Sunday, December 30, 2012

On the Eve of 2013

Well, Christmas is behind us and 2013 is in front of us… I hope that everyone has had a wonderful time over Christmas and has come through the week alright. 2013 is going to be an exciting year with many great things in the pipeline. Yes, the Polite Team has a very good feeling about 2013. Just a few hours ago I created a Facebook events page for the first time ever. Quite an accomplishment for me to create something bigger than a post on my own wall, I can tell you, hahaha! Very exciting but wait, it gets better! Wait to hear what the events page is for… drumroll…… It’s for our next BBQ for the Homeless and Others in Need! The first one of 2013. It will take place on Sunday 17 February in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane, from 10:00AM to 2:00PM. One of the most exciting things is to see how quickly and with how much enthusiasm people respond and how much they want to help. This is one of the things where Facebook is a terrific tool to reach many people. Thank you, Facebook J This BBQ will turn out to be another terrific, successful event. 

The other thing is that I woke up one morning just this past week, switched on my computer, and found the Signal Flare Facebook page that Grant had created. Fantastic! Just the kind of page we need. Rather than an events page, it is an ongoing kind of page, as of course life keeps happening also in between events, and people don’t stop needing assistance just because the BBQ was yesterday. With the Signal Flare page we can all stay in touch, keep the spirit of helping alive, and whenever anyone needs anything we can do a call for help/donations and organize what gets done. So, another great thing that will help us do our thing in 2013. Please have a look and Like it if you do.

To find the link on Facebook, please type in "Signal Flare, We are here to help those when they need it most". There is a link on that page which will bring you to our BBQ events page.

As this is my end-of-year blog post I thought I’d do a little update on a couple of people I wrote about. The young family in the caravan park are doing well. She has work selling the Big Issue and he looks after their little girl and is looking for work as well. A lot of their income went into buying food and Christmas presents for their four-and-a-half-year-old, so they do use their money wisely. They had a Christmas tree because they had a caravan to put it in. They very kindly invited the Polite Team over for Christmas lunch, but we already had commitments of our own. We are so proud of them! Then, the guy I wrote about before. The guy who lived in a lodge, who had gone off the drugs and alcohol, and who had been clean for two years because he wanted to do well to be granted more access to his little one. He also wanted to have a better environment for his little boy when he had him stay. A lot had happened since I spoke with him back then. He had left the lodge and had lived back on the streets. He went through a very difficult time, but right now he is finding his way back up once again. He is re-establishing relationships with some of his family and is hopeful for the future. Awesome. And lastly, the man who gave me the piƱata. He came to our last BBQ. We spoke only briefly but he seemed to enjoy the event, and had found a few things to take that he really liked.

Wow, my last blog post for 2012… I just want to say how happy I am with this blog that I am honoured and proud to share with Grant. It’s been a privilege to be invited by him to do that, to raise awareness of homelessness issues and to help people in a very practical manner to gain access to the very basic necessities of life that other people so often take for granted. Like a toothbrush, to name but one such thing… You don’t usually hear people be excited about a toothbrush but trust me, for a lot of people having their own toothbrush is a treasure.

If you are thinking of ways to make your dollar stretch and help others, please consider using our donation button and donate towards Grant's wonderful coffee cart project. It is a project that will help many people get on their feet and build their future, and so your dollar will go a long way. It will help people whom you may never meet but who will have a better future because of it. For more information about this project, see Grant's previous blog post.

Finally, I would like to wish all our readers a fantastic, happy, peaceful and inspired New Year. Please be safe as you see in 2013, and we will meet again at the other side of New Year’s Eve. Bestest wishes everyone from the Polite Team!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from The Polite Team.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grant the Polite Guy's Coffee Cart Start

Oh do I have some great news first. As a lot of you would know at our last BBQ there was Fiona Deadman who produces “The Great South East” T.V show. Well she filmed some of our event and it’s going to be air this Sunday 23rd on channel 7 at 6:30pm “Dreams for a better world”. I’m excited about it because any awareness this can bring to homelessness in Australia then I’m all for it.

In the past I wrote about putting a coffee cart together. It is a great idea where I only employ homeless or people in need to run it.  I’d quickly help get 2 people on their feet with make-overs and everything they need, then get them the best training (I know a guy that owns a coffee shop and said he’d train all staff for free) then give them a job which earns above award wage working the coffee cart.

But wait it gets better ha ha, from every cup of coffee sold the business would donate 20cents to holding the BBQ’s I do. So really I’d be helping 2 people get on their feet and then every cup of coffee they sold would be helping others to get on their feet as well.

Well the first thing I had to do was get a location. Hey I did it. I have 2 great locations which have agreed to having the cart there. Next thing I’d need is to confirm the training the people would need. I have done that and I myself will be doing it (So I know what I’m talking about and I can help others when asked) in the first week of January.

Now all I need is the carts. I have collected some money (Thank you Sally and others). I sat down and worked out with Nathan (coffee shop guy) that with signs, jugs and a whole lot of different things I’d need $5500 more for each cart and that’s getting someone to make it because brand new there about $12,000.

I’m not doing this to just help people get on their feet, I’m doing it to help so many people to change their lives in such a more positive way and the good thing is if people choose to move on to bigger and better things then hey I can help another homeless or person in need right away. But the best thing here is people will be getting a chance in life and learning skills and have a great start in hospitality industry that they can take anywhere.

I ask you this, if you haven’t already spent all your money on Christmas yet then maybe consider donating using the donating button or email me for bank details. I’m going to make next year a great year for people who want to get on their feet by helping people with a hand up, not by giving them a hand out.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year, But of all things please be safe over the holidays.

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bernie's first BBQ that ROCKED

I know I have talked about pride before, in fact many times. Ha ha. But I once again feel nothing but pride again. The BBQ was a huge success. We didn’t get the numbers I wanted but hey I always want more so we can help more. If thousands turning up than I’d want more. A lot of people that turned up did get help and for some in a huge way. To me that’s what it’s all about.

As you would expect Bernie the Polite Girl, me and of course my little daughter “Jasmine the Polite Little Girl” turned up first about 7:30am with marquees and tables with the help of a few helpers. I remember thinking as we started about how my health has been bad with my back and the Leukaemia treatments and the fact that ‘Bernie the Polite Girl’ had done most of the work putting all this together, this is it, we have planned and worked hard for this day and all of us seemed excited that we were going to help so many. Which to me was nothing but heart.

Dalton’s Hospitality’s made an entrance with 5 big vehicles holding the kitchen for this event and all I could think of was how huge and great this is going to be. Now I’ve done a few of these BBQ’s and every-time it’s getting better. I know some really great people now too.

This being a bigger event then I have ever done Bernie the Polite Girl and I worked as a team putting everything together, the kitchen, marquees, tables, all the organizations set up their stalls to give information about their services, clothes were stacked up at the ready to given away for free, and the music was playing. We were ready.

We started being so proud that so many helpers came and gave up their time to help people in need when they needed it most. Bernie the Polite Girl and I kept putting homeless people with working people and saying things like “could you go with (name of person) and help him to get clothes and anything he needs please.” The idea is that a homeless person would not be alone and have what we thought was like a Buddy System. In a lot of cases it worked well and we could see working people sitting and talking with homeless on an equal level. As one unit.

The reason we thought this was such a great idea was because we thought if the homeless person felt more uplifted having a friend and talking to someone who was there to help and not care that they were homeless. (really anyone that came to help wanted to help someone that was homeless so why would they) Now I can’t take credit for this because it was Bernie’s idea. I think it worked well.

There was another reason and that’s, that we felt if working people spend more time with a or many homeless then it would hit home more about what it is like to be homeless. More of an understanding and some of the reasons why they were homeless.

We had many people thank us on the day and for some saying “It really opened my eyes, thank you for putting this event together” that’s working people thanking me for being able to help homeless and see why they were in the position they were in.

Come on guys we don’t need to put on an event for you to see or help homeless, these homeless people are someone’s Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Grand Parents.

I’d like to let people know that I didn’t do this on my own, I reached out and some amazing organizations banded together and said I’m there and helping anyway we can. These guys are who really put these BBQ’s together. All heart, I owe them so much for what they do. This is really the community coming together to help. But the one person that did more than anyone even me was Bernie the Polite Girl. I’m sure this event wouldn’t have happened without her working so hard. I can’t thank her enough.

Our Major Contributors are:

Craig from Connected.
This guy has help since my very first BBQ and really helped me out when I got started. Awesome with everything he does. I’m proud just to know him.

Dalton’s Hospitality.
Jerome Dalton is a legend with the golden heart he has. When Jerome found out about this event he raised his hand and said he’d take care of all food for a 1,000 homeless. He brought his amazing crew of Dalton’s Hospitality with all equipment for the day. It was 5star food and fresh juice making machines drinks all the way. While working hard getting all the cooking done Jerome also meet Wayne (a guy very much down on his luck and gave him a job to start the next day) I’m writing this in more detail later on.

Now when the event was done and finished Jerome’s crew packed up and finished, but this amazing guy stayed back to help us pack too. I am hard to impress, but with everything Jerome done I was impressed. I am proud to call Jerome a mate. Thank you

A & G Insurance
I contacted Ram (CEO of A & G Insurance) the guy right away wanted to know what he could do to help with this amazing event. They supplied a huge tent for shade and paid for the bus hire so we could pick people up and return from the Valley and Spring Hill. Now if that was it well awesome. But no Ram with the help of Robert put together 25 staff to come as helpers on the day and yes Ram and Robert were one of the first at the event. Bernie the polite Girl and I was proud to introduce them to many homeless. I think both Ram and the homeless got a lot out of it on the day.  Thank you

Are an amazing organization which donated $500 towards this event and helped to promote the event which Bernie put this together and did all the work with this one. Streetsmart are going to be meeting us in the future to help us to get better results. We need all the help we can get. Ha ha. Thank you

Second Bite.
These guys are so good, they turned up with ONE TONNE of fruit for this event and really helped make this event that much more awesome. Once again Bernie did all the contacts and made this happen. Thank you

There were so many organizations that came and even people that helped in such a huge way on their own. I thank you and will get to write about a lot of you as I go.

Wayne the Man.

Wayne lives in a lodge which his long term girlfriend lives in a lodge next door because it’s cheaper for them. These lodges are cheap but not nice. But there better off than being on the streets.

Wayne is the type of the guys we are always looking for when trying to help someone because all he talked about is getting on his feet and getting over the hard times he’s facing. I told him to come to the BBQ and we could help with job interview clothes and things like that. Well he turned up and went straight for the clothes and I noticed that he really was looking for job interview clothes.

I was busy with everything else with the BBQ but I pulled Wayne aside and said mate does it matter what kind of work your looking for? He said Grant I just want to get on my feet as soon as I can. I asked him to wait seated for a moment and went straight to my mate Jerome Dalton and said “Mate I have someone just down on his luck, but I really think he’s trying so would you consider just talking to him?” Jerome looked around at all the people in need and said right away “Of course mate I’d be happy to”

They meet and sat on the grass to talk. Wayne came to me hugged me, thanking me many times and was so excited to be having a job. He started to tear up and I quickly told him not to because we have to quickly get him work clothes and shoes for kitchen work, but the real reason was if he started tears then I would too because I was so happy for him. We got him clothes and the right shoes for him. He continued to thank me many of times when I stopped him and said “Mate I need a favour” he said “anything Grant” I said “Mate get on your feet and then come back and help someone else on the next BBQ” He hugged me again and said “Mate you got it”

I have a tear now because while writing this 5 days after that event, I know he worked everyday and done 35 hours. Jerome is happy with him and I know it’s a great start for Wayne to get on his feet. I wish Wayne all the best and I’ll always be here if he falls off the tracks again.

This is why I do these BBQ and help people, because people get help.

I know a lot of people have sent me a mountain of emails saying how great I was because of this event, I wish I could take the credit but I can’t because Bernie the Polite Girl did most of planning and putting it all together. She even put together most of the organizations that came. My health has be pretty bad so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.

Bernie the Polite Girl will be taking over these BBQ’s as my replacement, but don’t worry I will always be here to help her with everything I have as well. I just want to make sure these events go on because we do help so many.

I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great day.
Grant the Polite Guy
Email and Facebook
Twitter @grantpoliteguy

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Christmas BBQ: a Terrific Day in the Sun

Grant and I both have our own stories to tell about the BBQ for the Homeless and Others in Need of last Sunday 2 December, and we will both write about it in our posts here. I thought I’d put some photos in as I go so you have a better idea of how it was. One photo says more than a million words isn’t it J

And what a wonderful day Sunday was! Musgrave Park was a wonderful place in the sun where people gathered to celebrate Christmas (we even had Santa coming!), to share food, drinks, clothes, shoes, toiletries and many more things, and to share the company of people from all different walks of life. The notion behind an event like this is that people with very little possessions and without a roof over their heads are people just like others who do have homes and jobs and the whole rigmarole. At an event like this everyone meets as equals, and that works miracles for all parties, because on a very basic level we are all the same and we all want the same.

Rainman, Katarina, and Santa with the Polite Team 
It was a very early start for us who got up with the sun to set up marquees, unfold tables, unload utes, and carry mega packs of drinks, but the mood was spectacular right from the word go. We were all buzzing with excitement about the day ahead and we helped each other, and before too long we could see the event area take shape, but the place was not complete until Dalton Hospitality arrived (still early!) with several vehicles loaded with food and equipment.  We had a few early guests who were very welcome and who were already very much looking forward to the day ahead. Wonderful to feel and see their anticipation! Fiona Deadman and The Great South East arrived early as well – yes we will be on TV around Christmas; watch this space for the details, folks!

One of Dalton Hospitality's vehicles
 It was still very early in the morning when I went back to the storage space with John, to upload the ute with bags and boxes full of goods. After a little incident on the Inner City Bypass (we lost a shirt and tried to prevent that from happening again) we arrived back safely at Musgrave Park – with all the goods except that one shirt, hahaha. And the park was so much fuller! All the marquees were up, the organizations and others were busy getting their goods on the tables, the place was alive with homeless and other people in need, and it was not even 10AM yet – the time the event officially kicked off. And to see all that coming together so beautifully in the park for real, to see that so many people had a good time at this event that we had organized, oh man, it almost made me cry but I could contain myself.

Lovely to see!
 Early-ish in the day I went to have a chat with the group of indigenous people that sat a bit further down from the BBQ. They were extremely friendly, shook hands and introduced themselves. I enquired if they had had a feed at our BBQ and they had. They also had had a look at our clothes and had taken a few things. One of them said this was their park. I acknowledged this, and thanked them for having us. They replied it was their absolute pleasure. Their appreciation was huge; just a few simple words of acknowledgement and gratitude went a long way.

One of the absolute highlights for the Polite Team was the fact that three people who came to attend our BBQ walked away as employed people having obtained jobs, two with a landscaping business and one with Dalton Hospitality. Here’s a photo of the Polite Team and Wayne, who started his job with Dalton Hospitality within 24 hours after attending the BBQ:

With Wayne, now employed by Dalton Hospitality
We were very well looked after with staff from Dalton Hospitality doing the rounds several times, keeping us hydrated with freshly squeezed orange juice and watermelon juice, staff from St John Ambulance went around generously applying sunscreen onto countless arms, shoulders, and legs. The Christmas spirit was not forgotten either with St John and Santa (and what a beautiful Santa he was!) handing out Christmas stockings and candy canes.

Dalton Hospitality staff handing out a watermelon juice to one of our guests.
Like at the last BBQ we had, I was moved by the consideration homeless people showed others; they saw piles and piles of good quality clothes, shoes and what have you, and everything was for free: as long as they could carry it, it was theirs. Without exception these were people with very few possessions, but many of them were careful not to take too many things as others might need it more. And even though there was plenty (and I do mean plenty!) of food, they were also very careful not to have too much as they were very aware there were others needing a feed as well. We could all learn a lot from these people.

It was the first time that we had a shuttle bus driving people to and from the event, and what a great idea that was! People made good use of the service, the atmosphere was great when people waited to be transported and without a doubt even greater when on the road. Thank you Jay, for driving tirelessly and kindly.

Happy people after a great day in the sun, waiting to be driven back to the Valley and Spring Hill
Finally, before signing off, a word of thanks to everyone who made this event happen. Without each and every one of you this event would not have been the same. Thank you to the many volunteers and to the businesses who contributed in fantastic ways. I tried to keep it alphabetical but somehow it did not work entirely:

Making a Difference - Brisbane

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from The Polite Team 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

24 hours before a BBQ

Well I’ve been here many of times before,2am and 24 hours before putting on a BBQ for the homeless and worrying about if there’s enough food, drinks, clothes, chairs, marquees, toiletries, helpers and of course is there enough homeless and people in need to help. You see I only do this to help as many people as I can, not to see how big I can put an event together.


I know how these events have helped so many people in the past and I couldn’t be prouder to know I never done it for them, but to have helped them to do it themselves.


I was just reminded about a saying something I’d say a lot a year ago and it seems to fit perfectly right now. “Sometimes just saying Hi could be that turn around for someone in life because someone cares.” I really think that’s why these BBQ’s are so successful. We have a homeless person sitting eating a hamburger next to a working person eating a hamburger and talking. Trust me some of it rubs off and a lot of homeless and people in need start feeling more value in themselves and head towards getting on their feet.


At these BBQ’s I’m always looking for the ones that really want to get on their feet and then I grab them and really start to help them as much as I can without looking like I’m doing it for them. I feel if a person feels they didn’t do it themselves then they will think they couldn’t have done it and soon believe it’s okay to fail because they weren’t ready.


This is the biggest event I have ever put together, I mean we expect 1,000 homeless/ people in need turning up. There’s more organizations coming and because we had to change our date I lost one of my biggest backers. OHNO. Ha ha


In a way I can’t wait until tomorrow morning at the start of the event, because then there’s two things happening.

1/ what is there is there and I done the best I could and I stop worrying about what is needed, because it’s too late.

2/ Once everything is setup then there’s only helping people left to do and that’s what all this work is for.


I got to say seeing homeless and people in need picking up clothes and things and being helped by all the helpers around them is one of the most joyest moments there is for me.


I have to make this post short because I have so much to do and I started writing this as a break from everything. But I only have 24 hours left and too much to do.


Thank you very much for reading my blog and if you can come down and give a hand for this event please do. I hope you all have a great day.


BBQ for the Homeless

Musgrave Park

10am to 2pm Sunday 2 Dec


Grant the Polite Guy from the Polite Team

0412 190 011

Twitter @grantpoliteguy