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The Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre will soon provide more support to at-risk youth and their families, thanks to a COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The $9,353 grant will allow the centre to roll-out a new Seasons of Youth Program to build the emotional and mental health of young people and their parents who are dealing with grief and loss.

The centre plays a crucial role in providing counselling and other programs for young people in the area.

Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre representative Fran Hodgson said the pandemic was yet another traumatic experience for the region that was already doing it tough.

“The last three years of drought and the severe bushfire season has made life incredibly difficult for numerous families and, with the addition of the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety is at an all-time high,” Ms Hodgson said.

“These funds will enable our youth worker to undertake training in Brisbane and gain access to all the necessary resources to deliver the program on the Granite Belt.”

Stanthorpe Freemasons Lodge Secretary Justin Liddy said they nominated the centre for the grant.

“Mental health is extremely important, especially right now, our community has been through so much and it is imperative we continue to support those struggling during this time,” Mr Liddy 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 around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Mr Mark said.

“The Seasons of Youth program will help at-risk youth to lead better lives. We are glad Freemasons could provide this extra support to the Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre at a time when their community needs them the most.”

Photo: Stanthorpe Freemasons Lodge Secretary Justin Liddy and Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre Youth Worker Desley Hedges.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

More at-risk youth in Charleville will be given a helping hand to be job-ready, with Charleville Neighbourhood Centre securing a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The funding will support the centre to continue its work assisting at-risk youth gain local employment at a time when unemployment levels across the country are very high.

Charleville Neighbourhood Centre representative Angela Young said it was important to keep young people from the small rural community in local jobs wherever possible.

“By assisting our youth in finding local employment, the community benefits from flow-on effects such as retention of family units, increased income through additional wages spent within the community, and the development of future community leaders,” Angela said.

“We are so grateful to Charleville Freemasons Lodge for nominating us for this grant.”

Charleville Freemasons Lodge Secretary said the Charleville Neighbourhood Centre provided a crucial service to the community.

“Supporting local young people, local families and the local economy is always extremely important, but especially right now, during this pandemic. We cannot afford to lose this service,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were pleased to be able to provide this support to the Charleville Neighbourhood Centre to help them continue to work with at-risk youth during these tough times.

“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,” Gary said.

“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 close to $700,000 in emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.

Photo: Charleville Neighbourhood Centre Youth Support Worker Rebecca Horton.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

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.

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

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

Places are limited. Partners also welcome. 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 

More at-risk youth in Emerald will gain skills for the future and contribute to the community, with the local PCYC being awarded a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The centre will put the funds towards new equipment and the fit-out of a new space on club grounds, which will become a mentoring hub for young people on community service orders.

PCYC Emerald Branch Manager Sgt Julia Henderson said under the enhanced program, they will be able to mentor more at-risk youth who are undertaking community service and give them new skills to have hope for their futures.

“The young people in the program will gain a range of life skills like painting, gardening, resume writing, interview skills, and PCYC online training, so having this dedicated space will make an immense difference,” Julia said.

Alexandra Freemasons Lodge representative Andrew Farquhar said they nominated PCYC Emerald for the grant.

“Supporting local young people at pivotal times in their lives is always extremely important,” Andrew said.

“PCYC Emerald plays a role in providing practical outcomes for our young people who need support to develop skills that will ultimately improve their lives.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were pleased to be able to provide this support to PCYC Emerald to help empower and nurture at-risk youth.

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

“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 close to $700,000 in emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.

Photo: Emerald Freemasons Bill Crosse and Pierre Oelofse with Sgt Julia Henderson (centre).

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) in Bundaberg will take to the skies with essential supplies and equipment to keep their crew safe amid COVID-19.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has provided a $9,220 COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant to the aeromedical operator to purchase personal protective equipment to help minimise the spread of COVID-19.

The grant will also be used in purchasing a disinfectant fog machine, which will allow for more thorough cleaning of the aircraft.

RFDS Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the new equipment was essential in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“The disinfectant fog machine is particularly valuable as it will allow us to quickly but thoroughly clean the aircraft before and after we transport patients.

“We have seen a surge in demand for our services since the beginning of the pandemic and minimising its spread to remote and rural communities is paramount.”

Corinthian Royal Arch Chapter representative Col Hay said they nominated the Bundaberg Royal Flying Doctor Service for the grant.

“This is an organisation that we have supported over many years here in the Wide Bay, so it’s wonderful to know that we’ve been able to make a difference during these difficult times,” Mr Hay 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 around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“Bundaberg RFDS provides an essential service for the region, and we are glad we could provide this extra support to frontline staff at a time when their community needs them the most.”

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Isolated families in Barcaldine will continue to receive support from Outback Futures during the pandemic with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland providing a $9,900 COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant.

Outback Futures is a not-for-profit organisation providing mental health and wellbeing support for outback Queensland communities. The grant will support the delivery of the Stay with Me program in the Barcaldine region.

Outback Futures Chief Executive Officer Selena Gomersall said the program aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those in isolated areas.

“There is an increasing demand for our services in rural and remote communities, and this funding will allow us to expand our offering and provide more video-connect therapy and clinical support sessions,” Ms Gomersall said.

“The program, on the whole, will deliver 55 hours of clinical support, education development, mental health and psychological support for rural and remote families in Central West Queensland who have limited access to mental health services.”

Comet Lodge Secretary Jason Ricks said the Barcaldine Freemasons nominated Outback Futures because mental health was an ongoing/growing concern amid the pandemic.

“With the heightened uneasiness and anxiety due to the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 crisis, families are more vulnerable than ever to mental health issues, and many may need extra emotional support,” Mr Ricks 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 around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“Those living in remote areas face unique challenges in accessing adequate physical health support as well as mental health and emotional support, so it is imperative we are able to help fund critical services like Outback Futures.”

“We are glad Freemasons could provide this extra support to Outback Futures at a time when communities need them the most.”

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Veterans experiencing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to receive a hand up from Wounded Heroes following a $10,000 Emergency Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The funding will contribute to Wounded Heroes’ emergency relief program which provides accommodation, food and mental health treatment for veterans and their families experiencing financial, personal, emotional, and mental difficulties.

Since March, Wounded Heroes’ budget revenue has dropped by $188,000 because of the government’s strict COVID-19 restrictions.

Wounded Heroes Chief Executive Officer Martin Shaw said the grant would allow the organisation to meet the increasing demand for its services.

“Between January and March, we have provided assistance to 181 veterans and their families - a 250 per cent increase from the same period last year,” Mr Shaw said.

Camp Hill Freemasons Lodge representative John Arnold said it now was more important than ever for services like Wounded Heroes to be able to operate in the community.

“We nominated Wounded Heroes for the grant because many veterans and their families are already at a higher risk of becoming homeless,” Mr Arnold said.

“It is important that those who have fought for our country do not slip through the cracks and can continue to receive support.”

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 around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“Wounded Heroes’ work is essential to our community. We are glad Freemasons could provide this extra support at a time when they need it most.”

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Bloomhill Cancer Care’s calls for help have been answered by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to ensure Sunshine Coast cancer patients can continue to receive much-needed care.

The Freemason charity has provided a COVID-19 Emergency Grant of $200,000 in unrestricted funding to help support Bloomhill Cancer Care’s operating costs in the wake of the pandemic.

The grant comes a year after the service received a $570,000 Flagship Grant and $130,000 interest-free loan from Hand Heart Pocket to expand its capabilities as a wellness facility in Buderim and relocate the warehouse for its op shop social enterprise.

The funding comes at a crucial time for Bloomhill Cancer Care, with social distancing regulations significantly reducing its primary source of trading revenue. The forced trade suspensions of 11 of its 12 social enterprise op shops has impacted the organisation’s ability to continue running its cancer wellness services.

To further lessen the financial burden of the pandemic, Hand Heart Pocket has also provided Bloomhill Cancer Care with more flexibility around the repayment of last year’s interest-free loan.

Bloomhill Cancer Care CEO Chris Frank said the grant, along with generous community support, would help the organisation get through this rough patch so it can continue providing specialised support to thousands of cancer patients living on the Sunshine Coast, Kilcoy, Gympie and Burpengary.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been completely debilitating for our organisation,” Chris said.

“This grant, as well as the flexibility Hand Heart Pocket has afforded us around our existing loan, will alleviate some of our financial stress, allow us to keep staff on, and help preserve the business during this difficult period so we can focus on improving outcomes over the long-term.

“It will also continue to tide us through while we undergo a trial period to conservatively start to build up op shop revenue once again.”

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.

 “Hand Heart Pocket is committed to ensuring its existing charity partners can continue providing support to the community during this challenging time,” Gary said.

“So far, we have provided around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic.

“Bloomhill Cancer Care provides an essential service for its region, and we are glad we could step in and provide this extra support at a time when their community needs them the most.”

Photo: Bloomhill Cancer Care CEO Chris Franck discusses their partnership with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland at an event last year.

To find out more about Bloomhill Cancer Care go to www.bloomhill.com.au 

Cairns COUCH Cancer Wellness Centre has renewed confidence in their capacity to create a sustainable future supporting Far North Queenslanders affected by cancer and their families, thanks to a $106,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant announced today from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The unrestricted funding from Hand Heart Pocket will fill a fundraising shortfall experienced as a result of the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The grant will also allow the centre to continue providing its telehealth services free of charge during COVID-19, ensuring critical support is provided, in a safe manner, for those who needed it most.

COUCH Wellness Centre Chair Ron Holden said that the grant was a welcome relief since the centre was still in its growth phase.

“Although our past fundraising activities have given us the capacity to provide free telehealth services in the short-term, the local Cairns tourism businesses that support us have been severely impacted by the pandemic,” said Mr Holden.

“This additional financial support for the Wellness Centre means we won’t need to diminish our working capital during this difficult time and gives us renewed confidence in being able to create and sustain a financially secure future for COUCH.”

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.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to ensure our existing partners and grassroots charities can continue providing support to the community during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“We were strong supporters of the COUCH Wellness Centre development, providing a half-amillion- dollar grant to see the initial stage of the centre come to fruition.

“The COUCH Wellness Centre provides an essential service for Far North Queensland, and we wanted to ensure that they could meet current needs and continue to improve outcomes for the community over the long-term.”

Photo: COUCH Wellness Centre in Cairns is one of the latest recipients of a COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

To find out more about COUCH Wellness Centre go to www.couch.org.au

A record number of charities will receive a hand up to continue their important work in the community, as Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provides close to $700,000 in emergency support and Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Emergency Grants totalling almost $600,000 have been provided to ten charities to help them continue their services and to meet emerging needs as a result of the pandemic. Five of the organisations to benefit are grassroots charities identified by Freemason Lodges. While some of Hand Heart Pocket’s charity partners have received more substantial and flexible support such as Murilla Community Centre in Miles, Vanguard Laundry Services in Toowoomba, Bloomhill Cancer Care on the Sunshine Coast and COUCH Wellness Centre in Cairns.

A further fifteen grassroots charitable initiatives identified by Freemason Lodges will share in just over $120,000 as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2020 Grassroots Community Grants round. These grants provide a cash boost of up to $10,000 for qualifying grassroots charitable initiatives identified by Freemason Lodges across Queensland and in Papua New Guinea that support youth at risk, our ageing population, men’s mental and physical health and women’s financial and physical security.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity had provided additional funding in the form of COVID-19 Emergency Grants and had increased its funding for its annual Community Grants in response to current community needs.

“We are committed to ensuring our charity partners, as well as grassroots charities, can continue providing support to the community during this challenging time and achieve their planned outcomes over the long-term,” Gary said.

Eight Central West Queensland charities received the lion’s share of funds with just over $200,000 being distributed in this region. One of the COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant recipients, Kaloma Home for the Aged, will purchase equipment such as iPads, to help keep the aged residents connected during this difficult time.

Six Western Queensland charities such as Emerald PCYC and Charleville Neighbourhood Centre received a share in almost $40,000. Emerald PCYC will use its grant to invest in new equipment and fit out a new space to run their enhanced program for at-risk young people on community service orders.

The Wide Bay region was gifted just over $32,000 with three charitable initiatives benefiting including the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Bundaberg, who received a COVID-19 Emergency Grant to purchase equipment and supplies to help reduce the risk for staff and patients during the pandemic.

North Queensland’s Joyful Foundation received $10,000 along with $106,000 in COVID-19 emergency support to COUCH Wellness Centre in the Far North.

Three Sunshine Coast causes shared in almost $210,000 worth of support, including a COVID-19 Emergency Grant to Bloomhill Cancer Care to help them navigate the pandemic.

Hand Heart Pocket’s COVID-19 Emergency Grants will continue to be awarded until the end of June.

“We maintain our commitment to helping our state-wide charity partners during this difficult time and will continue to work with Freemason Lodges to identify grassroots charitable initiatives that require emergency support.”

Find out who we help

The Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre will soon provide more support to at-risk youth and their families, thanks to a COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The $9,353 grant will allow the centre to roll-out a new Seasons of Youth Program to build the emotional and mental health of young people and their parents who are dealing with grief and loss.

The centre plays a crucial role in providing counselling and other programs for young people in the area.

Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre representative Fran Hodgson said the pandemic was yet another traumatic experience for the region that was already doing it tough.

“The last three years of drought and the severe bushfire season has made life incredibly difficult for numerous families and, with the addition of the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety is at an all-time high,” Ms Hodgson said.

“These funds will enable our youth worker to undertake training in Brisbane and gain access to all the necessary resources to deliver the program on the Granite Belt.”

Stanthorpe Freemasons Lodge Secretary Justin Liddy said they nominated the centre for the grant.

“Mental health is extremely important, especially right now, our community has been through so much and it is imperative we continue to support those struggling during this time,” Mr Liddy 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 around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Mr Mark said.

“The Seasons of Youth program will help at-risk youth to lead better lives. We are glad Freemasons could provide this extra support to the Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre at a time when their community needs them the most.”

Photo: Stanthorpe Freemasons Lodge Secretary Justin Liddy and Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre Youth Worker Desley Hedges.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

More at-risk youth in Charleville will be given a helping hand to be job-ready, with Charleville Neighbourhood Centre securing a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The funding will support the centre to continue its work assisting at-risk youth gain local employment at a time when unemployment levels across the country are very high.

Charleville Neighbourhood Centre representative Angela Young said it was important to keep young people from the small rural community in local jobs wherever possible.

“By assisting our youth in finding local employment, the community benefits from flow-on effects such as retention of family units, increased income through additional wages spent within the community, and the development of future community leaders,” Angela said.

“We are so grateful to Charleville Freemasons Lodge for nominating us for this grant.”

Charleville Freemasons Lodge Secretary said the Charleville Neighbourhood Centre provided a crucial service to the community.

“Supporting local young people, local families and the local economy is always extremely important, but especially right now, during this pandemic. We cannot afford to lose this service,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were pleased to be able to provide this support to the Charleville Neighbourhood Centre to help them continue to work with at-risk youth during these tough times.

“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,” Gary said.

“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 close to $700,000 in emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.

Photo: Charleville Neighbourhood Centre Youth Support Worker Rebecca Horton.

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

More at-risk youth in Emerald will gain skills for the future and contribute to the community, with the local PCYC being awarded a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The centre will put the funds towards new equipment and the fit-out of a new space on club grounds, which will become a mentoring hub for young people on community service orders.

PCYC Emerald Branch Manager Sgt Julia Henderson said under the enhanced program, they will be able to mentor more at-risk youth who are undertaking community service and give them new skills to have hope for their futures.

“The young people in the program will gain a range of life skills like painting, gardening, resume writing, interview skills, and PCYC online training, so having this dedicated space will make an immense difference,” Julia said.

Alexandra Freemasons Lodge representative Andrew Farquhar said they nominated PCYC Emerald for the grant.

“Supporting local young people at pivotal times in their lives is always extremely important,” Andrew said.

“PCYC Emerald plays a role in providing practical outcomes for our young people who need support to develop skills that will ultimately improve their lives.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were pleased to be able to provide this support to PCYC Emerald to help empower and nurture at-risk youth.

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

“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 close to $700,000 in emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.

Photo: Emerald Freemasons Bill Crosse and Pierre Oelofse with Sgt Julia Henderson (centre).

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) in Bundaberg will take to the skies with essential supplies and equipment to keep their crew safe amid COVID-19.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has provided a $9,220 COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant to the aeromedical operator to purchase personal protective equipment to help minimise the spread of COVID-19.

The grant will also be used in purchasing a disinfectant fog machine, which will allow for more thorough cleaning of the aircraft.

RFDS Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the new equipment was essential in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“The disinfectant fog machine is particularly valuable as it will allow us to quickly but thoroughly clean the aircraft before and after we transport patients.

“We have seen a surge in demand for our services since the beginning of the pandemic and minimising its spread to remote and rural communities is paramount.”

Corinthian Royal Arch Chapter representative Col Hay said they nominated the Bundaberg Royal Flying Doctor Service for the grant.

“This is an organisation that we have supported over many years here in the Wide Bay, so it’s wonderful to know that we’ve been able to make a difference during these difficult times,” Mr Hay 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 around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“Bundaberg RFDS provides an essential service for the region, and we are glad we could provide this extra support to frontline staff at a time when their community needs them the most.”

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Isolated families in Barcaldine will continue to receive support from Outback Futures during the pandemic with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland providing a $9,900 COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant.

Outback Futures is a not-for-profit organisation providing mental health and wellbeing support for outback Queensland communities. The grant will support the delivery of the Stay with Me program in the Barcaldine region.

Outback Futures Chief Executive Officer Selena Gomersall said the program aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those in isolated areas.

“There is an increasing demand for our services in rural and remote communities, and this funding will allow us to expand our offering and provide more video-connect therapy and clinical support sessions,” Ms Gomersall said.

“The program, on the whole, will deliver 55 hours of clinical support, education development, mental health and psychological support for rural and remote families in Central West Queensland who have limited access to mental health services.”

Comet Lodge Secretary Jason Ricks said the Barcaldine Freemasons nominated Outback Futures because mental health was an ongoing/growing concern amid the pandemic.

“With the heightened uneasiness and anxiety due to the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 crisis, families are more vulnerable than ever to mental health issues, and many may need extra emotional support,” Mr Ricks 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 around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“Those living in remote areas face unique challenges in accessing adequate physical health support as well as mental health and emotional support, so it is imperative we are able to help fund critical services like Outback Futures.”

“We are glad Freemasons could provide this extra support to Outback Futures at a time when communities need them the most.”

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Veterans experiencing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to receive a hand up from Wounded Heroes following a $10,000 Emergency Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The funding will contribute to Wounded Heroes’ emergency relief program which provides accommodation, food and mental health treatment for veterans and their families experiencing financial, personal, emotional, and mental difficulties.

Since March, Wounded Heroes’ budget revenue has dropped by $188,000 because of the government’s strict COVID-19 restrictions.

Wounded Heroes Chief Executive Officer Martin Shaw said the grant would allow the organisation to meet the increasing demand for its services.

“Between January and March, we have provided assistance to 181 veterans and their families - a 250 per cent increase from the same period last year,” Mr Shaw said.

Camp Hill Freemasons Lodge representative John Arnold said it now was more important than ever for services like Wounded Heroes to be able to operate in the community.

“We nominated Wounded Heroes for the grant because many veterans and their families are already at a higher risk of becoming homeless,” Mr Arnold said.

“It is important that those who have fought for our country do not slip through the cracks and can continue to receive support.”

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 around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“Wounded Heroes’ work is essential to our community. We are glad Freemasons could provide this extra support at a time when they need it most.”

Find out more about our support during COVID-19

Bloomhill Cancer Care’s calls for help have been answered by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to ensure Sunshine Coast cancer patients can continue to receive much-needed care.

The Freemason charity has provided a COVID-19 Emergency Grant of $200,000 in unrestricted funding to help support Bloomhill Cancer Care’s operating costs in the wake of the pandemic.

The grant comes a year after the service received a $570,000 Flagship Grant and $130,000 interest-free loan from Hand Heart Pocket to expand its capabilities as a wellness facility in Buderim and relocate the warehouse for its op shop social enterprise.

The funding comes at a crucial time for Bloomhill Cancer Care, with social distancing regulations significantly reducing its primary source of trading revenue. The forced trade suspensions of 11 of its 12 social enterprise op shops has impacted the organisation’s ability to continue running its cancer wellness services.

To further lessen the financial burden of the pandemic, Hand Heart Pocket has also provided Bloomhill Cancer Care with more flexibility around the repayment of last year’s interest-free loan.

Bloomhill Cancer Care CEO Chris Frank said the grant, along with generous community support, would help the organisation get through this rough patch so it can continue providing specialised support to thousands of cancer patients living on the Sunshine Coast, Kilcoy, Gympie and Burpengary.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been completely debilitating for our organisation,” Chris said.

“This grant, as well as the flexibility Hand Heart Pocket has afforded us around our existing loan, will alleviate some of our financial stress, allow us to keep staff on, and help preserve the business during this difficult period so we can focus on improving outcomes over the long-term.

“It will also continue to tide us through while we undergo a trial period to conservatively start to build up op shop revenue once again.”

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.

 “Hand Heart Pocket is committed to ensuring its existing charity partners can continue providing support to the community during this challenging time,” Gary said.

“So far, we have provided around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic.

“Bloomhill Cancer Care provides an essential service for its region, and we are glad we could step in and provide this extra support at a time when their community needs them the most.”

Photo: Bloomhill Cancer Care CEO Chris Franck discusses their partnership with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland at an event last year.

To find out more about Bloomhill Cancer Care go to www.bloomhill.com.au 

Cairns COUCH Cancer Wellness Centre has renewed confidence in their capacity to create a sustainable future supporting Far North Queenslanders affected by cancer and their families, thanks to a $106,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant announced today from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The unrestricted funding from Hand Heart Pocket will fill a fundraising shortfall experienced as a result of the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The grant will also allow the centre to continue providing its telehealth services free of charge during COVID-19, ensuring critical support is provided, in a safe manner, for those who needed it most.

COUCH Wellness Centre Chair Ron Holden said that the grant was a welcome relief since the centre was still in its growth phase.

“Although our past fundraising activities have given us the capacity to provide free telehealth services in the short-term, the local Cairns tourism businesses that support us have been severely impacted by the pandemic,” said Mr Holden.

“This additional financial support for the Wellness Centre means we won’t need to diminish our working capital during this difficult time and gives us renewed confidence in being able to create and sustain a financially secure future for COUCH.”

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.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to ensure our existing partners and grassroots charities can continue providing support to the community during the pandemic,” Gary said.

“We were strong supporters of the COUCH Wellness Centre development, providing a half-amillion- dollar grant to see the initial stage of the centre come to fruition.

“The COUCH Wellness Centre provides an essential service for Far North Queensland, and we wanted to ensure that they could meet current needs and continue to improve outcomes for the community over the long-term.”

Photo: COUCH Wellness Centre in Cairns is one of the latest recipients of a COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

To find out more about COUCH Wellness Centre go to www.couch.org.au

A record number of charities will receive a hand up to continue their important work in the community, as Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provides close to $700,000 in emergency support and Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Emergency Grants totalling almost $600,000 have been provided to ten charities to help them continue their services and to meet emerging needs as a result of the pandemic. Five of the organisations to benefit are grassroots charities identified by Freemason Lodges. While some of Hand Heart Pocket’s charity partners have received more substantial and flexible support such as Murilla Community Centre in Miles, Vanguard Laundry Services in Toowoomba, Bloomhill Cancer Care on the Sunshine Coast and COUCH Wellness Centre in Cairns.

A further fifteen grassroots charitable initiatives identified by Freemason Lodges will share in just over $120,000 as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2020 Grassroots Community Grants round. These grants provide a cash boost of up to $10,000 for qualifying grassroots charitable initiatives identified by Freemason Lodges across Queensland and in Papua New Guinea that support youth at risk, our ageing population, men’s mental and physical health and women’s financial and physical security.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity had provided additional funding in the form of COVID-19 Emergency Grants and had increased its funding for its annual Community Grants in response to current community needs.

“We are committed to ensuring our charity partners, as well as grassroots charities, can continue providing support to the community during this challenging time and achieve their planned outcomes over the long-term,” Gary said.

Eight Central West Queensland charities received the lion’s share of funds with just over $200,000 being distributed in this region. One of the COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant recipients, Kaloma Home for the Aged, will purchase equipment such as iPads, to help keep the aged residents connected during this difficult time.

Six Western Queensland charities such as Emerald PCYC and Charleville Neighbourhood Centre received a share in almost $40,000. Emerald PCYC will use its grant to invest in new equipment and fit out a new space to run their enhanced program for at-risk young people on community service orders.

The Wide Bay region was gifted just over $32,000 with three charitable initiatives benefiting including the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Bundaberg, who received a COVID-19 Emergency Grant to purchase equipment and supplies to help reduce the risk for staff and patients during the pandemic.

North Queensland’s Joyful Foundation received $10,000 along with $106,000 in COVID-19 emergency support to COUCH Wellness Centre in the Far North.

Three Sunshine Coast causes shared in almost $210,000 worth of support, including a COVID-19 Emergency Grant to Bloomhill Cancer Care to help them navigate the pandemic.

Hand Heart Pocket’s COVID-19 Emergency Grants will continue to be awarded until the end of June.

“We maintain our commitment to helping our state-wide charity partners during this difficult time and will continue to work with Freemason Lodges to identify grassroots charitable initiatives that require emergency support.”

Find out who we help

Vanguard Laundry Services in Toowoomba can keep people affected by mental illness employed in the wake of COVID-19, thanks to the support of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

A $100,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant was given by the Freemason charity to the social enterprise commercial laundry so it can continue improving outcomes for people in the region with a lived experience of mental illness.

Since opening its doors, Vanguard Laundry Services has provided jobs and employment pathways for 80 people impacted by mental illness and has helped many of them successfully transition into mainstream work.

Low hotel occupancy as a result of COVID-19 has had a domino effect for Vanguard Laundry Services, with the social enterprise commercial laundry experiencing a reduction in client demand for its services from 52 tonnes of laundry per week to less than eight tonnes per week.

Vanguard Laundry Services Founder Luke Terry said the COVID-19 situation had significantly impacted the laundry’s bottom line, making it very difficult to keep employing people in need.

“The unrestricted COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket will assist us in maintaining critical staff and helping preserve our business during this difficult period,” Mr Terry said.

“Having a mental illness or disability can be a huge barrier to being gainfully employed, but with the right support, we have been able to prove that it is possible to find meaningful employment and enjoy greater independence.

“Without the support of our key partners like Hand Heart Pocket, our sustainable business model would face a significant threat. We are so thankful for this hand up.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity has provided almost $600,000 to date in COVID-19 Emergency Grants and is focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This COVID-19 Emergency Grant is in addition to the $277,500 Significant Grant provided to the laundry in November last year to allow it to take on larger clients and service new contracts, with a view to creating new jobs and an employment pathway for 30 people in the next 12 months,” Mr Mark said.

“Hand Heart Pocket is committed to ensuring its existing charity partners can continue providing support to the community during this challenging time and achieve their planned outcomes over the long-term.

“Vanguard Laundry Services provides an important service for its region, and we are pleased to be able to lend this extra support to help the organisation continue to create employment pathways for people with mental illness.”

Photo: Freemason charity Hand Heart Pocket provides a $100,000 COVID-19 Emergency Grant to charity partner Vanguard Laundry Services in addition to the $277,500 Significant Grant announced to the social enterprise in November last year (pictured).

To find out more about Vanguard Laundry Services go to www.vanguardlaundryservices.com.au

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.

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

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

Places are limited. Partners also welcome. 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