarra Community Foundation.
Sheargold then donated a $440,000 block of land on the corner of Wongawilli Rd and Bankbrook Drive, Wongawilli before ADM Architects proceeded to design a three bedroom house with open plan living.
GJ Gardner Homes Wollongong project managed the build and helped source local donors to ensure it was constructed at minimal cost to provide the most support possible to local families in need. Director Sean Vickery said he and many others involved project were blown away by how the Illawarra community got behind the project.
Mr Vickery said over 120 tradies, businesses and suppliers contributed to the completion of the home.
"It has been fantastic the way the community has gathered around and really dug deep to get it over the line," he said.
"It has turned out beautifully. This home makes a real statement about this community. All the trades are so proud to have been able to help families with kids in need during such a testing time for everyone."
i98fm Illawarra Convoy founder Marty Haynes said with COVID-19 and bad weather there were many challenges along the way.
"But to achieve this build at very minimal cost is something quite incredible," he said.
MMJ Real Estate Wollongong director Luke Rollinson said as a childhood cancer survivor and father of two children who have battled cancer he had a huge appreciation of what the Illawarra community has done and the importance of charities like The Illawarra Community Foundation.
So when MMJ was provided with an opportunity to help the project with town planning and real estate services he and the team waisted no time donating their time and support to such a wonderful cause.
"It is an honour and privilege for MMJ to be involved in this community fundraising project, and we are proud to know the money raised from the sale of this house will benefit many Illawarra families in need," Mr Rollinson said.
Mr Vickery said GJ Gardner's Wollongong/Shoalhaven team have completed two other homes in the past for Variety and raised more than $609,000 for the children's charity. But the community response to the Convoy house surpasses anything he has seen before.
"I came in to this knowing how Convoy itself has such a big following and how the Illawarra community is super generous. So I did have high expectations. But it has still surpassed those," he said.
"We have pretty much built this house for zero dollars which is just amazing. The Illawarra's generosity is huge.
"Hopefully we can get an equally great result with the auction and raise more money for those people who need it the most. Seeing such huge generosity changes you forever."
i98fm Illawarra Convoy manager Mark Rigby said the exact timing of the auction and how it will be held will not be locked in until the path out of present lockdown becomes clearer.
"Originally we wanted to do a big open house and really give tradies and suppliers credit for all the effort they have put in to it," he said.
"At this stage we are hoping to do something like that in November. We will be guided by MMJ who are keeping an eye on restrictions."
Similarly a decision on whether Convoy itself can actually go ahead won't be made until closer to November.
Despite the physical event being cancelled in 2020 because of COVID-19 the community still managed to raise more than $1million for the cause.
"We are not sure what is happening with Convoy yet but we are still pushing forward with all our merchandise and fundraising where we can," Mr Rigby said.
Money raised from both Convoy and the house auction will not only go towards The Illawarra Community Foundation but other charities and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
Whether the house will contribute towards a new record to surpass the $2.76 million raised two years ago is yet to be seen. But thanks to the Illawarra anything is possible with Convoy.
Register your interest in purchasing the House That Convoy Built here.