Aspley’s New Opportunity
A young woman was recently sexually assaulted in the caravan park and our Cafe Chaplains were doing what they could to support her and her family. Her life was threatened for pressing charges against the perpetrator and fled Brisbane. The perpetrator then threatened to kill me because we were supporting her. In the same week we were helping out a lady struggling with drug addiction who we found out was selling her daughter to pay for her habit. We’ve been robbed over a dozen times in 2 years. I’ve found bullets outside the cafe. Things couldn’t be much worse. There’s a total breakdown of respect and order.
Cup From Above recently hosted a meeting with Council, Police & Government where it was decided that this was perhaps the worst crisis in Brisbane. Several potential solutions were discussed. Since then the team at Cup From Above have increased our efforts in providing “grassroots” programs to meet these dire needs.
I applaud the police for their work today and really over the last 3 years. I’ve been around Aspley on and off since 1983. Aspley is safer than it has been thanks to them. There were some people whinging that there was an over display of force. I don’t think so. The police responded strategically and thoughtfully to a very complicated situation. Well done I say.
Some of these people in the caravan park are violent serial offenders. Unfortunately prison seems to be the only solution for these people.
There’s no victory for the community in sending “them all” to prison as some people are suggesting. And most say the solution is to “shut the caravan park down”. I disagree. This simply means the problem will be relocated-not solved.
I hold the belief that people fundamentally don’t want to commit crimes. Given the right support and opportunity these people can rise above their circumstances and live a great life in harmony with the rest of society. This is why I built Cup From Above: to give people who are disadvantaged the opportunity they need to become successful.
We had one bloke who started coming into the cafe about 6 months ago. He was a drug addict who ate from the bins in Aspley. When he couldn’t find food he would steal from shops or our backyards to pay for food. He started coming to Cup From Above and using the tucker tokens. I encouraged him every day. Last week he said to me that he’s kicked the drugs and he now does volunteer work 3 days per week. He said to me “when I get a proper job I’m going to buy tucker tokens so I can help change someone else’s life around”. You see every meal he ate he was being restored. He was affirmed that he was loved and valued by our community. Now his tank is nearly full again. He’s built up enough that he is able to give back.
This is a real solution. This is a game changer. It’s not quick. It takes 6 months. Sometimes longer. But it’s working.
We’ve got several grassroots programs that are helping transform lives and build a great community here in Aspley. Today the police arrested several of the worst offenders. This is great but it’s not the end. That wasn’t the solution. But it has created the opportunity for real change. It’s now time to work together as a community to solve this crisis. We need to feed the homeless and find them a safe home. We need to create jobs. We need to listen to and love these people who are hurting. There are 600 people in the caravan park. We’re going to need an army.
If you’re interested in volunteering at Cup From Above you can fill out the form here.
I was interviewed today from a few different news teams. Here they are…
Brisbane Times Article: Here
Courier Mail Article: Here
Helping the Hope Community Centre in Aspley Acres
For the month of July Cup From Above is focussing on helping out our friends in the Hope Community Centre. Jan & Robert who run the Hope Centre do an amazing job assisting people in need down in the caravan park.
This month we are aiming to raise enough funds to purchase a Hot & Cold Water Dispenser for the centre that will be available for the whole community in the caravan park to use.
Local artists Sarah & Tom Milner are holding an exhibition of the photography artwork at the cafe. 50% of proceeds are going straight towards purchasing the water dispenser
On Saturday, 26th July 2014 we are holding a community concert at the cafe. All funds raised will go towards purchasing a water dispenser to give to these guys.
UPDATE: We raised $103 at the Community Concert. We need another $400. If you would like to donate you can online via this link http://gogetfunding.com/project/water-dispenser