Chef Matthew Arnold and Sonya Keep Accepting Cheque from BCEC

An initiative of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) will see local social enterprise group, Common Ground Queensland, receive a boost to their funding for their fight against homelessness in the community.

The Convention Centre will donate $8,000 to South Brisbane based Common Ground Queensland, which provides supportive housing for the homeless. The money was raised through the Centre’s participation in Queensland’s Containers for Change scheme.

To date the Centre, which hosts an average 1,100 events and welcomes more than 700,000 visitors through the doors each year, has recycled 128,741 items from various events including the recent Brisbane Truck Show attended by 36,000 patrons.

BCEC General Manager, Bob O’Keeffe said the original idea to take advantage of the recycling scheme to help the community, came from staff.

“Our staff are at the very heart of the Centre’s community activities donating more than 145,000 meals to hunger relief agency Foodbank and hosting the Centre’s Annual Salvation Army Christmas Lunch for 500 children and families most in need – just two of our current programs.

“Environmental, cultural and social integrity are fundamental to the daily operations of the Centre,” he said.

Bob O’Keeffe said the Centre had a large footprint in the community and with that comes an obligation to adopt a whole of community partnership approach for a shared goal to end homelessness.

The Centre’s Executive Pastry Chef, Matthew Arnold, who was one of the main drivers behind the initiative which involved staff from Food & Beverage Operations and Housekeeping, presented the donation to Common Ground on behalf of BCEC.

Sonya Keep, CEO of Common Ground Queensland said the Common Ground building in South Brisbane offers permanent safe and affordable housing with onsite support services to people who have experienced homelessness.

“Our supportive housing model offers a solution that ends the cycle of homelessness.  We see increasing numbers of individuals and families who cannot find a place to call home.  The staff at BCEC are inspirational, they have changed the way they work to create a positive change in our community.  We are extremely grateful for their continued support.”

Container Exchange, the not-for-profit organisation that delivers the scheme applauded BCEC for leveraging the scheme to benefit local community groups.

Container Exchange CEO Ken Noye said the scheme presents a multitude of benefits. “It provides charities and social enterprises with another revenue stream and encourages charitable giving on a broader level, which BCEC has demonstrated,” said Mr Noye.

“By participating in the scheme, BCEC has been able to raise and donate funds to Common Ground, and in the process divert waste from landfill”.

Published: 12 September 2019

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