In 2002 Sally Richards had already started the search for and work necessary to secure a home for her son Jackson. She started to work on persuading Government that the intentional community was a model worth pursuing and to this view, in November 2004, she was invited to give a presentation on Rougemount Intentional Community, Ontario, Canada to David Collett, Lois Ford, and Maureen Sheenan, senior bureaucrats in Disability and Housing ACT. 

Getting a Life (GAL) Family Governed Group was formed in 2004. The group has operated successfully with the support of a paid coordinator since 2004. The initial purpose was to have more control over the direction and quality of the lives of Jackson West, Daniel Connaughton and Ben Pattrick. In August 2006 Karen Connaughton and Cheryl Pattrick decided that an intentional community would be ideal for Daniel and Ben as well and so it became the new focus of the GAL Family Governance Group.

We have been working on this as a group ever since. It is over 10 years since Sally started work and over 5 years since we joined forces. After several frustrating years where we made little progress, we were finally successful in 2010 in securing land in Philip. The ACT Government agreed to fund the construction of a 25 dwelling public housing estate that would incorporate the Getting A Life Intentional Community. This proposal was passed by Cabinet in November 2010. In August 2011 funding for the accommodation support for Jackson, Daniel and Ben was approved by Disability ACT. Construction began in early 2012 and the development was finished in April 2013.

The Grand Opening

On 20 May 2013, the Getting A Life Intentional Community was opened by Her Excellency The Honourable Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. The event was hosted by ACT Chief MInister Ms Katy Gallagher MLA, a long-term champion of the project. Please click here to read more about the opening, or watch the video below!

"Having a home of your own is an integral part of getting a life of your own. Jackson West, Dan Connaughton and Ben Pattrick are three young men who will be moving into homes of their own before the end of 2012. They will be moving into the Getting a Life Intentional Community in Phillip ACT.

We hope that residents will contribute to the ongoing needs and social life of the community. However intentional community means something more. We will be asking people to take the time and the thoughtfulness to become good neighbours to one another, to get to know one another and to think of ways of extending welcome to all members of the community. They will be invited to include all members in every aspect of community life and to recognise and appreciate the gifts of all members, so that all may be contributors, participants and valued members of the community."

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