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New equipment will help to improve patient comfort at Babinda Hospital, thanks to the generosity of the local Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge.

With the assistance of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, the Lodge has committed more than $5,000 to help Babinda Hospital to purchase two standard and two bariatric wheelchairs as well as a laryngoscope.

Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge representative Mal Holst said it’s not the first time they’ve gotten behind the local hospital which looks after as many as 3,500 patients a year.

“The Freemasons support of Babinba Hospital dates back many years and following the recent amalgamation of Bartle Frere and Pyramid Highleigh Lodges, we made the unanimous decision to make this donation to the hospital,” Mal said.

“The work of Babinda Hospital is essential to the region, given that the next closest hospitals are in Cairns and Innisfail and the more resources that we have locally, the better it is for the community.

“The new wheelchairs will help to ensure more patients move through the hospital with ease and without delay. While the additional laryngoscope will help with the examination of patients’ throat, larynx or voice box.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the organisation was pleased to augment the grassroots charity work of Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge.

“Enhancing the quality of life of patients in smaller rural hospitals is a very worthy cause, and we are appreciative of Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge for identifying this need in their local area,” Gary said.

“By combining our efforts, we have been able to make a bigger difference for the community of Babinda.”

Photo: Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge representatives alongside Babinda Hospital staff.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Highfields Pioneer Village is another step closer to reopening thanks to a $10,000 COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The community hub for education, recreation and connections will put the funds towards making the necessary safety modifications needed to comply with COVID-19 health requirements.

Highfields Pioneer Village President Mervyn Polzin said the not-for-profit was thankful for the grant, saying that it was a huge help.

“Our aim is to make the village safe for everybody as we learn to operate in this new environment,” Mervyn said.

“This includes taking extra steps to make it safer for our more vulnerable visitors with disabilities as well as our older volunteers.

“We’re hopeful that we will be able to reopen in September.”

Crows Nest Cooyar Freemasons Lodge representative Ian Hotchin said they nominated the local organisation for the funding.

“Highfields Pioneer Village has brought local history to life for many years, and it is important that we get behind them in times like these,” Ian said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“We are glad Freemasons could provide this hand up at a time when communities need extra support.”

Photo: Highfields Pioneer Village President Mervyn Polzin and Crows Nest Cooyar Freemasons Lodge representative Ian Hotchin.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

The construction of Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Hervey Bay’s new $1.3 Million vessel is taking shape, with only a matter of months to go before it leaves the workshop.

Yesterday, some of the Freemasons of the Wide Bay visited the Allweld Manufacturing workshop in Maryborough to inspect Rescue I, the 11.94-metre vessel which will be used to conduct rescues and medical evacuations in Fraser Coast waters. Last year, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provided a $400,000 Significant Grant towards the construction of the new vessel. At the time VMR Hervey Bay had secured $160,000 in state government funding and had raised more than $767,000. A number of Freemason Lodges in the region championed the grant, helping to get the initiative over the line.

Wide Bay Freemason Russell Darcy said it was a very special occasion as it was the first time that some of the local Freemasons had been able to get up close to see the progress that has been made, having previously only seen sketches of the rescue vessel.

“It looks marvellous, what’s been done so far, we are grateful to VMR Hervey Bay and Allweld Manufacturing for giving us this opportunity to get a sneak peek of the new vessel,” Mr Darcy said.

VMR Hervey Bay Commodore Jill Barclay said Rescue I was on track for completion in November, with the big move to Hervey Bay expected to go ahead then, followed by sea trials and training scheduled for December and January.

“The Fraser Coast is the state’s third-busiest rescue zone, and the addition of Rescue I to our fleet will be a huge plus, enabling us to keep providing marine safety services in our part of Queensland into the future,” Commodore Barclay said.

“January 2020 saw the delivery of the first material to Allweld, with February marking the start of construction.

“By May, the structure was turned over, and we had what was starting to look like a very nice boat. Since then, the structure was fully welded to the build specifications.

“This month, the decks have been laid, fuel tanks made tested and installed, and the Samson post put in place.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was proud to support this important regional initiative on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.

“This new vessel will enable VMR Hervey Bay to deliver an essential service to those on the Fraser Coast waterways in the years to come, and we are delighted to have worked with the local Freemasons to play a part in helping to fulfil this need in the Wide Bay region,” Mr Mark said.

“We are very much looking forward to celebrating the commissioning of the vessel with the people of the Wide Bay early next year.”

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Five Rural Fire Brigades in the Lockyer Valley region will be able to upgrade some of their equipment after recently sharing in a $10,000 donation provided by the local Freemasons.

Argyle Freemasons Lodge, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, provided the funds, having been motivated by the efforts of the firemen and women across the country during the disastrous bushfire season, which began in September last year.

Argyle Freemasons Lodge Treasurer Peter Hooper said Mulgowie, Blenheim, Hatton Vale, Grandchester and Woodlea Rural Fire Brigades would be able to purchase upgraded equipment such as blowers, GPSs, generators and other items that are not provided by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service.

“Needs within our local community are often the focus of our charity work,” Peter said.

“The recent bushfires devastated so many communities around the country, so we felt that it was important that we did our bit to support our local firies as a thank you for protecting our community both now and into the future.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that help to alleviate suffering and misfortune aligned with his organisations work at a grassroots level.

“We commend Argyle Lodge for identifying this local initiative so that together, we could provide a hand up with much-needed equipment to carry out their job on the frontline,” he said.

Photo: Mulgowie Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Andrew Hooper, Argyle Freemasons Lodge representatives Peter Hooper, Rub Logan and Keith Jensen and Mulgowie Rural Fire Brigade first officer Roy Emmerson.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

“It’s ON! Join us for the 10th Annual Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Ride on Saturday 12th September.”

The event’s Naming Rights Sponsor, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has reconfirmed their commitment of $25,000 towards the Ride as well as a further $50,000 to kick off the fundraising effort in support of the three local benefiting charities, including the Suicide Prevention Community Action Planning Group’s Men’s Campaign based at ‘selectability’, RACQ CQ Rescue and the Mackay and District Sporting Wheelies.

Event Organiser Evan Corry said they are excited to deliver this event in these difficult times.

“A lot of work has been done to modify the event and ensure it can operate within COVID-19 guidelines and we feel these modifications will enhance our 2020 event rather than detract from it,” Mr Corry said.

“2020 marks the 10th year for the event which has raised over half a million dollars for local charities and has touched so many lives since its inception, so we are delighted to keep the event going to ensure funding for our valuable local charities and to help boost morale in the community at a time where it’s needed more than ever.”

This year’s Ride will include a family friendly “Ride the River” category incorporating the Blue Water Trail, allowing Mums, Dads and the kids to participate in the event on the safe path network. There will be no ‘mass start’, with riders able to choose a start time between 6am and 9am, reducing any crowding at the event, as well as family friendly pricing with optional 10th Anniversary Australian Made jerseys.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was proud to stand by the event and encouraged the community to do the same either by participating in September’s Ride or by donating.

“Despite all of the challenges, the organisers have pulled out all the stops to make this event happen within the necessary COVID-19 guidelines, which is a fantastic result for participants and the three local charity beneficiaries,” Mr Mark said.

“We call on the community to join us and rally around the event in support of the good work that these three charities are doing in the broader Mackay region.”

Since coming on board as the Naming Rights Sponsor of the event last year, Hand Heart Pocket enabled a third charity which focuses on men’s mental and physical health to benefit from the event.

Registrations for the 2020 Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Ride are now open. To register go to www.river2reefride.com.au

Women’s Legal Service Queensland has been able to continue providing lifesaving legal assistance in the wake of COVID-19, thanks to an Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Hand Heart Pocket donated $80,000 in unrestricted funding to the service so it can continue improving outcomes for Queensland women experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or family law issues.

Women’s Legal Service Queensland Chief Executive Officer Angela Lynch said demand for the organisation’s services had risen during recent COVID-19 restrictions.

“We typically help more than 16,000 clients a year, but the need for free legal assistance during the pandemic had increased, in June alone we had a 47% increase in calls for help,” Ms Lynch said.

“The recent restrictions posed an extreme risk to the physical, emotional and financial safety of women and children experiencing domestic violence who, in many cases, have no choice but to self-isolate with perpetrators.

“As a result, we saw more women fearing for their safety during self-isolation. This was problematic because COVID-19 restrictions had forced us to postpone the key fundraising events and appeals that we rely on for frontline service delivery.

“The unrestricted COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket ensured that we could provide lifesaving legal and welfare help to more families in need during a difficult period. We are so thankful to have received this support.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to ensure our partners could continue providing support to the community during a challenging time and achieve their planned outcomes over the long-term,” Mr Mark said.

“This COVID-19 Emergency Grant was in addition to the $120,000 and $340,000 grants previously provided by the Freemason charity to Women’s Legal Service Queensland to extend its telephone service, build a new website, and remodel its headquarters in Annerley.

“Women’s Legal Service Queensland provides an essential service for the state, and we are pleased to have lent this extra support to help the organisation to keep offering free legal help to more vulnerable women.”

Photo: Women’s Legal Service Queensland Chief Executive Officer Angela Lynch.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Both the sick and elderly in Gayndah will be able to stay in touch with their loved ones thanks to a $9,610 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Gayndah Hospital and Gunther Village were jointly awarded the grant after they were put forward for the funding by the local Freemasons.

Patients at the 10-bed hospital will have the option of having a loved one stay with them, in an adjacent room, now that a new $3,399 leather sofa bed has been purchased. Similarly, aged care residents at Gunther Village will stay in contact with friends and family using iPad technology, after the 52-bed facility was able to purchase eight new tablets and six stands with $6,211.

Gayndah Freemasons Lodge representative Bill Turner said they were proud to accelerate the two initiatives that, at their core were about improving people’s mental health and wellbeing when they are in a vulnerable state.

“Whether it’s an elderly patient or young child that has fallen ill, a relative or parent will be able to stay onsite at the local hospital which is a good thing,” Mr Turner said.

“As for the residents at Gunther Village, it has been especially difficult for them to interact with friends and family over the past few months due to COVID-19 and this is likely to be the case for some time yet, so this technology will enable them to maintain these connections.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was pleased to provide this extra assistance.

“We are appreciative of the Gayndah Freemasons for identifying these needs in their community and nominating the two organisations for the grant,” Gary said.

“This year we received a greater number of applications with a large geographical spread, particularly in regional Queensland. Fifteen charities shared in almost $120,000 as part this year’s Community Grants round.

“Although the grant round was oversubscribed, we wanted to make sure we maximised our support at a time the community needed it the most. Among the causes we’ve been able to support are youth at risk, our ageing population, men’s mental and physical health, and women’s financial and physical security.”

The grant was announced amid the Freemason charity providing over $750,000 in emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.

Photo: Gayndah Freemasons Lodge representative Bill Turner (second from left). 

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

The wheels are in motion for a mental health and wellbeing expo in Central West Queensland after Outback Futures was awarded a COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant of almost $10,000 towards the initiative.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provided the funding towards the cost to put on the two-day community event which is expected to be held next March. This comes after the Freemason charity provided an earlier grant of $9,900, at the height of the pandemic, to support the delivery of Outback Futures Stay with Me program for isolated families in the Barcaldine region.

Outback Futures Chief Executive Officer Selena Gomersall said the non-profit was appreciative of this second grant which again recognises their work in providing mental health and wellbeing support for rural and remote Queensland communities.

“When COVID-19 restrictions first came into effect we ramped up efforts to provide immediate mental health support for those in isolated communities,” Ms Gomersall said.

“Come next year, when restrictions have eased, we are excited to be supporting a weekend of events in Barcaldine, as part of the HEAD YAKKA mental health and wellbeing initiative, in partnership with Barcaldine Police and Barcaldine Regional Council. This event will bring the Central West community together and encourage them to engage in discussions around mental health and wellbeing in a safe and engaging context.

“It’s crucial that we continue to support outback communities following such tough period of isolation and uncertainty, as we all try to return to some level of normality.”
Local Comet Freemasons Lodge representative Kevin Kerr said the Barcaldine Freemasons had nominated the organisation for the grant.

“We’re so proud that the Freemason charity has stepped in with this funding to help Outback Futures to put on this community event, it’s just what we need.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“We recognise that accessing mental health services in remote areas can be more challenging, which is why we’re provided additional support to Outback Futures to help get this initiative over the line.” “We are glad Freemasons could provide this hand up at a time when communities need extra support.”

The ‘Amazing Race Mental Health & Wellbeing Expo’ will take place on 20th-21st March, 2021 at the Barcaldine Showgrounds.

Photo: Back Row left to right: Doug Merchant,  Inspector Julia Cook,  S/C Natalie Timar, Front row left to right: Stuart Bourne, David Hauenschild, Jason Ricks, S/C Tanya Rewha, Outback Futures representative Brent Sweeney, Brett Jenkins and Kevin Kerr.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Ipswich Hospice Care will continue to maintain a comfortable and homelike setting for palliative care patients and their families, thanks to a $10,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

It’s one of the larger donations that the seven-bed community facility has received in recent months, with Hospice volunteers not able to undertake usual fundraising activities in local shopping precincts until COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Ipswich Hospice Care Director of Nursing Carol Hope welcomed the grant saying that it would go towards the purchase of vital equipment for the comfort of patients and to refurbish one of the older rooms.

“We strive to provide a peaceful place where terminally ill patients and their families can feel at home,” Ms Hope said.

“Each year, we enhance the quality of life of 200 patients from the West Moreton region, all of whom are cared for free of charge.

“However, we rely on the generosity of the public to help keep our services going, with an annual fundraising target of $1 million, so this grant is very much appreciated, given that our donations have decreased this year as a result of the pandemic.”

Caledonian Freemasons Lodge representative James Hogg said they nominated the local Hospice for the funding.

“Quality end of life care is vital in any community, so we are pleased to have championed this grant to support local palliative care services in our area,” Mr Hogg said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“Ipswich Hospice Care provides an essential service for the region, and we are glad we could provide this extra support at a time when they needed it the most.”

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Vulnerable young families in crisis on Brisbane’s southside will continue to have access to vital support services to break down barriers and create their own futures, with Micah Projects getting the keys to their Wellspring Hawthorne Hub earlier today.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently provided $800,000 in support made up of a $400,000 Significant Grant and $400,000 interest-free loan towards the purchase of the building, which Micah Projects has leased since 2017.

The Wellspring hub provides holistic support including early childhood education and care, support groups and wrap around services for vulnerable families with children under six years of age and are experiencing homelessness or domestic violence or who are going through the family court, justice or child protection systems.

Micah Projects Chief Executive Officer Karyn Walsh said the funding was the catalyst in enabling the organisation to realise its vision for the hub.

“There is no other service like it anywhere in the state and the purchase of this building means that we now have a permanent home,” Karyn said.

“It will allow us to meet the increasing demand for our services in the region. Our evidence-based approach has shown to significantly improve family life for our clients with support to secure housing and employment as well as access to healthcare and to build strong support networks to reduce social isolation.

“It also gives the children a firm foundation and a better start in life, reducing the impact of trauma that they may have experienced.”

The hub is divided into two floors, with the lower floor dedicated to childcare and supported playgroups whilst the upstairs floor provides space for visiting specialists and community services. The hub can also be hired by community groups.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the initiative aligns with the Freemason charity’s refined philanthropic approach to help improve outcomes for young people at risk.

“Our refined focus was launched late last year and has seen Hand Heart Pocket commit to supporting programs and initiatives that help to improve outcomes for young people at risk for at least the next three years,” Mr Mark said.

“Meeting the needs of contemporary families is also a key focus of ours, as well as supporting initiatives that improve women’s physical and financial security.

“We are proud to have provided this funding on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland in support of Micah Projects vital work to help vulnerable families in crisis to overcome the challenges they face and go on to lead independent lives.”

Photo: Micah Projects Chief Executive Officer Karyn Walsh (center) holding the keys to the Wellspring Hawthorne Hub, surrounded by board members and staff.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

New equipment will help to improve patient comfort at Babinda Hospital, thanks to the generosity of the local Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge.

With the assistance of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, the Lodge has committed more than $5,000 to help Babinda Hospital to purchase two standard and two bariatric wheelchairs as well as a laryngoscope.

Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge representative Mal Holst said it’s not the first time they’ve gotten behind the local hospital which looks after as many as 3,500 patients a year.

“The Freemasons support of Babinba Hospital dates back many years and following the recent amalgamation of Bartle Frere and Pyramid Highleigh Lodges, we made the unanimous decision to make this donation to the hospital,” Mal said.

“The work of Babinda Hospital is essential to the region, given that the next closest hospitals are in Cairns and Innisfail and the more resources that we have locally, the better it is for the community.

“The new wheelchairs will help to ensure more patients move through the hospital with ease and without delay. While the additional laryngoscope will help with the examination of patients’ throat, larynx or voice box.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the organisation was pleased to augment the grassroots charity work of Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge.

“Enhancing the quality of life of patients in smaller rural hospitals is a very worthy cause, and we are appreciative of Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge for identifying this need in their local area,” Gary said.

“By combining our efforts, we have been able to make a bigger difference for the community of Babinda.”

Photo: Pyramid Highleigh Freemasons Lodge representatives alongside Babinda Hospital staff.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Highfields Pioneer Village is another step closer to reopening thanks to a $10,000 COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The community hub for education, recreation and connections will put the funds towards making the necessary safety modifications needed to comply with COVID-19 health requirements.

Highfields Pioneer Village President Mervyn Polzin said the not-for-profit was thankful for the grant, saying that it was a huge help.

“Our aim is to make the village safe for everybody as we learn to operate in this new environment,” Mervyn said.

“This includes taking extra steps to make it safer for our more vulnerable visitors with disabilities as well as our older volunteers.

“We’re hopeful that we will be able to reopen in September.”

Crows Nest Cooyar Freemasons Lodge representative Ian Hotchin said they nominated the local organisation for the funding.

“Highfields Pioneer Village has brought local history to life for many years, and it is important that we get behind them in times like these,” Ian said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“We are glad Freemasons could provide this hand up at a time when communities need extra support.”

Photo: Highfields Pioneer Village President Mervyn Polzin and Crows Nest Cooyar Freemasons Lodge representative Ian Hotchin.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

The construction of Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Hervey Bay’s new $1.3 Million vessel is taking shape, with only a matter of months to go before it leaves the workshop.

Yesterday, some of the Freemasons of the Wide Bay visited the Allweld Manufacturing workshop in Maryborough to inspect Rescue I, the 11.94-metre vessel which will be used to conduct rescues and medical evacuations in Fraser Coast waters. Last year, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provided a $400,000 Significant Grant towards the construction of the new vessel. At the time VMR Hervey Bay had secured $160,000 in state government funding and had raised more than $767,000. A number of Freemason Lodges in the region championed the grant, helping to get the initiative over the line.

Wide Bay Freemason Russell Darcy said it was a very special occasion as it was the first time that some of the local Freemasons had been able to get up close to see the progress that has been made, having previously only seen sketches of the rescue vessel.

“It looks marvellous, what’s been done so far, we are grateful to VMR Hervey Bay and Allweld Manufacturing for giving us this opportunity to get a sneak peek of the new vessel,” Mr Darcy said.

VMR Hervey Bay Commodore Jill Barclay said Rescue I was on track for completion in November, with the big move to Hervey Bay expected to go ahead then, followed by sea trials and training scheduled for December and January.

“The Fraser Coast is the state’s third-busiest rescue zone, and the addition of Rescue I to our fleet will be a huge plus, enabling us to keep providing marine safety services in our part of Queensland into the future,” Commodore Barclay said.

“January 2020 saw the delivery of the first material to Allweld, with February marking the start of construction.

“By May, the structure was turned over, and we had what was starting to look like a very nice boat. Since then, the structure was fully welded to the build specifications.

“This month, the decks have been laid, fuel tanks made tested and installed, and the Samson post put in place.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was proud to support this important regional initiative on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.

“This new vessel will enable VMR Hervey Bay to deliver an essential service to those on the Fraser Coast waterways in the years to come, and we are delighted to have worked with the local Freemasons to play a part in helping to fulfil this need in the Wide Bay region,” Mr Mark said.

“We are very much looking forward to celebrating the commissioning of the vessel with the people of the Wide Bay early next year.”

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Five Rural Fire Brigades in the Lockyer Valley region will be able to upgrade some of their equipment after recently sharing in a $10,000 donation provided by the local Freemasons.

Argyle Freemasons Lodge, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, provided the funds, having been motivated by the efforts of the firemen and women across the country during the disastrous bushfire season, which began in September last year.

Argyle Freemasons Lodge Treasurer Peter Hooper said Mulgowie, Blenheim, Hatton Vale, Grandchester and Woodlea Rural Fire Brigades would be able to purchase upgraded equipment such as blowers, GPSs, generators and other items that are not provided by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service.

“Needs within our local community are often the focus of our charity work,” Peter said.

“The recent bushfires devastated so many communities around the country, so we felt that it was important that we did our bit to support our local firies as a thank you for protecting our community both now and into the future.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that help to alleviate suffering and misfortune aligned with his organisations work at a grassroots level.

“We commend Argyle Lodge for identifying this local initiative so that together, we could provide a hand up with much-needed equipment to carry out their job on the frontline,” he said.

Photo: Mulgowie Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Andrew Hooper, Argyle Freemasons Lodge representatives Peter Hooper, Rub Logan and Keith Jensen and Mulgowie Rural Fire Brigade first officer Roy Emmerson.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

“It’s ON! Join us for the 10th Annual Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Ride on Saturday 12th September.”

The event’s Naming Rights Sponsor, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has reconfirmed their commitment of $25,000 towards the Ride as well as a further $50,000 to kick off the fundraising effort in support of the three local benefiting charities, including the Suicide Prevention Community Action Planning Group’s Men’s Campaign based at ‘selectability’, RACQ CQ Rescue and the Mackay and District Sporting Wheelies.

Event Organiser Evan Corry said they are excited to deliver this event in these difficult times.

“A lot of work has been done to modify the event and ensure it can operate within COVID-19 guidelines and we feel these modifications will enhance our 2020 event rather than detract from it,” Mr Corry said.

“2020 marks the 10th year for the event which has raised over half a million dollars for local charities and has touched so many lives since its inception, so we are delighted to keep the event going to ensure funding for our valuable local charities and to help boost morale in the community at a time where it’s needed more than ever.”

This year’s Ride will include a family friendly “Ride the River” category incorporating the Blue Water Trail, allowing Mums, Dads and the kids to participate in the event on the safe path network. There will be no ‘mass start’, with riders able to choose a start time between 6am and 9am, reducing any crowding at the event, as well as family friendly pricing with optional 10th Anniversary Australian Made jerseys.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was proud to stand by the event and encouraged the community to do the same either by participating in September’s Ride or by donating.

“Despite all of the challenges, the organisers have pulled out all the stops to make this event happen within the necessary COVID-19 guidelines, which is a fantastic result for participants and the three local charity beneficiaries,” Mr Mark said.

“We call on the community to join us and rally around the event in support of the good work that these three charities are doing in the broader Mackay region.”

Since coming on board as the Naming Rights Sponsor of the event last year, Hand Heart Pocket enabled a third charity which focuses on men’s mental and physical health to benefit from the event.

Registrations for the 2020 Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Ride are now open. To register go to www.river2reefride.com.au

Women’s Legal Service Queensland has been able to continue providing lifesaving legal assistance in the wake of COVID-19, thanks to an Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Hand Heart Pocket donated $80,000 in unrestricted funding to the service so it can continue improving outcomes for Queensland women experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or family law issues.

Women’s Legal Service Queensland Chief Executive Officer Angela Lynch said demand for the organisation’s services had risen during recent COVID-19 restrictions.

“We typically help more than 16,000 clients a year, but the need for free legal assistance during the pandemic had increased, in June alone we had a 47% increase in calls for help,” Ms Lynch said.

“The recent restrictions posed an extreme risk to the physical, emotional and financial safety of women and children experiencing domestic violence who, in many cases, have no choice but to self-isolate with perpetrators.

“As a result, we saw more women fearing for their safety during self-isolation. This was problematic because COVID-19 restrictions had forced us to postpone the key fundraising events and appeals that we rely on for frontline service delivery.

“The unrestricted COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket ensured that we could provide lifesaving legal and welfare help to more families in need during a difficult period. We are so thankful to have received this support.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to ensure our partners could continue providing support to the community during a challenging time and achieve their planned outcomes over the long-term,” Mr Mark said.

“This COVID-19 Emergency Grant was in addition to the $120,000 and $340,000 grants previously provided by the Freemason charity to Women’s Legal Service Queensland to extend its telephone service, build a new website, and remodel its headquarters in Annerley.

“Women’s Legal Service Queensland provides an essential service for the state, and we are pleased to have lent this extra support to help the organisation to keep offering free legal help to more vulnerable women.”

Photo: Women’s Legal Service Queensland Chief Executive Officer Angela Lynch.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Both the sick and elderly in Gayndah will be able to stay in touch with their loved ones thanks to a $9,610 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Gayndah Hospital and Gunther Village were jointly awarded the grant after they were put forward for the funding by the local Freemasons.

Patients at the 10-bed hospital will have the option of having a loved one stay with them, in an adjacent room, now that a new $3,399 leather sofa bed has been purchased. Similarly, aged care residents at Gunther Village will stay in contact with friends and family using iPad technology, after the 52-bed facility was able to purchase eight new tablets and six stands with $6,211.

Gayndah Freemasons Lodge representative Bill Turner said they were proud to accelerate the two initiatives that, at their core were about improving people’s mental health and wellbeing when they are in a vulnerable state.

“Whether it’s an elderly patient or young child that has fallen ill, a relative or parent will be able to stay onsite at the local hospital which is a good thing,” Mr Turner said.

“As for the residents at Gunther Village, it has been especially difficult for them to interact with friends and family over the past few months due to COVID-19 and this is likely to be the case for some time yet, so this technology will enable them to maintain these connections.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was pleased to provide this extra assistance.

“We are appreciative of the Gayndah Freemasons for identifying these needs in their community and nominating the two organisations for the grant,” Gary said.

“This year we received a greater number of applications with a large geographical spread, particularly in regional Queensland. Fifteen charities shared in almost $120,000 as part this year’s Community Grants round.

“Although the grant round was oversubscribed, we wanted to make sure we maximised our support at a time the community needed it the most. Among the causes we’ve been able to support are youth at risk, our ageing population, men’s mental and physical health, and women’s financial and physical security.”

The grant was announced amid the Freemason charity providing over $750,000 in emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.

Photo: Gayndah Freemasons Lodge representative Bill Turner (second from left). 

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

The wheels are in motion for a mental health and wellbeing expo in Central West Queensland after Outback Futures was awarded a COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant of almost $10,000 towards the initiative.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provided the funding towards the cost to put on the two-day community event which is expected to be held next March. This comes after the Freemason charity provided an earlier grant of $9,900, at the height of the pandemic, to support the delivery of Outback Futures Stay with Me program for isolated families in the Barcaldine region.

Outback Futures Chief Executive Officer Selena Gomersall said the non-profit was appreciative of this second grant which again recognises their work in providing mental health and wellbeing support for rural and remote Queensland communities.

“When COVID-19 restrictions first came into effect we ramped up efforts to provide immediate mental health support for those in isolated communities,” Ms Gomersall said.

“Come next year, when restrictions have eased, we are excited to be supporting a weekend of events in Barcaldine, as part of the HEAD YAKKA mental health and wellbeing initiative, in partnership with Barcaldine Police and Barcaldine Regional Council. This event will bring the Central West community together and encourage them to engage in discussions around mental health and wellbeing in a safe and engaging context.

“It’s crucial that we continue to support outback communities following such tough period of isolation and uncertainty, as we all try to return to some level of normality.”
Local Comet Freemasons Lodge representative Kevin Kerr said the Barcaldine Freemasons had nominated the organisation for the grant.

“We’re so proud that the Freemason charity has stepped in with this funding to help Outback Futures to put on this community event, it’s just what we need.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“We recognise that accessing mental health services in remote areas can be more challenging, which is why we’re provided additional support to Outback Futures to help get this initiative over the line.” “We are glad Freemasons could provide this hand up at a time when communities need extra support.”

The ‘Amazing Race Mental Health & Wellbeing Expo’ will take place on 20th-21st March, 2021 at the Barcaldine Showgrounds.

Photo: Back Row left to right: Doug Merchant,  Inspector Julia Cook,  S/C Natalie Timar, Front row left to right: Stuart Bourne, David Hauenschild, Jason Ricks, S/C Tanya Rewha, Outback Futures representative Brent Sweeney, Brett Jenkins and Kevin Kerr.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Ipswich Hospice Care will continue to maintain a comfortable and homelike setting for palliative care patients and their families, thanks to a $10,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

It’s one of the larger donations that the seven-bed community facility has received in recent months, with Hospice volunteers not able to undertake usual fundraising activities in local shopping precincts until COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Ipswich Hospice Care Director of Nursing Carol Hope welcomed the grant saying that it would go towards the purchase of vital equipment for the comfort of patients and to refurbish one of the older rooms.

“We strive to provide a peaceful place where terminally ill patients and their families can feel at home,” Ms Hope said.

“Each year, we enhance the quality of life of 200 patients from the West Moreton region, all of whom are cared for free of charge.

“However, we rely on the generosity of the public to help keep our services going, with an annual fundraising target of $1 million, so this grant is very much appreciated, given that our donations have decreased this year as a result of the pandemic.”

Caledonian Freemasons Lodge representative James Hogg said they nominated the local Hospice for the funding.

“Quality end of life care is vital in any community, so we are pleased to have championed this grant to support local palliative care services in our area,” Mr Hogg said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“Ipswich Hospice Care provides an essential service for the region, and we are glad we could provide this extra support at a time when they needed it the most.”

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Vulnerable young families in crisis on Brisbane’s southside will continue to have access to vital support services to break down barriers and create their own futures, with Micah Projects getting the keys to their Wellspring Hawthorne Hub earlier today.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently provided $800,000 in support made up of a $400,000 Significant Grant and $400,000 interest-free loan towards the purchase of the building, which Micah Projects has leased since 2017.

The Wellspring hub provides holistic support including early childhood education and care, support groups and wrap around services for vulnerable families with children under six years of age and are experiencing homelessness or domestic violence or who are going through the family court, justice or child protection systems.

Micah Projects Chief Executive Officer Karyn Walsh said the funding was the catalyst in enabling the organisation to realise its vision for the hub.

“There is no other service like it anywhere in the state and the purchase of this building means that we now have a permanent home,” Karyn said.

“It will allow us to meet the increasing demand for our services in the region. Our evidence-based approach has shown to significantly improve family life for our clients with support to secure housing and employment as well as access to healthcare and to build strong support networks to reduce social isolation.

“It also gives the children a firm foundation and a better start in life, reducing the impact of trauma that they may have experienced.”

The hub is divided into two floors, with the lower floor dedicated to childcare and supported playgroups whilst the upstairs floor provides space for visiting specialists and community services. The hub can also be hired by community groups.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the initiative aligns with the Freemason charity’s refined philanthropic approach to help improve outcomes for young people at risk.

“Our refined focus was launched late last year and has seen Hand Heart Pocket commit to supporting programs and initiatives that help to improve outcomes for young people at risk for at least the next three years,” Mr Mark said.

“Meeting the needs of contemporary families is also a key focus of ours, as well as supporting initiatives that improve women’s physical and financial security.

“We are proud to have provided this funding on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland in support of Micah Projects vital work to help vulnerable families in crisis to overcome the challenges they face and go on to lead independent lives.”

Photo: Micah Projects Chief Executive Officer Karyn Walsh (center) holding the keys to the Wellspring Hawthorne Hub, surrounded by board members and staff.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Members are invited to our ‘Year in Review’ event to hear about our achievements over the past year and from some of our charity partners. Places are limited.

When: Monday 2 November, 2020
            5.15pm (for a 6pm start)

Where: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
            Glenelg St, South Brisbane.

Subsidised transport will be available from Gympie, Cooroy, Maroochydore, Caboolture, Toowoomba and Ipswich.

To express your interest in attending, please email info@handheartpocket.org.au