Community stories: 27 May 2020
The Boulia Shire, located in Central West Queensland, has been in drought since April 2013. With a total population of 426, Boulia residents are turning to community groups to stay active and connected.
These not-for-profit groups are relying on events – such as BBQ fundraisers – to sustain their activities. But it’s not easy. Without access to commercial BBQ equipment, fundraising opportunities are limited. Some groups choose to use privately owned BBQ’s, but these are clunky to move, and raise concerns about volunteer safety.
The Boulia Shire Council is the main employer in the area and supports 12 local community groups. To provide better fundraising opportunities across all groups, the Council set a new objective in 2018 – to source a multi-purpose BBQ unit.
The Council receieved a $26,000 grant from the Tackling Tough Times Together program, funded by Tim and Gina Fairfax, to purchase their new Chill’n’Grill BBQ trailer. The trailer included a fridge and safety equipment, which would allow community groups to transport and operate it safely.
Since its arrival in January 2019, the BBQ trailer has been widely used in the Boulia community. It was first fired up for Australia Day celebrations, which was a big hit on all accounts. Later in the year, the Central West Hospital and Health Services used it for its ‘Health & Wellbeing’ visits and for the ‘Man with a Pram’ Father’s Day function. The BBQ trailer quickly became a popular meeting spot at these events, as attendees could gather around it to share a snack, socialise and show support for neighbours experiencing hardship.
“The trailer has made our working times so much more enjoyable,” said one group organiser. “Great resource. Easy to use, very clean and also easy to clean.”
The Boulia Shire Council is proud of its new fundraising equipment. They are committed to covering ongoing costs for the trailer and are confident their local groups will continue to use it. “This is the start of a domino effect,” a Council representative said. “Better experiences for organisers mean a better chance of more activities, events and functions for the community.”