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Efforts to improve men’s health and wellbeing in Far North Queensland have been backed by the region’s Freemasons. Earlier this month a new Men’s Shed was officially opened at Holloways Beach.

The Carpentaria Freemasons and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland each contributed $27.5k last year to help to bring this important community initiative to fruition.

Carpentaria District Board of Benevolence Acting Chairman Bob Lackey said this community effort, will ensure more men in Far North Queensland have a dedicated space where they can go to enhance their mental and physical health.

“As a fraternal organisation, we know the ripple effect that camaraderie and a sense of purpose can have on a person’s mental and physical health, which is why we were so keen to support this local Men’s Shed initiative.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said support for programs and services that address men’s mental and physical health is part of the organisation’s long-term strategic focus.

“Having a relaxed space, where men can not only build things, but build relationships and share their feelings will be hugely positive – not just for them, but for their families and the wider community as a whole,” Gary said.

“Many lives will be impacted for the better thanks to this new Men’s Shed at Holloways Beach. By teaming up with the Carpentaria Freemasons, we have been able to support this important local initiative,” he said.

Photo: Carpentaria Deputy District Grand Master Raja Chohan, Gregory Allan Lodge Chaplain and Men’s Shed member Keith Morgan, President of the Board of Benevolence for Carpentaria District Duncan Walker and Gregory Allan Lodge Almoner and Men’s Shed member John Cavill-Jones.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Changing the way men talk about their mental health is the mission of Freemason charity Hand Heart Pocket’s latest Grassroots Community Grants recipient. 

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has announced it will give $10,000 to the Dr Edward Koch Foundation to host a forum promoting men’s mental health. The forum will take place in Far North Queensland during Suicide Prevention Week, which runs from 6th – 12th September 2019.

Now in its second year, the forum encourages men to look out for each other and seek help when they need it.

Local Freemasons from the Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge nominated the foundation because of its commitment to making a positive difference in the community.

“We know men don’t always talk about their health concerns or ask for help when they need it most,” Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge Secretary Ken Sagacio said.

“We wanted to give a hand up to a local group working hard to empower men to take control of their wellbeing. The men’s forum provides a safe place to start important conversations that will ultimately help men lead better lives.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said Hand Heart Pocket’s long-term strategy included a key focus on men’s mental and physical health.

“Grassroots activities that provide education, awareness and support for men struggling with their mental health strongly align with our values as an organisation,” Mr Mark said.

“We’re delighted to support the men’s forum and help the Dr Edward Koch Foundation improve the lives of men living in the local community.”

The Dr Edward Koch Foundation’s men’s forum is one of six community initiatives across Queensland that will share in more than $50,000 in funding as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2019 Grassroots Community Grants round.

Photo: (Left to Right) Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge Past Master Colin Lawson, Dr Edward Koch Foundation Chairman Graham Koch and CEO Dulcie Bird, Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge Master Earle Church and Secretary Ken Sagacio, and Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge Past Master and Past District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Carpentaria Phil Starr.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Gayndah’s elderly have been given a helping hand to lead better lives after Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provided a $10,000 grant to Gunther Village Aged Care, on behalf of the local Freemasons.

As one of six community initiatives across Queensland, to share in over $50K as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2019 Grassroots Community Grants round, the funds have enabled the purchase of three new Hi-Lo beds.

Gayndah Masonic Lodge representative Bill Turner said their motivation was to help fulfil a need in their local area.

“This is the second year in a row that we have secured a Grassroots Community Grant for the facility which cares for 52 residents, after having secured three Floorline beds for those with limited mobility last year,” Bill said.

“As for the adjustable Hi-Lo beds, these are more suited to mobile residents. As well as waking up feeling refreshed, it will be easier for residents to get in and out of bed independently,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that aim to improve the quality of life of the aged align with their long-term charitable intent.

“One of our key focus areas is to help communities to meet the challenges of an ageing population,” Gary said.

“We would like to acknowledge Gayndah Masonic Lodge for championing this local initiative. It’s wonderful to be able to provide this grassroots support on their behalf,” he said.

Photo: Members of Gayndah Masonic Lodge, including current Master Bill Turner (third from right) alongside Gunther Village representatives including Facility Manager Vicki Boyd (third from left). 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Efforts to scale up Men’s Shed activities on Magnetic Island have been backed by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who provided a $10,000 boost on behalf of the local Freemasons.

As one of six community initiatives across Queensland, to share in over $50K as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2019 Grassroots Community Grants round, Magnetic Island Men’s Shed will put the funds towards the fit-out of their newly built facility – having outgrown their current space.

Ashlar Magnetic Masonic Lodge Coordinator Ian Gregory said that his Lodge had supported the Men’s Shed since 2018 and that the group was deserving of this latest grant because they not only helped their members but also the community at large.

“This really was the icing on the cake for Magnetic Island Men’s Shed, having already secured funding for the construction of the shed from elsewhere,” Ian said.

“The grant will enable the Men’s Shed to provide additional new equipment and resources.”

“A greater selection of projects will be available to members to suit their interests, so we’re excited for what they will be able to achieve in this new space and the positive impact that this will have on them both mentally and physically,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said men’s mental and physical health was one of their key focus areas as part of their long-term strategy.

“Through our grassroots support we’ve been able to fulfil a community need which will ultimately empower local men to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“We are grateful to Ashlar Magnetic Masonic Lodge for bringing this initiative to our attention so that we can make a bigger impact at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: (Left to right) District Grand Lodge of North Queensland Secretary Peter Drew, Ashlar Masonic Lodge Coordinator Ian Gregory and Magnetic Island Men's Shed President Cameron Walker.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

For the last 30 years, the Gympie and District Riding for the Disabled Association Inc. (RDA) has provided therapeutic horse-riding programs to improve the quality of life of its participants.

Just recently the community group was gifted $2,460 towards a new round yard, thanks to the Gympie and District Masonic Fundraising Committee, which represents the collective efforts of nine local Masonic Lodges, and the support of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Committee Secretary Ian Gordon said it’s important to be community-minded.

“Gympie’s RDA has our support because we want to see them continue their good work,” Ian said.

“Their programs not only provide enjoyment but help to improve a range of skills like balance, coordination and self-confidence amongst many others,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the committee’s intentions aligned with their philosophy of providing a hand up.

“At a grassroots level, we work with Masonic Lodges throughout the state, who identify areas of need within their local community,” Gary said.

“We’re are so pleased to help make a bigger impact for such a worthy local initiative,” he said.

Photo: President of the Gympie and District Masonic Fundraising Committee Wayne Smith with the President of the Riding for the Disabled (Gympie) Ian Groundwater. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Fifty children with childhood heart disease in Mackay will no longer have to travel to Brisbane every few months, for tests and treatment, now that a brand-new echocardiography ultrasound machine has been donated to the local hospital.

Among the many donors were Hamilton Calen Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who helped the Mackay Hospital Foundation to reach its $135,000 target. The new machine is now stationed at Mackay Base Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Ambulatory Care Service.

Hamilton Calen Masonic Lodge Secretary Graham Townsend said they initially donated $8,000 with the help of Hand Heart Pocket. An additional $19,000 was provided by Hand Heart Pocket to ensure the Foundation reached its target sooner.

“This was indeed a huge community effort, and we are so happy to have been involved,” Graham said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said when the local Freemasons approached them about supporting this initiative, they didn’t hesitate to lend a hand.

“Throwing our support behind charitable initiatives that alleviate suffering and empower people to lead better lives is what we’re all about,” Gary said.

“This initiative will make a world of difference – making family life far less unsettled for these families,” Gary said.

“By working with Hamilton Calen Masonic Lodge at a grassroots level, we’ve been able to help make this important local initiative a reality,” he said.

Photo: Members of Hamilton Calen Masonic Lodge at the unveiling of the new ultrasound machine.  

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland was today awarded the inaugural Queensland Community Foundation’s Board of Governors’ Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Philanthropy of the Year Awards for 2019.

Having significantly increased its philanthropic footprint in recent years, the award recognises an individual or organisation for their exceptional and sustained Queensland philanthropy.  

Hand Heart Pocket Chairman Tom Wiltshire said he was honoured to accept this award on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.

“I wish to acknowledge our members throughout the state – our work is built on the legacy of Freemasonry, dating back more than 110 years,” Tom said.

Following the sale of their aged care and retirement living business in 2016, the organisation returned to its philanthropic roots. Guided by their long-term strategy, Hand Heart Pocket has identified six key areas of support. These include men’s mental and physical health, employment for youth with mental health issues, women’s financial and physical security, the ageing population, education initiatives for those with a disability or in necessitous circumstance, and funding and financial assistance for families and individuals in need.  

“Today, we are making a bigger difference for more Queenslanders than ever before. Over the past three years, we have provided $8.3 million in grants and in-kind support to other non-profit organisations.”

In addition to working with their members at a grassroots level, the Freemason charity provides Significant and Flagship Grants to other charities, where there is an unmet need, helping them to fill gaps in funding or ensure that essential services can continue. Its holistic approach has incorporated a sponsored staff volunteer day and the organisation has also provided in-kind support and expertise to some of their charity partners to maximise the impact of their grant.

“Everything we do is about providing a hand up, to help alleviate suffering and empower people to lead better lives, so it’s wonderful to be recognised in this way,” he said.  

"Thank you also to our charity partners Help Enterprises, Hear and Say, YellowBridge QLD and Trojan’s Trek who nominated us for this wonderful award."

Find out more about our partners and the important work of Hand Heart Pocket.

For the full list of award winners visit the QFC website.

Photo: (from left) Hear and Say CEO Chris McCarthy, YellowBridge QLD CEO Penny Hamilton, Hand Heart Pocket Director Dr Jason Bingham and Chairman Tom Wiltshire, Trojan's Trek's Peter Keith, Help Enterprises CEO Kerry Browne and Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark at the QCF Philanthropist of the Year Awards.

Patients with respiratory problems at Laidley Hospital can breathe easier after two new Airvo humidifiers were funded by Argyle Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The equipment will lessen the delay of treatment, with patients not having to travel to Toowoomba, Ipswich or Brisbane hospitals.

Argyle Masonic Lodge representative Peter Hooper said the majority of the $6,000 donation went towards the humidifiers, with a few hundred dollars going to other important equipment for the hospital.

“Our charity bowls day was a huge success yet again thanks to the support of the public and the business community,” Peter said.

“We’re committed to giving our local hospital a helping hand to care for those in poor health. In previous years, with the assistance of Hand Heart Pocket we have donated a bladder scanner and a mobile bath to the Laidley Hospital. We’ve also supported Blue Care and those affected by the drought,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing essential equipment to improve patients’ quality of life was in line with their long-term charitable goals.

“Initiatives that help to alleviate suffering and misfortune align with our values, hence why we matched Argyle Masonic Lodge's latest efforts,” Gary said.

“Similarly, two of our key focus areas include men’s mental and physical health and ways to support an ageing population. It’s been great to work with the local masons to double their impact at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: Argyle Masonic Lodge representative Peter Hooper (centre) alongside members of the Laidley Hospital Auxiliary.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Queensland Masonic Lodge’s Ian De Villiers was recently awarded the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence Jewel, the highest benevolence honour, for his tireless efforts towards improving the financial and physical security of women within his community.

Ian has been a Freemason for almost 35 years. For at least ten of those years, Ian has devoted his time to supporting victims of domestic violence by fundraising for the Women’s Crisis Support Service Inc. which operates the Ipswich Women’s Shelter.  

In the last five years alone, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, his Lodge, under his leadership, has donated close to $20,000 towards the shelter’s resettlement program to help hundreds of vulnerable women and their children to get back on their feet.  

Similarly, in 2018 he successfully championed the work of the Shelter to secure a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket.

Congratulations on your award Ian and for your tireless efforts to make a difference in your community.

Photo: Queensland Masonic Lodge Worshipful Master Tom Lane and Order of Service to Benevolence Jewel recipient Ian De Villiers. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Far North Queenslanders affected by cancer will now be able to access additional support services to improve their quality of life following the official opening of the COUCH Wellness Centre in Cairns this week.

Representatives of the Carpentaria District Freemasons and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland were among those in attendance to celebrate the opening of stage one of the development.

The milestone was particularly special for the Masonic fraternity as Hand Heart Pocket, in consultation with the Carpentaria District Freemasons, had provided a half-a-million-dollar Significant Grant towards the initial stage of construction for a large conference pavilion and an amenities block.

Once complete the health precinct, which is the first of its kind for the Cairns region, will deliver services that provide a holistic approach to cancer care, to improve the quality of life for people living with cancer (and beyond) as well as their carers. The services will include allied health and complementary therapies, as well as a focus on skills and education on how to live with cancer, group support and other well-being and beauty services.

District Grand Master Henry Condon said it feels like it was only yesterday that they were at the sod turning.

“We are so excited to be on this journey with COUCH to ensure people impacted by cancer in the region can access holistic support to improve their overall health and wellbeing,” Henry said.

“For the first time they will be able to remain close to home while receiving the care and support that they need in a unique rainforest environment. The local Freemasons couldn’t be prouder to be associated with this regional initiative,” he said.

The vision to develop a wellness centre in Far North Queensland was first spearheaded by the Woodward family, back in 2006 when Charlie and Pip Woodward founded the cancer carer charity COUCH. Two years later, the wider Woodward family donated a 2.5-hectare property on Reservoir Rd, Manoora. For over a decade COUCH has rallied the government, wider community and private donors to get behind the project.

COUCH Chair Ron Holden said that the opening of the COUCH Wellness Centre facility demonstrates what can be achieved when we work together.

“We would like to express our sincere thanks to all those that helped to get this project off the ground to enhance the lives of people impacted with cancer – particularly the Carpentaria District Freemasons and Hand Heart Pocket.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark explained why they took an interest in supporting the initiative on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.

“In 2017, we came on board to provide a hand up with the COUCH Wellness Centre because their goals aligned with our long-term charitable focus, in terms of alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“Also, Gordon and Jack Woodward and their father Charles (Snr), were instrumental in the early development of the Carpentaria Freemasons’ Homes and Woodward Retirement Village in the 1970s and 1980s, both formerly owned by Masonic Care Queensland – so it a way for us to continue supporting Masonic charity in the District.”

“We were moved to see the Centre in action and are confident the families that walk through these doors in the years to come will be in the best hands,” he said.

Photo: COUCH Chairman Ron Holden, COUCH Co-founder Pip Woodward, Carpentaria District Grand Master Henry Condon, Carpentaria Deputy District Grand Master Raja Chohan, Rani Chohan, Helen Sims, Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Carpentaria Freemason Alan Sims and Hand Heart Pocket Board Member Spencer Christensen.

Find out who we help

Efforts to improve men’s health and wellbeing in Far North Queensland have been backed by the region’s Freemasons. Earlier this month a new Men’s Shed was officially opened at Holloways Beach.

The Carpentaria Freemasons and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland each contributed $27.5k last year to help to bring this important community initiative to fruition.

Carpentaria District Board of Benevolence Acting Chairman Bob Lackey said this community effort, will ensure more men in Far North Queensland have a dedicated space where they can go to enhance their mental and physical health.

“As a fraternal organisation, we know the ripple effect that camaraderie and a sense of purpose can have on a person’s mental and physical health, which is why we were so keen to support this local Men’s Shed initiative.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said support for programs and services that address men’s mental and physical health is part of the organisation’s long-term strategic focus.

“Having a relaxed space, where men can not only build things, but build relationships and share their feelings will be hugely positive – not just for them, but for their families and the wider community as a whole,” Gary said.

“Many lives will be impacted for the better thanks to this new Men’s Shed at Holloways Beach. By teaming up with the Carpentaria Freemasons, we have been able to support this important local initiative,” he said.

Photo: Carpentaria Deputy District Grand Master Raja Chohan, Gregory Allan Lodge Chaplain and Men’s Shed member Keith Morgan, President of the Board of Benevolence for Carpentaria District Duncan Walker and Gregory Allan Lodge Almoner and Men’s Shed member John Cavill-Jones.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Changing the way men talk about their mental health is the mission of Freemason charity Hand Heart Pocket’s latest Grassroots Community Grants recipient. 

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has announced it will give $10,000 to the Dr Edward Koch Foundation to host a forum promoting men’s mental health. The forum will take place in Far North Queensland during Suicide Prevention Week, which runs from 6th – 12th September 2019.

Now in its second year, the forum encourages men to look out for each other and seek help when they need it.

Local Freemasons from the Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge nominated the foundation because of its commitment to making a positive difference in the community.

“We know men don’t always talk about their health concerns or ask for help when they need it most,” Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge Secretary Ken Sagacio said.

“We wanted to give a hand up to a local group working hard to empower men to take control of their wellbeing. The men’s forum provides a safe place to start important conversations that will ultimately help men lead better lives.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said Hand Heart Pocket’s long-term strategy included a key focus on men’s mental and physical health.

“Grassroots activities that provide education, awareness and support for men struggling with their mental health strongly align with our values as an organisation,” Mr Mark said.

“We’re delighted to support the men’s forum and help the Dr Edward Koch Foundation improve the lives of men living in the local community.”

The Dr Edward Koch Foundation’s men’s forum is one of six community initiatives across Queensland that will share in more than $50,000 in funding as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2019 Grassroots Community Grants round.

Photo: (Left to Right) Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge Past Master Colin Lawson, Dr Edward Koch Foundation Chairman Graham Koch and CEO Dulcie Bird, Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge Master Earle Church and Secretary Ken Sagacio, and Temple Memorial Masonic Lodge Past Master and Past District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Carpentaria Phil Starr.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Gayndah’s elderly have been given a helping hand to lead better lives after Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provided a $10,000 grant to Gunther Village Aged Care, on behalf of the local Freemasons.

As one of six community initiatives across Queensland, to share in over $50K as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2019 Grassroots Community Grants round, the funds have enabled the purchase of three new Hi-Lo beds.

Gayndah Masonic Lodge representative Bill Turner said their motivation was to help fulfil a need in their local area.

“This is the second year in a row that we have secured a Grassroots Community Grant for the facility which cares for 52 residents, after having secured three Floorline beds for those with limited mobility last year,” Bill said.

“As for the adjustable Hi-Lo beds, these are more suited to mobile residents. As well as waking up feeling refreshed, it will be easier for residents to get in and out of bed independently,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that aim to improve the quality of life of the aged align with their long-term charitable intent.

“One of our key focus areas is to help communities to meet the challenges of an ageing population,” Gary said.

“We would like to acknowledge Gayndah Masonic Lodge for championing this local initiative. It’s wonderful to be able to provide this grassroots support on their behalf,” he said.

Photo: Members of Gayndah Masonic Lodge, including current Master Bill Turner (third from right) alongside Gunther Village representatives including Facility Manager Vicki Boyd (third from left). 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Efforts to scale up Men’s Shed activities on Magnetic Island have been backed by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who provided a $10,000 boost on behalf of the local Freemasons.

As one of six community initiatives across Queensland, to share in over $50K as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2019 Grassroots Community Grants round, Magnetic Island Men’s Shed will put the funds towards the fit-out of their newly built facility – having outgrown their current space.

Ashlar Magnetic Masonic Lodge Coordinator Ian Gregory said that his Lodge had supported the Men’s Shed since 2018 and that the group was deserving of this latest grant because they not only helped their members but also the community at large.

“This really was the icing on the cake for Magnetic Island Men’s Shed, having already secured funding for the construction of the shed from elsewhere,” Ian said.

“The grant will enable the Men’s Shed to provide additional new equipment and resources.”

“A greater selection of projects will be available to members to suit their interests, so we’re excited for what they will be able to achieve in this new space and the positive impact that this will have on them both mentally and physically,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said men’s mental and physical health was one of their key focus areas as part of their long-term strategy.

“Through our grassroots support we’ve been able to fulfil a community need which will ultimately empower local men to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“We are grateful to Ashlar Magnetic Masonic Lodge for bringing this initiative to our attention so that we can make a bigger impact at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: (Left to right) District Grand Lodge of North Queensland Secretary Peter Drew, Ashlar Masonic Lodge Coordinator Ian Gregory and Magnetic Island Men's Shed President Cameron Walker.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

For the last 30 years, the Gympie and District Riding for the Disabled Association Inc. (RDA) has provided therapeutic horse-riding programs to improve the quality of life of its participants.

Just recently the community group was gifted $2,460 towards a new round yard, thanks to the Gympie and District Masonic Fundraising Committee, which represents the collective efforts of nine local Masonic Lodges, and the support of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Committee Secretary Ian Gordon said it’s important to be community-minded.

“Gympie’s RDA has our support because we want to see them continue their good work,” Ian said.

“Their programs not only provide enjoyment but help to improve a range of skills like balance, coordination and self-confidence amongst many others,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the committee’s intentions aligned with their philosophy of providing a hand up.

“At a grassroots level, we work with Masonic Lodges throughout the state, who identify areas of need within their local community,” Gary said.

“We’re are so pleased to help make a bigger impact for such a worthy local initiative,” he said.

Photo: President of the Gympie and District Masonic Fundraising Committee Wayne Smith with the President of the Riding for the Disabled (Gympie) Ian Groundwater. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Fifty children with childhood heart disease in Mackay will no longer have to travel to Brisbane every few months, for tests and treatment, now that a brand-new echocardiography ultrasound machine has been donated to the local hospital.

Among the many donors were Hamilton Calen Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who helped the Mackay Hospital Foundation to reach its $135,000 target. The new machine is now stationed at Mackay Base Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Ambulatory Care Service.

Hamilton Calen Masonic Lodge Secretary Graham Townsend said they initially donated $8,000 with the help of Hand Heart Pocket. An additional $19,000 was provided by Hand Heart Pocket to ensure the Foundation reached its target sooner.

“This was indeed a huge community effort, and we are so happy to have been involved,” Graham said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said when the local Freemasons approached them about supporting this initiative, they didn’t hesitate to lend a hand.

“Throwing our support behind charitable initiatives that alleviate suffering and empower people to lead better lives is what we’re all about,” Gary said.

“This initiative will make a world of difference – making family life far less unsettled for these families,” Gary said.

“By working with Hamilton Calen Masonic Lodge at a grassroots level, we’ve been able to help make this important local initiative a reality,” he said.

Photo: Members of Hamilton Calen Masonic Lodge at the unveiling of the new ultrasound machine.  

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland was today awarded the inaugural Queensland Community Foundation’s Board of Governors’ Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Philanthropy of the Year Awards for 2019.

Having significantly increased its philanthropic footprint in recent years, the award recognises an individual or organisation for their exceptional and sustained Queensland philanthropy.  

Hand Heart Pocket Chairman Tom Wiltshire said he was honoured to accept this award on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.

“I wish to acknowledge our members throughout the state – our work is built on the legacy of Freemasonry, dating back more than 110 years,” Tom said.

Following the sale of their aged care and retirement living business in 2016, the organisation returned to its philanthropic roots. Guided by their long-term strategy, Hand Heart Pocket has identified six key areas of support. These include men’s mental and physical health, employment for youth with mental health issues, women’s financial and physical security, the ageing population, education initiatives for those with a disability or in necessitous circumstance, and funding and financial assistance for families and individuals in need.  

“Today, we are making a bigger difference for more Queenslanders than ever before. Over the past three years, we have provided $8.3 million in grants and in-kind support to other non-profit organisations.”

In addition to working with their members at a grassroots level, the Freemason charity provides Significant and Flagship Grants to other charities, where there is an unmet need, helping them to fill gaps in funding or ensure that essential services can continue. Its holistic approach has incorporated a sponsored staff volunteer day and the organisation has also provided in-kind support and expertise to some of their charity partners to maximise the impact of their grant.

“Everything we do is about providing a hand up, to help alleviate suffering and empower people to lead better lives, so it’s wonderful to be recognised in this way,” he said.  

"Thank you also to our charity partners Help Enterprises, Hear and Say, YellowBridge QLD and Trojan’s Trek who nominated us for this wonderful award."

Find out more about our partners and the important work of Hand Heart Pocket.

For the full list of award winners visit the QFC website.

Photo: (from left) Hear and Say CEO Chris McCarthy, YellowBridge QLD CEO Penny Hamilton, Hand Heart Pocket Director Dr Jason Bingham and Chairman Tom Wiltshire, Trojan's Trek's Peter Keith, Help Enterprises CEO Kerry Browne and Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark at the QCF Philanthropist of the Year Awards.

Patients with respiratory problems at Laidley Hospital can breathe easier after two new Airvo humidifiers were funded by Argyle Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The equipment will lessen the delay of treatment, with patients not having to travel to Toowoomba, Ipswich or Brisbane hospitals.

Argyle Masonic Lodge representative Peter Hooper said the majority of the $6,000 donation went towards the humidifiers, with a few hundred dollars going to other important equipment for the hospital.

“Our charity bowls day was a huge success yet again thanks to the support of the public and the business community,” Peter said.

“We’re committed to giving our local hospital a helping hand to care for those in poor health. In previous years, with the assistance of Hand Heart Pocket we have donated a bladder scanner and a mobile bath to the Laidley Hospital. We’ve also supported Blue Care and those affected by the drought,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing essential equipment to improve patients’ quality of life was in line with their long-term charitable goals.

“Initiatives that help to alleviate suffering and misfortune align with our values, hence why we matched Argyle Masonic Lodge's latest efforts,” Gary said.

“Similarly, two of our key focus areas include men’s mental and physical health and ways to support an ageing population. It’s been great to work with the local masons to double their impact at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: Argyle Masonic Lodge representative Peter Hooper (centre) alongside members of the Laidley Hospital Auxiliary.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Queensland Masonic Lodge’s Ian De Villiers was recently awarded the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence Jewel, the highest benevolence honour, for his tireless efforts towards improving the financial and physical security of women within his community.

Ian has been a Freemason for almost 35 years. For at least ten of those years, Ian has devoted his time to supporting victims of domestic violence by fundraising for the Women’s Crisis Support Service Inc. which operates the Ipswich Women’s Shelter.  

In the last five years alone, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, his Lodge, under his leadership, has donated close to $20,000 towards the shelter’s resettlement program to help hundreds of vulnerable women and their children to get back on their feet.  

Similarly, in 2018 he successfully championed the work of the Shelter to secure a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket.

Congratulations on your award Ian and for your tireless efforts to make a difference in your community.

Photo: Queensland Masonic Lodge Worshipful Master Tom Lane and Order of Service to Benevolence Jewel recipient Ian De Villiers. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Far North Queenslanders affected by cancer will now be able to access additional support services to improve their quality of life following the official opening of the COUCH Wellness Centre in Cairns this week.

Representatives of the Carpentaria District Freemasons and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland were among those in attendance to celebrate the opening of stage one of the development.

The milestone was particularly special for the Masonic fraternity as Hand Heart Pocket, in consultation with the Carpentaria District Freemasons, had provided a half-a-million-dollar Significant Grant towards the initial stage of construction for a large conference pavilion and an amenities block.

Once complete the health precinct, which is the first of its kind for the Cairns region, will deliver services that provide a holistic approach to cancer care, to improve the quality of life for people living with cancer (and beyond) as well as their carers. The services will include allied health and complementary therapies, as well as a focus on skills and education on how to live with cancer, group support and other well-being and beauty services.

District Grand Master Henry Condon said it feels like it was only yesterday that they were at the sod turning.

“We are so excited to be on this journey with COUCH to ensure people impacted by cancer in the region can access holistic support to improve their overall health and wellbeing,” Henry said.

“For the first time they will be able to remain close to home while receiving the care and support that they need in a unique rainforest environment. The local Freemasons couldn’t be prouder to be associated with this regional initiative,” he said.

The vision to develop a wellness centre in Far North Queensland was first spearheaded by the Woodward family, back in 2006 when Charlie and Pip Woodward founded the cancer carer charity COUCH. Two years later, the wider Woodward family donated a 2.5-hectare property on Reservoir Rd, Manoora. For over a decade COUCH has rallied the government, wider community and private donors to get behind the project.

COUCH Chair Ron Holden said that the opening of the COUCH Wellness Centre facility demonstrates what can be achieved when we work together.

“We would like to express our sincere thanks to all those that helped to get this project off the ground to enhance the lives of people impacted with cancer – particularly the Carpentaria District Freemasons and Hand Heart Pocket.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark explained why they took an interest in supporting the initiative on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.

“In 2017, we came on board to provide a hand up with the COUCH Wellness Centre because their goals aligned with our long-term charitable focus, in terms of alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“Also, Gordon and Jack Woodward and their father Charles (Snr), were instrumental in the early development of the Carpentaria Freemasons’ Homes and Woodward Retirement Village in the 1970s and 1980s, both formerly owned by Masonic Care Queensland – so it a way for us to continue supporting Masonic charity in the District.”

“We were moved to see the Centre in action and are confident the families that walk through these doors in the years to come will be in the best hands,” he said.

Photo: COUCH Chairman Ron Holden, COUCH Co-founder Pip Woodward, Carpentaria District Grand Master Henry Condon, Carpentaria Deputy District Grand Master Raja Chohan, Rani Chohan, Helen Sims, Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Carpentaria Freemason Alan Sims and Hand Heart Pocket Board Member Spencer Christensen.

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