The power of putting community first

For the G.J. Gardner Homes Shoalhaven team, supporting local communities is just good business.

The team was recognised for their work, taking home the Contribution to Community Award at last year’s REA Excellence Awards, for their role in ‘The House that Convoy Built’, a project that raised more than $1.3 million for the Illawarra Community Foundation. 

The project built a house from the ground up, which was then sold, with every dollar going direct to the foundation.

“Our role was to run the project,” G.J. Gardner Homes Shoalhaven Managing Director, Sean Vickery, said.

“We made sure the house was constructed properly, we sourced the land, permits, and were involved in design.”

The Illawarra Community Foundation provides financial assistance and respite services to individuals and their families living in the Illawarra and South Coast regions who are suffering financially due to a potentially life-threatening illness.

“There was a real hole in their fundraising efforts… so to be able to contribute through a large-scale project like this, felt really good,” Sean said.

“The charity is amazing, and supporting them is ingrained in the community here.

“People from across the community donated their time, materials and money to make the project happen, and every cent raised went directly to the charity to be spent on the kids and families who need it most.”

Sean said winning the Contribution to Community Award was a proud moment.

“We’re builders in the community, and we know how important it is to give back, so to be awarded for setting an example for other businesses, felt really good,” he said.

“We can all do our bit for our communities.”

The G.J. Gardner Homes Shoalhaven went all in to support the Illawarra Community Foundation. Photo: REA Group

For Sean and his team, ‘The House that Convoy Built’ is a project they’ll never forget, and he encourages others to follow suit.

“There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you can give back, and to see first-hand the positive impact you’re having,” he said.

“The impact businesses can have in supporting local communities is huge, so I’d encourage all businesses to get out there and get involved.”

Now in its eighth year, the REA Excellence Awards celebrate the outstanding performance of customers, placing a spotlight on the incredible work of both individuals and teams across the industry. 

The Contribution to Community Award recognises companies and individuals who work tirelessly to support causes close to their heart. 

Whether it’s volunteering, fundraising, or spearheading initiatives that benefit those in need, these champions think bigger than themselves and make a real impact where it matters most.

“If you’re out there doing something fantastic in your community, I’d really encourage you to throw your hat in the ring for this award,” Sean said.

“Recognition of this level can go a long way in inspiring others to get involved.” 

The 2024 REA Excellence Awards feature a lineup of 11 submission-based awards, including Agency of the Year, Rising Star, Most Influential Woman in Property, Contribution to Community and Game Changer of the Year, along with the introduction of a new Excellence in Sustainability Award, which recognises those paving the way for generations to come.

Winners receive exclusive value across REA’s platforms to amplify their achievements in market, plus personalised marketing collateral, industry media coverage, paid advertising, grants, and more, helping set agents up for success, win new listings and grow their business.

Submissions are now open and close on Friday 19 July 2024. 

See the full award lineup at  

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