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How a drive-in movie theatre helps feed families in need

Tivoli Drive-In is more than a place to catch a movie. Through a second lease on life under ownership and management of Tivoli Social Enterprises it is providing much-needed help to families strapped for cash.

The on-site large commercial kitchen would normally be silent during the day but through innovative thinking it is now serving up to 1,000 free meal packs per week to people doing it tough.

Recently the social enterprise received funding of $76,220 from the Queensland Government’s $2.5 million Dignity First Fund.

Tivoli Social Enterprises put the money towards the purchase a refrigerated food truck for transporting donated produce from Brisbane to the organisation’s kitchen in Ipswich.

Director Fred Muys described the refrigerated truck, as the ‘missing link’ in the food service chain.

“We are able to source donated frozen meat and other goods for our kitchen from a number of sources in Brisbane, but you must have refrigeration to ensure it does not spoil on the journey to our commercial kitchen at Chuwar, and then onto the clients,” Mr Muys said.

“We’ve invested a considerable amount to upgrade the kitchen located on the site of the Tivoli Drive-In Theatre and Community Events Centre in Coal Road, Chuwar, and the Dignity First funding is giving us the transport infrastructure we need to service our clientele well into the future.”

Hospitality trainees (from left) Aaron Koplick-Pullen, Kirsty Taylor, Jamie-Lee Hudson and Matt Donlen

He said the kitchen also created positions for unemployed young people to sign on as trainees under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.

“They get qualified and trained to work in hospitality. They work in the kitchen from Tuesday to Friday and a key part of their job is cooking and preparing meals which are distributed to needy and most disadvantaged people across the city.

“We work in  partnership with a number of agencies like Ipswich Housing Support Inc, Goodna Street Life, Leichhardt Community Centre, Ipswich Assist at St Stephen’s Church, St John’s Lutheran Church, and others working with emergency relief as well as through our own agency Harvest Rain Christian Care.

“Our clientele includes a core of several hundred people experiencing homelessness, and a significantly higher number of people who are experiencing financial stress or other difficulties.”

We are able to source donated frozen meat and other goods for our kitchen from a number of sources in Brisbane, but you must have refrigeration to ensure it does not spoil on the journey to our commercial kitchen at Chuwar, and then onto the clients.

Fred Muys

Director, Tivoli Social Enterprises

Minister for Housing and Public works Mick de Brenni said Dignity First Funding was established in 2016 to provide localised, people centric support, and was essential to providing Queenslanders with housing security.

“Labor believes that having a safe, secure, sustainable place to call home, is essential to holding down a job,” Mr de Brenni said.

“There are many different reasons why someone may find it difficult to get into or hold down a tenancy, and the Palaszczuk Government is making sure we have wrap around services to suit every need.”

“We are providing funding for a range of important projects – mobile outreach services, food trucks, community kitchen upgrades, drop-in centres and backpacks containing essential supplies, to name a few.”

Fred Muys inspects Tivoli Social Enterprises’ new refrigerated food delivery van

Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said Tivoli Social Enterprises Limited was one of three recipients in Ipswich sharing in more than $167,000 funding under the current Dignity First Fund round.

“The Dignity First Fund provides for people who really need it, when they really need it,” Mr Madden said.

“A little money and a lot of heart can make a real difference and that is certainly true in this case.”

Member for Ipswich Jen Howard said it was important to provide place-based solutions when addressing homelessness.

“The circumstances around homelessness in the Ipswich region are vastly different to those we see in other parts of the state,” Ms Howard said.

“That’s why the Dignity First funding is so important, it delivers local solutions to local challenges – so I am happy to see the funding come directly into my local community.”

The 19/20 Palaszczuk Government Budget commits a further $40 million to homelessness support, bringing the total funding for homelessness in Queensland to $180 million.

IPSWICH FIRST

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