SHOW CAUSE: Christine and Ian Robins have drawn some unwanted attention for their charitable efforts at The Summit.
SHOW CAUSE: Christine and Ian Robins have drawn some unwanted attention for their charitable efforts at The Summit. Matthew Purcell

Charity couple issued council warning after complaints

THE charitable work of Chris and Ian Robins has come under scrutiny from Southern Downs Regional Council.

The couple run the Food is Free initiative from their home at The Summit, as well as not-for-profit organisation the Purple Dove Awareness Group.

The idea behind Food is Free is simple. People in need can stop in and pick up free fresh produce as they need it. All the Robins ask is that when you can, you drop something back that someone else might want.

But they have been sent a 'Show Cause' notice by SDRC, with the council claiming they were acting on complaints from the community.

"Council has received several complaints regarding activities being conducted at 19 Church Road, The Summit," a council spokeswoman said.

"It was found that the owners of this property conduct a charity called Purple Dove Awareness Group, and operate a food and clothes shop and monthly markets from the address.

"The owners have been advised that they require planning approval to operate a shop from this location.

"Council has had several meetings with the owners to assist them in obtaining the necessary approval. This will not only resolve the complaints council has received, but will ensure the charity continues with its work," the spokeswoman stated.

Since receiving the notice, residents across the Granite Belt have thrown their support behind the Robins.

A petition supporting their work garnered approximately 100 signatures and council were sent multiple letters, backing the couple.

"It is with utter dismay that we learn that the local council are planning to apply fees to such a generous organisation," vice president of charity organisation, Hope Horizons, Peter Turnbull said.

"(I) would urge the council to reconsider their decision to do this to people simply trying to help their fellow neighbours in need."

Long-time friend, Sue-ann Sullivan, sent a similarly supportive letter to council.

"Everything they do to support our community is at their own expense," she said.

"They are to be admired for all they do for our region and all they give to Stanthorpe and wider community."

The matter has been referred to councils Director of Sustainable Development for further consideration

"We're just waiting to see what the result is from council before speaking publicly," Mr Robins said.

Here's what you said:

Louise Bentley: Maybe the council could help people without the $$$$ sign being incorporated

Bronwyn Coughran: I have just very recently met Chris and Ian And found that there Love and charity work so inspiring so relentless for others giving all to others...

Kirsten Terlingen: Chris and Ian Robbins - you don't know me, but I have admired your work from afar. Thank you for what you do. SDRC seems too heavy handed. There are other places in Aus working quite happily with these sort of schemes.

Tobi Budster: Are people really complaining or is that just the words of SDRC?

Donna Perkins: FGS. Shameful that the council is doing this. Have they not noticed that our communities are hurting, and that these wonderful people have gone far and beyond to help others in their time of need. To the person or persons that complained, God forbid that you may need a helping hand one day and that someone is there to help you in your time of need. Get a life and stop whinging!!

Ernesta Fa: Well Done Chris and Ian doing an amazing help to the people in need Keep your good work up. Must of us are supporting you. And it is about time Stanthorpe move on away from that Warwick Shire Stanthorpe can do really. well and can Start building our dams for water

Audra Allen: Keep it up Chris and Ian. The council is only complaining because they can't get a financial cut. Hands off Southern Downs Regional Council!!! These folks are doing exactly what we all should be doing rather than rely on the government!!!

Debbie Jewlachow: Good job well done. Can't see that there is a problem here. Good community spirit that's what I would call it

Shane Bexton: Disgruntled opposition by the sounds of it