From living on a prayer to living with dignity: veteran Brisbane homelessness provider 139 Club are set to turn their existing food service into a stylish and friendly café with a $259,000 funding boost from the Palaszczuk Government’s Dignity First Fund.
From early 2017, 3rd Space Café will provide healthy, appetising food at very low cost while providing an attractive, inclusive environment for patrons.
The innovative cafe style service is based on Jon Bon Jovi's 'Soul Food Kitchen' in the USA and similar to Sydney’s thriving Wayside Chapel’s café.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said The 139 Club, which has been supporting marginalised Queenslanders for the past 40 years, is one of 24 Dignity First Fund recipients.
“The Fund was designed to encourage innovative, non-traditional ideas to help people experiencing homelessness through the hard times,” Mr de Brenni said.
Opening from breakfast through to afternoon tea each week day, patrons will have a choice of meals, including a free option, from a constantly updated menu.
An eco-friendly composting system, corporate participation days, cheese making and cheese sales are some of the innovations planned for the café.
A nutritionist will work with 139 Club’s experienced chef to develop an interesting and healthy menu, while patrons can volunteer to help with kitchen duties and front of house support.
Member for Brisbane Central Grace Grace said the 139 Club provides a unique service for people experiencing homelessness.
“I'm delighted that the Palaszczuk Government is supporting the 139 Club through the Dignity First Fund,” said Ms Grace.
“Everyone has the right to live with dignity no matter what their circumstance, and the 139 Club has provided a safe and welcoming environment to people who are deeply marginalised for the past 40 years.
“Sharing a meal in a warm and friendly environment is about much more than food – it’s an opportunity for people to interact socially, to engage and connect with others and to access the support and information they need.”
139 Club CEO Sara Harrup said the project is a first for Queensland.
“We hope it will provide a model for other similar cafés we or others may open in other locations throughout the state,” Ms Harrup said.
“139 Club is all about providing a safe place to be, having respect for everyone who comes here, whether it’s our funders, supporters, staff, volunteers or, most importantly, our clients.”
Mr de Brenni said homelessness is a complex issue which requires a sophisticated response.
“But while we work toward longer term solutions, there are many wonderful community organisations like 139 Club who are helping people to live with dignity,” said Mr de Brenni.
“It is also an opportunity for us to show these vulnerable members of our community that they have not been forgotten and that we are working to help them out of this situation.”
[ENDS] 7 December, 2016