Grant serves up hope for needy with cafe venture
NOTHING is impossible if you just have a go - that's the opportunity entrepreneur and former homeless man "Grant the Polite Guy" is offering the needy of Ipswich.
Having A Go Cafe, a coffee shop run solely by the homeless and people in need, opened its doors in Limestone St on Tuesday.
Owner Grant Richards plans to roll out 50 cafes across Brisbane to help those destitute to build their confidence and give them their lives back.
Ipswich marks the second destination Mr Richards has ticked off his list. He said he is making preparations to open a second cafe in the city in the future.
"We have had 109 applications from people in Ipswich who want a chance to get back on their feet and get a job," he said.
"I'll be hiring the ones who show initiative and will keep the applications on file. I hope to give everyone the opportunity at one stage."
The 42-year-old knows too well what it's like to live rough on the streets. He had successful career and family before a freak stairwell collapse in 2009 left him hospitalised.
"I was a head chef and had an accident which took all of three seconds. I was in hospital for nine months and homeless for a year and a half. I lost my house, my marriage, everything," he said.
Mr Richards has now devoted his life to helping others.
His new venture has received backing from Ipswich-based company Australia Wide First Aid which has agreed to help fund the projects.
Federal member for Blair Shayne Neumann and councillor Andrew Antoniolli officially opened the cafe.
"I congratulate Australia Wide First Aid for showing Good Samaritan care in getting behind Grant and providing employment and assistance to people in need in Ipswich," Mr Neumann said.
"ABS data shows one-in-200 Australians are homeless or at risk of homelessness every single night.
"Grant knows firsthand that everyone is only one illness, one injury or one pay check away from homelessness."
A donation of 20c from each cup of coffee sold goes towards Signal Flare, a charity barbecue for people in need in Ipswich. The store is also inviting customers to purchase suspended coffees for those who cannot afford a morning cuppa.
The cafe is at 61 Limestone St, Ipswich. It is open Monday to Friday, 6am to 4pm, weekends 7am to 2pm.