Moreton Bay Regional Councillor, Adrian Raedel, who has announced he will be running for Mayor at the next council election, is well known for his unorthodox approach, when it comes community engagement. And supporting community groups in their fundraising efforts is no different.
The use of Cr Raedel’s equipment at no cost to community groups, which includes outdoor movie equipment, sound equipment, popcorn making equipment and much more – along with his on-the-ground support of events – has led to tens-of-thousands-of-dollars being raised for much needed causes.
Vice President of North Lakes Lions Club, Greg Milne has seen first hand what happens when Cr Raedel supports a community group. This was during a fundraising project called ‘A Dog for James’, which was to fund a Smart Pup for a child in the Moreton Bay Region with special needs.
“So, when James’s mum came and requested for our support, we decided that really this was a great need, not just for James, but also for his family and for his community,” Moreton Bay Region resident Greg Milne said in the video above.
“So as a club, we engaged with a number of people around the community to see if they could support us and work with us to help us fundraise, to help the family raise $20,000 that they need to for their Smart Pup (trained service dogs to assist children with special needs).
“It just blew me away right through this process, Andrew.
“The just sensational heart that people have in our community, particularly when we know that we can actually impact on a child’s life. And the future of this child, we know … It’s just incredible the amount of great people who have wonderful hearts in the community.
“And Councillor Adrian Raedel was one of those who when he heard about James’s story and what we were trying to do to support James and his family, he just came straight on board.
“And one of the things that was amazing is that when we requested for some support from Adrian, he could’ve made a donation of some kind, and we would have been extremely grateful for that.
“But no, Councillor Raedel came up with a far greater idea by giving us a platform, with his support to be able to fundraise a far greater amount than what we could have ever imagined.
“So, we’re very, very grateful for his support, and his wife Kerry’s support.
“The main project, and this was his idea, was a movie night. And that was to create a community event that people could come along to and engage in and engage with one another, but also understand what they were there for was to actually help fundraise for James’s Smart Pup. And so, the community came along to a movie night that Adrian supported us with all his equipment, his screen, his projector.
“He supplied the movie, which comes at a cost to him. And he also allowed us to use his equipment, which is a popcorn machine, a snow cone machine, fairy floss machine.
“So, we were able to put on an event for the community that people could come along totally free for them to come along, engage with one another, enjoy … They had to pay for the snow cones and the fairy floss etc. We also put on a Sausage Sizzle as well.
“All that money that they were spending on those refreshments and so forth was all going towards fundraising for James’s Smart Pup and of course we also encourage people to give donations on the night as well. And we were just very overwhelmed by the support from the community, and we raised over $2,000 that night, which all went straight to the account for James’s Smart Pup fundraising account, which was just awesome.
“And we couldn’t have done that without Councillor Adrian Raedel’s support, without a doubt.”
Cr Adrian Raedel explained how he came to amass the equipment, which he donates the use of to community groups.
“Back when I had a signwriting business, we were always involved in the community groups, community organisations with their events and even with Council with their events,” Cr Raedel explained.
“I’d also rock up and help and volunteer at the events as well. And it was just great to see the community come together at these events.
“So, we would supply signs, we’d help. It was a great atmosphere.
“I was the president of Apex for a while, but Lions, Rotary, there is a whole range of community groups in Caboolture that really made our community very, very vibrant.
“For a little while after being elected, I still had my sign business and we still helped out with the local groups, giving them signs and donating signs to them.
“But then we moved away from that, having been elected for a little bit longer. But I always figured there’s only ever one opportunity at any event for one Sausage Sizzle.
“So, we thought, ‘Is there anything else we can do to make it so that other groups can be involved as well and other groups can use it as a fundraising exercise?’
“So, we started off with movies. We’ve got a giant inflatable screen, and we then progressed to get popcorn as you do. You got movies, you need popcorn, fairy floss, and then snow cones.
“And what we do is we lend this gear out to community groups free of charge. It doesn’t cost anything.
“And off they go. It’s been quite amazing to watch.
“So, if you see behind me, we’ve just added the food vending trailer. And to make it easier, it’s got a little sink in it. We just pull up at the event, pull everything out of it, the movie gear.
“You’ve got everything lined up on a stainless-steel bench and away they go.
“So, I think I’m up to my.., I think the second movie screen.
“So, we’ve worn one out already and this one, so this is over about 10 years.
“So, yeah, look, we just have a lot of fun. We help community groups. We often come along and actually volunteer as well.
“They (community groups) take the gear and they can bounce off of it and make thousands.
“We’ve been quite amazed to, I guess see the different groups and how they’ve used it.
“So, the movie gear has gone out to the James Drysdale Reserve down at Arana Hills.
“Around the hills there’s a soccer club down there that use it a number of times, but small amounts.
“So, we get a football sign on day and to see a lot of fairy floss, popcorn and snow cones, it may turn a buck. That’s a little one.
“But then you go to the other extreme, so the North Lakes Lions did a fundraising day or movie night to raise money for a Smart Pup. And they raised like over two-grand in one night.
“You go to the Wamuran Lions and they’ve raised, I think on the night they’ve raised like four-and-a-half-grand to help Brianna who’s a little girl who was very sick at the time.
“And we did a live stream from her hospital bed because she couldn’t make it to the event, and we put it up on the big screen. And just to see the look on her face because she was able to see how many people were there supporting her and supporting that event was just amazing.
“The Lions down at North Lakes, their event, it was just a sea of people. It was just quite amazing.
“It just brings the community together so well. And it gives, like I said, opportunities for other groups to be involved in an event rather than just the one sausage sizzle.
“So, it means you can have three or four groups all doing something different or raising money for, I guess their charities or the things that they do in the community, but it just brings so many people together.”
Mr Milne shared a couple of touching stories of giving during the Dog for James fundraiser, and invited community members to get involved in the North Lakes Lions Club.
“I’ll explain, perhaps share with you a couple of experiences,” Mr Milne shared.
“On the night of the movie night, I was just up the front, just on the microphone announcing and just reminding people why we were there and that was to help fundraise for James.
“And while it’s awesome bringing the community together, any support that people could give would be much appreciated. And at that time, I had two or three little kids.
“They would have been lucky if they were five years old, all came up and handed me $5 notes each. And that brought me to tears because I just couldn’t believe that here they were just young kids, just coming forward and donating money to a stranger, which I just thought was awesome.
“But one which really had an impact was we were down here, the North Lakes Park Run on the Saturday morning prior to the movie night. And the next day we were also running another fundraising event also for fundraising for James’s Smart Pup, which was A Walk a Dog for James.
“So, we were promoting to the park runners both events, the movie night and the Walk a Dog.
“We were just handing out pamphlets as they would finish the park around here at North Lakes. And one gentleman stopped, and he read the pamphlet, and he just said, ‘This is exactly what I’ve been looking forward to give to.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s wonderful, sir.’ And he said, ‘I’d like to give $300.’ I said, ‘Excuse me.’ And he repeated it. And I said, ‘Well, that’s just incredible.’
“I shook his hand and I said, ‘Thank you so much.’ And I said, ‘Well, what I’d really encourage you to do if that’s okay, is to come along tomorrow morning or the next day, because James and Michelle and James’s family will be there. And I know they would want to say thank you so much for your very kind, generous donation.’
“So, the next morning at the Walk a Dog for James, he did turn up and Michelle, James and his mum and James and his stepdad were there.
“And I had the privilege of being able to connect them and introduce them to this wonderful person, who the day before he was a complete stranger to me, but he was now going to be donating $300 to this wonderful family.
“And he said, ‘Well, actually my wife and I have had a talk over the night and we’d now like to give $500.’
“So, that complete stranger donated $500 to A Dog for James project. And to me that was just an incredible moment. And even now when I’m telling you this now Andrew, I’m getting tingly and just sort of, because it was a really impactful moment and a real, I guess, example of members of our community just going, ‘You know what? I’m doing okay. Here’s another family that’s not doing quite so okay, I’m going to give what I can to support them and to help them through the time and need.’ And it just blew me away.
“With all the stuff that’s going on in communities and things like that, that might not be so good, there are moments like this that really, really encourage you to keep going and keep supporting what is a really cool community.
“We’re in great shape. So, we have actually met a $20,000 target, which is incredible. And that’s not just what we have managed to fundraise through the Lions Club, but it’s also some wonderful fundraising through James, his family. His family have been incredible and have been very generous with obviously their funds and their time. So, the wider family have done an amazing job at doing their fundraising.
“So, it’s been a combined effort between James’s family and the North Lakes Lions Club. And what also helped us, Andrew was we were also very supported by the Australian Lions Foundation. I applied for a grant of support from them, and they also have supported us with a $5,000 grant through this process.
“So, it’s been awesome. So, that means that because we were able to reach over that $20,000 minimum target, Smart Pups have now started training James’s Smart Pup.
“It will be another few months before James actually gets to meet his new pup. But the great thing is that we’re on a journey now where his Smart Pup is being trained.
“It’s growing up. It’s born. It’s grown. It’s being trained. It’s growing up. And hopefully in the coming months James will be united with his new Smart Pup and we’ll be able to experience some amazing impact and really be just, yeah, just have a whole new life ahead of him, which will be pretty exciting.
“Michelle, who’s James’s mum is always just saying, ‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.’ For the support that we’ve given her and James and the family. And I keep saying, ‘No, thank you. Thank you for coming to us because you have no idea the impact that you’ve had on us being able to help and support you.’
“And my real message in that is that while you’re supporting other people, it just gives you so much joy and happiness to be able to be somebody that is actually having an impact on other people’s lives.
“And it’s not an ego thing or anything like that. It’s just wonderful to be a part of that sort of process.
“So, anybody who has a heart to want to serve the community, the Lions Club is just an awesome, awesome platform to be able to do that because as individuals we want to do things, but as a team and as a group, we can accomplish so much more.
“So, the North Lakes Lions Club has about 32, 33 members at the moment, but we would always encourage more.
“So, if you can give just a little bit of time, I’d love to be able to speak to you.
“You can come along to one of our meetings, meet the guys, meet everybody, just get an understanding of what we do, how we do it, and then you can make a decision from there.
“But I’d encourage you to come along and meet everyone and just see what we do and how the meetings are run.
“But if you’d like to do that, please just contact me. I’m more than happy to give my phone number is 0422422710, or my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org,” Mr Milne concluded.
If you’re a community group and would like Cr Raedel’s assistance, he has provided contact details.
“Jump on the website, adrianraedel.com.au – all the details are on there – they can jump on and fill out the form or get the other contact details off there,” Cr Raedel offered.