A Redcliffe charity dedicated to helping people facing homelessness and other disadvantage is celebrating a huge milestone – its 20th anniversary.
The Breakfast Club has been providing meals to individuals and families since Christmas Day 2003, with co-founders Ros Thomsen and Daryl Passmore wanting to help those doing it tough.
“We were volunteering with the Salvation Army Youth Outreach Service in Fortitude Valley when we started to wonder what kind of assistance was needed in our own backyard,” Ros says.
“We looked at what services were available and noticed there were gaps which didn’t meet the needs of local people.
“We wanted to make a positive contribution, so we organised a Christmas lunch at the Redcliffe Area Youth Space.
“That lunch was very successful, and after seeing how many people came, we knew there was a need for this kind of service 365 days a year.”
The group first operated out of the Redcliffe Neighbourhood Centre (which is now known as Encircle) followed by the QCWA Hall and, later, the Pensioners Hall on Portwood St.
“We were providing breakfast three days a week and it just grew from there,” Ros says.
“It didn’t just grow with the number of guests walking through the door, but also with the number of people who wanted to volunteer.
“Breakfast began, and has always run, on a community caring model which recognises there are members of our community who sometimes face difficulties, people in the community with skills and time to volunteer, and individuals and businesses who can offer financial and material support,” Ros says.
“This approach brings together and strengthens the community as a whole.”
Today, The Breakfast Club provides more than 1000 meals a month through its breakfast and dinner services, as well as emergency food relief and other support through its hub service and outreach van.
They also partner with other vital community services including Orange Sky laundry, and QuIHN Health Care.
“It says so much about the community when an organisation like this can grow from the ground up organically and still have a big impact 20 years on,” Ros says.
Ros was involved with The Breakfast Club for 17 years, collaborating with the club’s current coordinator Michelle Gilchrist, who came on board in 2015.
“Our main purpose has always been to provide food to people,” Michelle says.
“We have continued on with the ethos Ros and Daryl implemented, ensuring The Breakfast Club is a space where people are treated with respect, compassion and dignity.”
The Breakfast Club currently operates out of the Clontarf Community Hall while a new permanent home is being built on Portwood St.
“We have so much to look forward to this year, including moving into our first permanent home and the Sleepbus arriving,” Michelle says.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary, a gala dinner will be held at The Komo on February 10 for those who have made The Breakfast Club what it is today.
“If you aren’t able to attend this event, you will be able to come to the opening of our new building later this year as we would like that to be a big community celebration,” Michelle says.
History of The Breakfast Club
Peninsula residents Ros Thomsen and Daryl Passmore identify a need in the local community to provide meals and support for people facing homelessness and other disadvantage.
With the support of local volunteers and donors, a community Christmas Day meal is served at the Redcliffe Area Youth Space.
Christmas Day meals have been part of The Breakfast Club’s activities ever since.
The Breakfast Club is born.
The Breakfast Club finds a home at the Redcliffe Neighourhood Centre (now Encircle) serving breakfast on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Connections are made with local boarding houses, caravan parks and more, and links established with other services.
The Breakfast Club outgrows the facilities at the neighbourhood centre and relocates to the CWA Hall.
This enabled The Breakfast Club to add services including health checks by nurses, visits by Queensland Housing and Centrelink staff, food parcels, tents, swags and bedding, haircuts and receiving food, clothing, toiletries, and other donated items.
The first Rockin’ 4 the Homeless fundraiser event was held at the Bramble Bay Bowls Club – these events would be major annual fundraisers until Covid disruptions.
Orange Sky Laundry begins service providing mobile washer and dryer at The Breakfast Club each week.
Ros Thomsen receives a Pride of Australia Medal for compassion, dedication, and service to the community.
The Breakfast Club begins evening meal services at the CWA Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays and supports Tuckerbox Ministries in providing outreach meals.
Michelle Gilchrist joins The Breakfast Club team bringing a skill set which has been key to its growth.
The Breakfast Club is registered as a charity and the inaugural committee is formed.
February - A grant from the Queensland Government’s Dignity First program enables the purchase of an outreach van.
October - Introduction of a “shop front” hub service two days a week providing guests with a safe drop in space and greater connections to support services and other assistance.
Ros Thomsen retires as Chairperson of The Breakfast Club, replaced by long-time volunteer co-ordinator Michelle Gilchrist.
Meal services move to the Redcliffe Pensioners Hall (Portwood Street).
Announcement of a new purpose-built Moreton Bay Housing and Homelessness Hub by Moreton Bay Regional Council.
Helen Bambling receives Westfield Local Hero Award.
The Breakfast Club is granted a permanent home on a peppercorn lease in the new Moreton Bay Housing and Homelessness Hub.
The Breakfast Club services move temporarily to the Clontarf Progress Association Hall while the new building is constructed on Portwood Street.
Michell Gilchrist received the Mayor’s Community Spirit Award at Council’s Australia Day Award Ceremony.
The Breakfast Club celebrates 20 years of service in the community.