Creating and supporting communities

For many people, 2020 was the first time normal lifestyles had been severely restricted. The freedom of movement Australians had always taken for granted was abruptly halted in the interests of public health. We were advised, or in some parts of Australia ordered, to stay at home unless it was vital to leave. Isolation might have been necessary, but it came at the cost of being able to freely travel to socialise with family, friends and work mates. In the midst of this adversity, it became apparent how important the property industry is in fostering strong communities.

Many of us realised just how essential community is when the global pandemic abruptly curtailed a lifestyle we had, up until that point, taken for granted. Weddings were postponed, funerals were held but with heart-breaking restrictions, homes became school classrooms, and interstate and overseas travel became difficult or, in the case of the latter, all but impossible. And no one knew what the ultimate impact would be on business and the economy.

Given the high level of uncertainty of how sales would be affected by the pandemic in our industry, it would have been tempting for some companies to cut back on funds allocated to community groups.

But at the beginning of the pandemic, AVJennings decided to maintain its support for all the community groups it has partnerships with.

It also directly supports various community and sporting organisations including Netball Queensland and the Queensland Firebirds.

When AVJennings confirmed to Catherine Clark, CEO of Netball Queensland, that it would continue its support, the importance of the contribution to the organisation and the wider netball community ‘hit home’:

“In the first few days of the pandemic, one of our managers came into my office with tears rolling down her cheeks. She was crying because she had been assured by AVJennings they would continue to back us despite the fact we had no idea when we would be allowed to play. That’s how much it meant. We still had to make some incredibly difficult decisions, but the amazing and decisive support from AVJennings meant we could plan our way through the crisis,” Ms Clark said.

While it is gratifying for companies like AVJennings to be in a position to support organisations with significant commercial partnerships, often smaller gestures are appreciated just as much.

One of the Company’s ambassadors is former Australian netball team and Firebirds’ captain Laura Geitz who is a passionate advocate of healthy, active communities.

During the ‘lockdown’, Geitz focused on keeping up the spirits of young girls who weren’t able to play competitive netball by sending them a weekly video message from her home.

A mother of two boys with a third child not far away, before the pandemic, Geitz enjoyed the opportunity to visit AVJennings residential communities and encourage other parents to incorporate exercise into their daily routine.

Other smaller initiatives that have a local impact include walkers groups; community gardens and book exchanges.

On a grander scale, AVJennings in-house design team masterplans its residential communities to encourage residents to explore their neighbourhood and interact.

At the Creekwood community in Meridan Plains, more than 20 percent of the site, or 11 acres, is dedicated to green spaces within three minutes’ walk of each home. A two hectare green corridor connects two parklands with a freshwater wetland teeming with native wildlife. Nesting boxes have been installed and a bird-watching area created to encourage the wider community to explore Creekwood’s parklands.

The central park has 3.5 hectares of playing fields, a multi-purpose court, skate park, walking and bike paths, children’s playground and BBQ pavilion.

Connection to the local community was further enhanced with more than 600 Meridan State College students creating artwork which was installed around the playground area.