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2 January, 2021

Small change makes a big difference

A dedicated volunteer and his friends have banded together to help raise $50,000 for a Cairns’ cancer charity through the Containers for Change scheme.

For many years Leo Pauli has been raising funds for the Cairns Organisation United for Cancer Health (COUCH), which strives to improve health care services for Cairns and Far North Queensland residents diagnosed with cancer.

But the beginning of the Containers for Change scheme in Queensland in November 2018 gave Mr Pauli and his group of volunteers the opportunity to substantially increase the level of funding they could raise for COUCH.

In that time – a little over two years – those volunteers have been the driving force behind the collection and return of almost 500,000 containers for the COUCH organisation.

Mr Pauli co-ordinates collection of containers throughout Cairns and Kuranda, while his friends Alan and Lesley Neven collect across the Atherton Tablelands.

Those container collection efforts have equated to nearly $50,000 in extra funds for the organisation that provides information, connects patients to services to manage their health and well-being, and finds practical solutions for people navigating their cancer diagnosis and chosen treatment pathway.

The Chair of COUCH, Ron Holden, said the work of Mr Pauli and other volunteers had made a massive difference in the lives of locals living with cancer including the ability to waive joining fees for patients at the organisation’s new Wellness Centre.

“Leo Pauli and his friends’ efforts over the 10 years prior to using the Containers for Change scheme amounted to around an amazing five per cent of the total funds raised from the Far North Queensland community for the construction of the COUCH Wellness Centre in Cairns,” said Mr. Holden.

“Since the Wellness Centre opened in July 2019 and with the increased value of their collections through the Containers for Change scheme, the many more thousands of dollars raised by them have contributed significantly to the ongoing operational costs of the Wellness Centre and have helped us to waive joining fees and to subsidise services for our clients.

“On behalf of the entire COUCH organisation and the cancer affected of our community, we extend a sincere and heartfelt thankyou to Leo and his team for their support over the years.”

Ken Noye is the chief executive of Container Exchange, the not-for-profit organisation that operates the Containers for Change scheme.

He said the fundraising endeavours that had benefitted COUCH were a great example of how community groups could harness the power of the scheme.

“I commend all the volunteers who have helped raise funding for COUCH - it has been a stunning effort to collect so many containers in just over two years, and this is truly a win-win situation for the community,” said Mr Noye.

“The Containers for Change scheme is committed to a target of collecting 85 per cent of all beverage containers sold by July 2022, and Queenslanders can get behind this goal by collecting and donating their containers to community groups across the state just like COUCH.”

People can assist COUCH through the Containers for Change scheme by quoting their unique Scheme ID C10016578 when returning at any Container Refund Point (CRP) across Queensland.

For more information on Containers for Change, visit

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