Friday, 20 May 2011

Allan Kennedy Helping Hands Program Launch

Launching the the Allan Kennedy Helping Hands Program was a particularly special occasion.
It is named after one of the hardest working volunteers on the Southside and is designed to help socially isolated residents on the Southside

Allan Kennedy volunteered with the Annerley Friendship Club for over 15 years. Often described by Club members as the “go to” person, Allan was someone who was the first to arrive at the Friendship Club and last to leave.  

It took someone like Allan to put in the personal love, care, attention and dedication to be there. To turn up and be a friend, helping those who are most isolated in the community.

Earlier this year I hosted the Griffith Australia Day Awards. Allan was appropriately recognised for his service to the Southside Community, but sadly passed away before he could receive his Award. In recognition of his work with socially isolated residents, I decided that we should capture, make real and expand the work he did.

Through my office we are regularly visiting residents in the community who are socially isolated. Not only will our staff provide morning tea, but will also deliver a care package. This care package is supported by local businesses and includes the local paper, tea, coffee and easy to make meals.

We also include stamps and writing tools so these residents have another way of connecting with their families and friends if they can’t leave the home.

The whole idea is to take Allan’s idea and grow it across the community. I hope others follow this model which recognises the spirit of Allan Kennedy in the community as well.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Stepping Stone Clubhouse

Recently, I visited the Stepping Stone Clubhouse in Stones Corner. The Clubhouse is an organisation linked with around 300 similar Clubhouses around the world.

This is a group that brings together people with mental illnesses to support them back to work or into temporary and permanent accommodation. But what makes the Stepping Stone Clubhouse unique is that they have done away with the staff/client model of support. Instead, everyone is enrolled as a member of the Clubhouse and jointly responsible for its administration. With support from a small handful of permanent staff, the Clubhouse members operate these centres themselves, restoring their skills and self esteem in a supported environment.

The Clubhouse provides three essential services to the Southside community.

First, a daily gathering place for people.

Secondly, they provide pre-training for people that want to get back into the workforce.

Thirdly, they go out and help people get jobs.

They’re extraordinary. This Clubhouse services some 400 people across Brisbane and when I visited, there were about 70 or 80 in attendance.

They have their own coffee shop where they train people how to make coffees and bake cakes. Everyday they cook lunch for themselves, often catering for up to 80 people.

This centre is quite a remarkable place. I spoke to each and every person there to find that the Clubhouse has literally transformed lives. One lady told me that before she had walked in the door ten years ago; she had not spoken with another person for five years. Now, talking to her, you struggle to believe that it was ever the case.

For more information on Stepping Stone Clubhouse -

For more photos of my visit to Stepping Stone Clubhouse -

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Annerley GP Super Clinic

Yesterday I went to visit the Annerley GP Super Clinic that was opened in February. Graham Perrett was there too – our electorates are next to each other and this new clinic serves both of our communities.

UQ Health Care run the clinic and the rooms are filling up quickly with nurses, doctors, physios and others to improve access to a whole range of services.

The Government is building 64 GP Super Clinics around Australia along with an increased investment in GP services to improve access to integrated GP and primary health care.

The staff there are doing a truly great job helping expand the health services available right here in our community.  

If you have visited the clinic please leave a comment - I am keen to know how it is going. 


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Community Comment - Kafe Meze

As a feature of this blog, I will regularly invite members of our Southside community to share their local stories. I recently met with Robyn and Jack from Kafe Meze in West End. Although still doing it tough following the floods, they offered to share their experiences as local business owners.
"I guess, we as a family business, are still trying to get over the week of the 11th January 2011.
Our business was established in 2000, in West End and with a couple of ups and downs we are still committed and passionate about our choice of location.
Jack is an Athenian, I met him in Athens back in 1982. He was trained in hospitality in Canada and once he settled in Australia, he had a vision – to create his own style of Greek Tavern – Kafe Meze.
It was West End that Jack was drawn to, with its multicultural feel - to establish our business.
It takes a lot of heart to become a small family business and many times I want to know if it is really worth all the effort.
There is a definite downturn in business activity. People are just not spending. There is a sense of loss, we may look as though we are functioning but I believe that there is a loss of confidence.
The weather overall has been unkind but for all the stress there is a definite satisfaction at the end of each week knowing that we have presented our product to the public and they have enjoyed the experience.
Christopher and Rebecca our children believe in our business and wish to take it into the future. This will fall mainly to Christopher – I wish him every success."

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


This blog is a new way for us all to connect across this fantastic community.

It will provide a community forum to keep you updated with what’s happening in the local area including monthly topics, school updates, event coverage, community group profiles and much more.

This has been a difficult and devastating start to the year for our Southside community.

We suffered considerable loss as homes and businesses were inundated across West End, South Brisbane, East Brisbane, Norman Park and Hawthorne.

But then, without a single phone call, without being asked, the whole community rose immediately to support those in trouble.

The generosity of these extraordinary volunteers demonstrated the strength and compassion that cements this great community.

The monthly topics will begin with the ongoing flood recovery that continues to affect the Southside.

I hope that community groups, teachers, students, parents and residents from across the Southside will join us to share their thoughts on how to make our community even better.

I am proud to represent this terrific local community and hope this is one more way for us to stay in touch.