Kitchen to serve up benefits to Cairns community

Media Release

FN088/2017

08 June 2017

Joint release with:

Warren Entsch

Federal Member for Leichhardt

  • The Junction Clubhouse Kitchen refurbishment is now complete
  • New kitchen facilities will provide hospitality training for members and catering services to the community
  • The Coalition Government invested $60,000

The community of Cairns today celebrated the opening of the newly refurbished Junction Clubhouse Kitchen in Parramatta Park.

Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash and Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch joined the community for the opening today.

Minister Nash said The Junction Clubhouse is not just a mental health service; it is a community partnership where members work together to participate in and contribute to the community of Cairns.

“I am thrilled to be part of this project. This organisation provides life-changing support to people dealing with mental health issues and allows them to re-connect with their community,” Minister Nash said.

“I aim to help build the kinds of communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to, and having access to community support through organisations like The Junction Clubhouse does just that.”

Mr Entsch is a strong supporter of The Junction, as it is the only organisation providing this type of assistance to people overcoming mental health challenges in the Far North.

“The Junction does fabulous work helping people who are recovering from mental illness to transition back into the community, whether it's through informal social gatherings, assisting them in finding accommodation or employment, or teaching them new skills,” he explained.

The newly upgraded kitchen facilities are set to provide a range of benefits to the area.

“The commercial-grade kitchen will give Clubhouse members the opportunity to develop new skills which they can use to get jobs. We could soon see members using these skills in local restaurants and hotels as we welcome visitors from Asia and beyond,” Mr Entsch said.

“The Clubhouse will also generate income by providing catering services to local businesses and hiring out the venue to local industry for hospitality training. This will help pay for the operating costs.

“This upgrade included the purchase and installation of new flooring, plumbing, and new electrical appliances to the existing kitchen, and with the creation of two jobs during construction, it has already paid dividends for the community.”

This project was jointly funded with the Coalition Government providing $60,000, fulfilling a 2016 Federal Election commitment, and the Mental Illness Fellowship of North Queensland providing $2,693.

Dorothy Dunne, Director of The Junction Clubhouse, welcomed the Federal Government's support for the upgrade saying it would create a whole range of new opportunities for members.

“By upgrading the kitchen to a commercial standard, it means that members will be able to learn new skills in food handling and preparation,” she explained.

“We really want to get to the point where we can have someone coming in to do accredited training – a Certificate II or III in Hospitality for example, so that people are actually working towards a qualification.

“If we can get local businesses or organisations on board and cater for their board meetings or lunches, then it also generates income for The Junction and will help us achieve our goal of financial sustainability.”

Mr Entsch (left) and Minister Nash (centre) at the unveiling of a plaque to mark the opening of The Junction’s kitchen refurbishment.