Rosies Sunshine Coast hosted their annual Christmas in July. Presents were donated and wrapped by Students from Iona College. The school organised more presents to be distributed at our Wynnum Manly outreaches. It was a simple but thoughtful gesture. Many of our patrons were moved by the idea of receiving each a personal present.

Rosies branch coordinators were very active visiting schools. Rosies Brisbane coordinator visited Lourdes Hill College in Hawthorn, Our Lady’s of the Assumption in Enoggera, and St James Catholic Primary School in Coorparoo. She shared her rich experience on outreach. Rosies Cairns coordinator Lyall picked up donations from St Mary’s Catholic College and St Gerard Majella School.

Rosies Beenleigh coordinator Lisa  took part in Year 8 students’ sleep out , ‘Sleep in a Box’, from Windaroo Valley State High School. Students cleaned the Rosies van. They loaded it with donations including sleeping bags, instant coffee, and non-perishable food in return for a hot Milo and a chat. Lisa talked about Rosies and the people we serve in Beenleigh. The students had many well informed questions and at one stage the discussion ventured around to drugs and they listened in awe about some of our team’s street experiences. We talked about how some people choose to live on the streets and that some have no choice. One of our local patrons lives in a car – a man who had a successful profession and a wife and children until things went wrong. It was an eye opening experience for the students.

We have been overwhelmed by local acts of kindness. Many knitting groups supplied us with their wonderful creations. Families generously donated many valuable outreach supplies.  Businesses, such as the Australia Post on the Gold Coast, coordinated significant drives to support their local branches.

These Rosies Cairns volunteers will receive a special mention for the 25th celebration, as the longest serving in Queensland.

How long have you been involved with Rosies?

I joined Rosies Youth Mission (as it was called back then) in 2002. My daughter has been involved from a young age and as an adult, she continues to volunteer.

What keeps you involved?

At each outreach I meet new people from different walks of life. I enjoy talking with patrons over a cup of coffee and a bit of food. As a team leader I enjoy taking new volunteers and students out on outreach and listening to their experiences and thoughts of the outreach at the end of the night. How do you deal with seeing people struggle? It is hard seeing people struggle but we are limited to what we can do. We have resources where we can guide patrons to services, but it is still hard to leave. Over the years I have listened to patrons telling me their life stories and I often wonder where they ended up.

What is the most heartwarming thing that’s happened from being involved with Rosies?

Rosies has been volunteering in Cairns for 25 years and I am always amazed at the growing support from the Cairns community, which is evident in the growing number of volunteers and organisations that donate to Rosies, so we can provide a valuable service back to the community. A lot of the patrons thank us for coming out and spending that time with them, sharing a coffee and some food.

How long have you been involved with Rosies?

This is my 16th year, you do one year as a provisional member.

What keeps you involved?

I love the Rosies philosophy of being there for those in need. It is a way of doing something rather than just talking about doing something. It is a way of being of service. We are all called to serve. In giving you receive. I love the sense of community in our team and the link between Rosies and the school communities, and the parish communities who support Rosies on an ongoing basis. Also, the wider community of Cairns is very supportive of Rosies’ good work.

How do you deal with seeing people struggle?

It is difficult but of course sometimes you can help in a practical way. Often a Rosies group will not actually know of their impact. Being there for the marginalised and treating them as dignified human beings is the most important aspect. Hence the the term Friends on The Street.

What is the most heartwarming thing that’s happened from being involved with Rosies?

I cannot think of one individual thing but often people stop and ask how can they get involved with Rosies and make donations of money on the spot. If a patron returns and has made it out of their difficulty, that is heartwarming and then you know that we have had a positive impact on that person

How long have you been involved with Rosies?

Since 2012.

What keeps you involved?
The volunteers and patrons are great company. I would not stop going. I feel like the patrons don’t have too many friends in the community, often complained about and looked down on by so many. I want them to know I value my time with them by being around. How do you deal with seeing people struggle? I cope fine these days, I’m used to seeing the hardships. If something shocks me I probably shed a tear on the drive home.

What is the most heartwarming thing that’s happened from being involved with Rosies?

I had some very appreciative patrons but one woman comes to mind for me. She had been beaten and strangled so badly she could only swallow rice. I tried really hard to find her a bed as it was her first few days on the street. She couldn’t go home. Services had been cut and all beds were full at that time but she was still incredibly grateful. She asked me if I was cold just wearing a T-shirt! It’s sometimes hard to leave the patrons, you wish you could do more.

friendship with hospitality

Cairns has developed a unique way of providing friendship with hospitality

THE abandoned, the socially isolated and the lonely are given a shoulder to lean on and a warm meal four nights a week by a group of volunteers who are trying to help the homeless and the disadvantaged of Cairns. About 170 volunteers of Rosies Friends on the Street have formed a kind of family and it’s this warmth and generosity that reaches out four nights a week from 7pm on Draper St. Tonight, this “family” will gather to celebrate the service reaching 25 years of operation on Cairns streets, while paying tribute to some of its longest serving volunteers and the Cairns businesses that keep the charity running.

Among those who will be recognised at the Rosies Cairns Branch 25 Years Strong evening is Joyce Coutts, who has been involved with Rosies for 22 years. At 85 years old, the Gordonvale resident can no longer volunteer with the service, having stopped about a year ago. “I just loved doing it,” she says. “I would have kept on going a while longer but I can’t drive at night anymore.” Joyce is a humble woman. When Rosies co-ordinator Lyall Forde told her she was the only platinum volunteer being recognised on the night, she had a pretty straight response for him. “I said they don’t have to give me a party,” she says. Joyce has seven children – four girls and three boys – and is the youngest from a family of eight. Her husband died while the children were young, leaving Joyce to work and raise them. By the time the kids were older and a little more independent, she became involved with Rosies.

I’m a Catholic and I heard about it and decided I wanted to go, and went, and that’s it,” she says.

“The people that need help came to Rosies and we would give them something to take home. It was really good. I enjoyed every minute of it. We would take sandwiches and fruit, and went down with whatever we had. Now I am 85, I am just too old to really do much.”


Among those who will be recognised at the Rosies Cairns Branch 25 Years Strong evening is Joyce Coutts,

Joyce’s daughter, Gloria Hinspeter, will join her mother for the Rosies celebration tonight and says the recognition for her is well deserved. “I think her life as it was, made her the woman she is today,” Gloria says. “She was always giving as much as she can and I have the utmost respect for her and what she has achieved in her life. Quite a few times lots of the family would say, ‘You shouldn’t be going there, it’s dangerous,’ but she would not listen to anyone. “She did not think it was dangerous, she would just say ‘it’s good for me and I’ll know when it’s time to give it up’. “She is very committed to doing what she could to help others.” The tales of selflessness continue and among them is that of Cairns branch co-ordinator Lyall Forde.

Lyall was working in the medical field when he decided he should be doing more than “collect the weekly salary”. He joined Rosies 15 years ago and now co-ordinates the local operation. He has now retired from his work as a psychiatric and general nurse, which included 20 years in Papua New Guinea. Twelve of those years were spent in “the bush” where he established a clinic for people who had lived whole lives with no medicine. “This was in 1976 and they had never had anything,” he says. “I had a 12-hour walk to the village and I stayed there with other nurses,” he says. “It was a team and I managed to start a school too. There were no older people and 78 per cent of all children died before the age of two (due mostly to malaria). We reduced it to 25 per cent. It was probably some of the happiest years of my life.” With up to 170 local volunteers with the service, Lyall says they are never short of helpers. “They are a cheerful crowd. They make me proud,” he says.

One of the things about Rosies is we don’t put much demand on volunteers. We don’t have meetings and we ask them to come once a month only. That could be the reason for our success. You join and you do a night and then you go home. For the first six months you only do once a month, otherwise you burn out. We’ve got almost 170 in Cairns – that’s a lot of good people. I think people want to do something good.”

Among those volunteers are Cairns high schools, which have partnered with Rosies, so students can get involved. Lyall says students attend with a teacher or parent and get to see “another side of life”. Meanwhile, Rosies continues to operate successfully on the generosity of Cairns. The Muslim community has for years donated all the meals needed for a night, packaged and ready to go once a month. Hotels and church groups also regularly lend a hand. In fact, Double Tree Hilton, where the Rosies 25-year celebration is being held, has donated everything for the evening.

Cairns is generous. There are wonderful people in the community,” Lyall says.

All walks of life access the service, with Lyall saying they regularly feed and offer friendship to the very young right through to the very old.

I never ask where they are living,” he says. “They may tell me they’ve got a flat and pay $180 a week but they’ve got no money left or any extra money is going to cigarettes.”



winter friends on the street

Steve and Julie have donated beautiful blankets for our #friendsonthestreet
this Winter.

Temperatures have dropped, but  it has neither deterred our volunteers  nor it has discouraged our many friends on the street to join us on outreach.

In fact, we have all been warmed by some amazing selfless gestures.  Steve and Julie beautifully illustrate it. Steve has been a quadriplegic for the past 8 years since a brain aneurysm. Yet, he  and Julie first thought of others when the cold nights arrived. Steve’s brain damage may restrict physical movement and speech, but there is  nothing wrong with his heart!

In the meantime, our Gold Coast Drop In Centre received a visit from Cheryl Cliff, chairperson of Wallboard Tools, as well as Jim, a committee member. They brought a large donation of biscuits, non perishable foods and hygiene packs. Rosies was also nominated Charity of Choice at VIVA Surfers Paradise’s Gospel Song with Jay Dupuis as Elvis. Some of our beautiful volunteers came along and got their photo taken with ‘the King’.  In Brisbane the St George Indian Orthodox Church led multiple outreach supplies drives  and Cosies for Rosies knitted a large number of beanies, scarves, and blankets. In Wynnum Manly Pizza Capers brought us some pizzas and drinks while we were outreaching.


Rosies was charity of choice for the Gospel Songs with JAY DUPUIS AS ELVIS at VIVA Surfers Paradise an event enjoyed by our Rosies volunteers

All these donations have greatly appreciated by our many friends on the street. THANK YOU for them!

Once again Rosies’ schools have shown their fantastic support thanks to Our Lady of the Way Catholic Primary School and Villanova College, both in Brisbane. The first one organised a fundraiser to raise supplies for our outreaches. The school awarded two prizes for ‘Most Number of Products Donated’ and for ‘Tallest Tower Built’ with outreach supplies. Cuppa noodles seemed to be the best construction material in that  instance. Students at Villanova College organised a walk on the river at West End where they met with Rosies Brisbane Coordinator Sarah. Sarah spoke about the role of Rosies and its impact on our patrons. She shared her personal experience with Rosies. The College then made a significant donation of blankets and hygiene items to be distributed to our many friends.

Rosies would also like to thank Timeshare industry for a day on the golf course to raise funds to support Rosies. Their incredible support will keep an outreach going for a year. Thank you Laura and the team!

It gets chilly at night and the temptation to remain in bed in the mornings grows from day to day. Think of those who do not have a bed…


Chilly morning at Homeless Connect

Our schools led some much needed drives last month to support our friends on the street, while a couple of real-estate agencies offered two of our branches a hand. In June Rosies seized the opportunity to raise awareness about homelessness in South East Queensland by once more getting involved  in the CEO Sleepout and Homeless Connect both taking place in Brisbane.

Our Lady of the Way Catholic Primary School, St Joachim’s Catholic Primary School, Iona College in Brisbane, and St Andrew’s Catholic College in Cairns held their Winter drives to support Rosies and our many friends on the street. Our outreach supplies are regularly running low over the cold winter months. Demand is high for a cup of coffee or soup. In Cairns our branch is calling for blankets and St Andrew’s Catholic College has mobilised its energy to raise as many blankets as possible. One of the college students, Mathilda, made and donated some toiletry pack from her own initiative! The inspiring student added a handwritten note in each pack reminding the recipient of the toiletry packs that they are ‘awesome’.

CEO Sleepout Brisbane

The Rosies team at the CEO Sleepout in Brisbane

Rosies Toowoomba received some much needed help from QLD Hot Property in Toowoomba to go through the first cold Winter weeks. In the meantime Mark Cheney from Remax Ultimate, Burpengary contacted our Coordinator in Caboolture Helen to offer his support for Rosies. As our van needed a bit of a make over Mark offered to pay to have the van decals replaced and some rust cut out and a general cut, polish and buff. The work is now complete and Mark dropped by to inspect the finished product and got a big THANK YOU from Helen.

An outreach to a different group of patrons. Rosies served soup and shared friendship with over 100 rough sleepers at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout under the Story Bridge. All patrons were well behaved. Thanks again to our volunteers and a lovely group of students from northern NSW.
Rosies also took part in Homeless Connect. Event during which our Brisbane Coordinator Sarah caught up with one of our long time regular Trevor.