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Members, charity partners, supporters and stakeholders of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland came together last night for the annual Year in Review Event to hear about the organisation’s support of contemporary families and communities across the state.

Held at the Brisbane Airport Conference Centre, the evening was also the backdrop for the launch of Hand Heart Pocket’s refined philanthropic approach in support of initiatives to improve outcomes for youth at risk. Chairman Alasdair Begley explained that for the next three years the organisation would direct the majority of its significant and flagship funding towards this area of work. A whiteboard video shared some of the stark figures associated with this cohort. He also stressed that grassroots initiatives identified by Freemason Lodges that aligned with their broader strategy would continue to be supported.

The philanthropic activities and achievements of the financial year were captured in a highlights video, showing the impacts and outcomes that have been made possible. It was also reported that 154 grants had been provided last financial year to the value of $3.58 million, including in-kind support to 20 initiatives. For the most part, the larger grants supported capital projects and infrastructure to enable charities to deliver essential services. At a grassroots level, 84 initiatives identified by Freemason Lodges had been backed, totaling $538,000. This was up by $163,000 from the previous financial year and demonstrates how Lodges are banding together and working with Hand Heart Pocket to make a bigger  difference in their community. 60 individuals also received a hand up through the Benevolence Assistance program. This included those impacted by the Townsville Floods earlier in the year.

From a promotional perspective, it was communicated that by signing on as the Naming Rights Sponsor of the River 2 Reef Charity Ride in Mackay from 2019-2021, Hand Heart Pocket and the Mackay District Freemasons could ensure that a third local charity could benefit from the event to support men’s mental health in the region. Hand Heart Pocket was also able to help the Mackay District Freemasons to elevate the profile of their charity work in the region and the important role they play in their community. Similarly, a Men’s Health Awareness Campaign is being conducted in partnership with CheckUP and Freemason Lodges to benefit communities across the state. 

Special thanks go to Hand Heart Pocket’s charity partners who presented as part of an interactive Gallery Walk, providing attendees with more insight into the impacts being made at a significant and flagship level. They included Bloomhill Cancer Care, Marine Rescue Hervey Bay, Guide Dogs Queensland and Pinaroo Roma Inc. Hand Heart Pocket board member Sandy Blackburn-Wright also conducted an educational piece on how social impact can be achieved through social enterprise.

Hand Heart Pocket is extremely grateful to all those that attended yesterday’s event and look forward to sharing our impacts into the future.

Read Hand Heart Pocket's Annual Review 2019

Find out more about our refined philanthropic approach by watching our whiteboard video

View our highlights video to see how we have made a difference last financial year

Two water tanks for Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled will help reduce operating costs for the non-profit so they can focus on their core mission of enhancing the quality of life of people with a disability.

Maroochydore Masonic Lodge partnered with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to donate $12,566 to help supply and fit-out two water tanks. The water tanks will provide an affordable and sustainable source of water for Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled to water the arena.

The non-profit provides equine-based therapeutic and recreational riding programs for members of the community living with a disability.

Maroochydore Masonic Lodge Secretary Doug McGill said the donation would allow Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled to continue its important work in the community.

“We wanted to be part of the solution to reducing their water costs,” Doug said.

“The money saved in the long term by using water tanks can be used to directly benefit the people who participate in the therapeutic riding programs,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said by matching the efforts of Maroochydore Masonic Lodge, a need within the community had been fulfilled.

“Supporting Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled tallies with our charitable objective of empowering people to live better lives. We are proud to support Maroochydore Lodge with their grassroots charity work for such a worthy cause,” Gary said.

Photo: Maroochydore Masonic Lodge Secretary Doug McGill presented a cheque for $12,566 to Sunshine Coast RDA representative David Morris. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

 

Wide Bay Freemason Peter Keller is the latest recipient of the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence Jewel, given in recognition of his continued support of education initiatives for children with disabilities in the region.

Peter has been a Freemason for 34 years, with 16 of those years having been as part of the craft here in Queensland.

At a grassroots level, under the leadership of Peter, his Lodges have supported a range of initiatives to make a difference for the aged, disabled, emergency services and families in necessitous circumstances.

However, his biggest passion has been to support education initiatives through the local Special School.

Peter has gone above and beyond to help enhance the learning environment for students at Hervey Bay Special School.

Over the last four years, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, Mundubbera-Burnett Lodge has donated over $20,000 to the School to improve the built environment.

Last year he also successfully campaigned for the School to receive a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket.

Peter is a passionate advocate of the local School and believes in empowering students with disabilities to lead more independent lives.

Congratulations Peter!

Photo: Freemason Peter Keller was awarded the Order of Service to Benevolence Jewel by the Grand Master Paul Holland.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

It’s not every day that the Beaudesert Masonic Centre is open to the public, but recently their doors were open for their annual open day, which included the launch of a state-wide awareness campaign focussed on improving men’s mental and physical health.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland and the local Freemasons ran an information session in partnership with CheckUP as part of the 2019 Men’s Health Matters awareness campaign. The community event was the first of up to 15 events to be held across Queensland from September 2019 – March 2020.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said empowering people to lead better lives is at the heart of their work.

“Improving men’s mental and physical health is part of our long-term charitable focus, which is why we’ve partnered with CheckUP to deliver this initiative to communities across Queensland,” Gary said.

 “We thank the local Freemasons for rallying their community and hosting this potentially life-changing initiative as part of their open day,” he said.

Our delivery partners CheckUP delivered the free information session which covered everything from nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, important CheckUPs for men, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and wellbeing and relationships.

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said the highly engaged group in Beaudesert proved that this format is the perfect vehicle to spread awareness about men’s health and wellbeing.

“It was great to see people taking an interest in their health in the Scenic Rim. Providing welcoming and non-judgemental spaces for men to talk about their physical and mental health is essential,” Ann Maree said.

“We are delighted to have formed this partnership with Hand Heart Pocket and Freemason Lodges throughout the state to deliver this campaign,” she said.

Beaudesert Freemason Len Undy said being able to align their Masonic Centre’s open day with the Men’s Health Matters event made the occasion even more special.

“Being a Freemason means having a responsibility to understand and respond to the needs of your community, so being able to explain our work while also offering such an important service was really meaningful,” Len said.

“From talking to some of the men who attended I can tell that the session really opened their eyes and got them thinking about how to better look after their bodies as well as their minds.

“That can only be good for them, their families and the broader community,” he said.

Photo: Beaudesert Masonic Lodge Secretary Len Undy, Session Facilitator Sam, CheckUP’s David Millichap, Beaudesert Masonic Lodge Master Nigel Booker and Lodge Member David Cowin.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

A second secure dementia wing at Roma’s Pinaroo Aged Care is another step closer to reality with a newly landscaped garden now officially open at the 60-bed not-for-profit facility.

Last year, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provided a $250,000 Significant Grant to help with the conversion of an existing wing so that it is purpose-built to accommodate 11 additional dementia residents. The garden forms part of this conversion.

Pinaroo Roma Aged Care Chief Executive Officer Melanie Calvert said the completion of the garden is an important milestone in the project.

“It is incredibly exciting for us to see progress being made on this project,” Melanie said.

“The garden will provide a secure and serene place for dementia residents to spend time in. The new rotunda, in particular, will be well utilised,” she said.

Once completed the converted wing will provide 11 private purpose-built single rooms, each with an ensuite. The landscaped gardens, lounge room and meals area, will help to give the wing a homely feel while being fully integrated and secure with keypad access. This will allow Pinaroo to look after a total of 23 residents with the progressive disease.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said helping communities to meet the challenges of an ageing population was part of his organisation’s long-term strategic focus.

“This partnership is about ensuring more residents with dementia will be able to remain in their own community, close to their loved ones and support networks, instead of having to move to another town,” Gary said.

“The local Freemasons felt strongly about the regional shortage in specialised residential dementia care and played a pivotal role in championing this initiative. The official opening of the new garden was the perfect way for Hand Heart Pocket and the local Freemasons to share this milestone with the community.”

Maranoa Freemason Brian Reardon said the local Freemasons were delighted to be associated with this project.

“We are proud to have campaigned for this important regional initiative through Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland,” Brian said.

“We look forward to the opening of the fully converted wing in late 2020, which we know will have a lasting impact on our community’s ability to care for the elderly,” he said.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Pinaroo Roma Aged Care Chief Executive Officer Melanie Calvert, Pinaroo Roma Aged Care Chairman Howard Hobbs and representatives of the Maranoa Freemasons at the official opening of the new garden. 

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The founder of Sheltered by Grace, a homeless shelter in Waterford, Logan City was overwhelmed when he received a phone call to say that they were to receive a hand up, to help those experiencing homelessness to get back on their feet.

The shelter recently received a $2,000 donation from the wife of the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, Waveny Holland, with the support of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. A range of essential supplies including toiletries, socks and underwear were also donated.

The funds and essentials were collected at the Grand Master’s wife’s inaugural quarterly fundraiser, which for the first time was open to friends, relatives and the general public.

“I’m so thrilled that we’ve been able to help Sheltered by Grace. This will enable them to help some of the most vulnerable in the community to make a fresh start,” Waveny said.

“I was drawn to the name initially and then looked into the support they provide and how they operate,” she said.

Established in 2010, by Jason and Lisa Loakes, the shelter offers supported accommodation, meals and medical assistance as well as a range of support services to help people to turn their lives around.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said by matching the Grand Master’s wife’s fundraising, the impact has been doubled.

“We were able to support this worthy cause because helping people to rebuild their lives aligns with our values of alleviating suffering or misfortune and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“We acknowledge the work of the Grand Master’s wife to raise these crucial funds and for bringing this organisation to our attention,” he said.

Photo: The wife of the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, Waveny Holland handed over the donation to Sheltered by Grace founder Jason Loakes (far right). 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Guide Dogs Queensland held a milestone event on Friday to celebrate the completion of the concrete slab, which forms the foundations of a new vet clinic and signals the next stage of the project’s construction.

The event recognised the contribution of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who last year provided a $230,000 Significant Grant towards the construction of the life-changing vet clinic project at Guide Dogs Queensland’s Bald Hills site. Members of Redcliffe First Settlement Masonic Lodge were also in attendance at the milestone event having supported Guide Dogs Queensland at a grassroots level over many years.

The new vet clinic will enable Guide Dogs to provide all healthcare to their dogs on site, which will reduce health risks and cut external veterinary expenses by more than half. These savings will make it possible to train an additional 24 dogs over the next five years, giving more people with low or no vision the chance to be matched with a life-changing Guide Dog.

Guide Dogs Vet Dion Humbler took Hand Heart Pocket and sponsors on a tour of the site, using chalk drawings to indicate what will soon be transformed from a slab of concrete into the first vet clinic at Guide Dogs.

After the tour, guests had to opportunity to enjoy a refreshing morning tea in the newly opened Memorial Garden.  

This is just the first of many milestones to come – with the team at Bootooloo construction working alongside McNab to keep the project on track for its grand opening in early 2020.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Redcliffe First Settlement Masonic Lodge members Graeme Lawrence, Ron Hasling and John Browne with their wives Barbara Lawrence, Barbara Hasling and Margaret Browne alongside Guide Dogs Queensland Vet Dion Humbler.

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The first sod has been turned on a purpose-built accommodation complex which will help more people with disabilities have access to appropriate housing on the Darling Downs.

The single-storey complex, located in Centenary Heights, will include four fully customised units which will meet individual needs, include assistive technology, and help empower residents to lead more independent lives.

One of the three-bedroom units will be owned by YellowBridge QLD thanks to a generous donation from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

YellowBridge received $450,000 from the Masonic charity to construct and manage the unit which will accommodate two people with disabilities and a carer.

YellowBridge QLD Chief Executive Officer Penny Hamilton said it was exciting to finally see construction commence after 12 months of planning and building approvals.

“We are in the midst of a disability housing crisis on the Darling Downs, where people with disabilities, especially those whose ageing parents can no longer look after them, have no-where to go,” Penny said.

“We know of 40 people in this position. While many have the means to buy or rent their own place, there is simply no suitable housing for them in the region,” she said.

“A few will never have the means to pay for a place to live.”

“Having access to appropriate housing is an important part of the equation for improving the overall quality of life of people with disabilities.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the local Freemasons were vocal supporters of YellowBridge QLD, due to its proven record of supporting more than 4,000 people to lead more meaningful and connected lives each year.

“Our purpose is to provide sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes; to provide a hand up to communities, charities and individuals that have limited access to other funding sources,” Mr Mark said.

“Alleviating the stress on ageing parents who care for their disabled children - through the provision of innovative purpose-built housing - aligns with our values of equipping people to lead better lives,” he said.

“We are delighted to partner with YellowBridge QLD on this important initiative and know it will be a catalyst for changing the landscape of disability housing in the region.”

The units are being built by local construction firm, Enabled Living, which specialises in custom-built housing for people with a disability. They are expected to be completed by early 2020.

Photo: Toowoomba Freemasons Ian Parry, Maurice Howell, Bob Holzberger, Roger Turnbull, Barry Hennessy, Harry Butler and Lachlan Evans joined Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, YellowBridge Chief Executive Officer Penny Hamilton, YellowBridge Chief Financial Officer Adrian Bonica and YellowBridge General Manager Disability Services Jodie Collins for the turning of the first sod. 

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As the sun came up in Mackay on Saturday morning, 1,000 participants lined up along River Street near Paxton’s Markets for the start of the Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Charity Ride.

Organisers of the annual event were thrilled to announce that $100,000 had been raised in 2019 – the most that has been raised in the event’s nine-year history – taking the total raised over nine years to well over half a million dollars.

As the new Naming Rights Sponsor of the event, Hand Heart Pocket contributed $25,000 and also agreed to match the first $50,000 raised, dollar-for-dollar. Due to this extra support from Hand Heart Pocket, for the first time in the event’s history, a third local charity will benefit. The Suicide Prevention Community Action Planning Group’s Men’s Campaign based at ‘selectability joined RACQ CQ Rescue and the Mackay and District Sporting Wheelies as  beneficiaries of the event.

Among this year’s ride participants was Hand Heart Pocket’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark who joined the Mackay District Freemasons team.

“This was my first time doing the River 2 Reef Charity Ride and while it was cold to begin with, it turned out to be a lovely day,” Gary said.

A broad cross-section of the community participated, including families as well as those well over 70 years of age.

The volunteers and supporters kept the riders going and by mid-morning many of the participants had crossed the finish line, before having some well-earned brunch at the Bluewater Quay. 

Gary said by supporting this regional community event, Hand Heart Pocket was furthering some of their own charitable goals.

“Our work is focused on alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives. Also improving men’s mental and physical health is one of our priorities, hence us having chosen a local suicide prevention awareness campaign as the third beneficiary,” Gary said.

“We thank the local Freemasons for bringing this regional community event to our attention and for their support in the lead up to the event and on the day. We look forward to seeing the impacts that will be made by the benefiting charities,” he said. 

Photo: The Mackay District Freemasons team at the starting line. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Men in the Scenic Rim will be empowered to lead better lives, with the local Freemasons set to host the first leg of a statewide awareness campaign focussed on improving men’s mental and physical health.

Coinciding with the Beaudesert Masonic Centre’s upcoming public Open Day on 29th September, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland and the local Freemasons will run an information session in partnership with CheckUP as part of the 2019 Men’s Health Matters awareness campaign. The community event is the first of up to 15 events to be held across Queensland from September 2019 – March 2020.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they are excited for the launch in Beaudesert.

“Improving men’s mental and physical health both at a statewide and grassroots level is part of our long-term charitable focus, which is why we’ve partnered with CheckUP to bring this important and potentially life-saving initiative to communities across Queensland,” Mr Mark said.

The free information session will be delivered by a healthcare provider and will cover a range of topics such as nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, important CheckUPs for men, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and wellbeing and relationships.

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said this format is the perfect vehicle to spread awareness about men’s health and wellbeing.

“We are delighted to have formed this partnership with Hand Heart Pocket and Masonic Lodges throughout the state to deliver this campaign,” she said.

 “The importance of mental and physical health can’t be ignored and providing a safe environment for attendees to have a conversation about their mental and physical health is essential,” Ms Liddy said.

Beaudesert Freemason Len Undy is looking forward to welcoming people to the Masonic Centre.

“Being attentive to the needs of the community is part of what it means to be a Freemason. If the Men’s Health Matters information session can motivate one person to make a positive change in their life, then that’s going to have a ripple effect on their family unit and our community in the long run,” Len said.

“Everybody is welcome to this community event. It’s also a great opportunity to find out what the Freemasons are all about. There is so much more to our work than secret handshakes and rituals,” he said.

The Beaudesert Men’s Health Matters information session will take place on Sunday 29th September at the Beaudesert Masonic Centre from 11am – 12:30pm.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

 

Members, charity partners, supporters and stakeholders of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland came together last night for the annual Year in Review Event to hear about the organisation’s support of contemporary families and communities across the state.

Held at the Brisbane Airport Conference Centre, the evening was also the backdrop for the launch of Hand Heart Pocket’s refined philanthropic approach in support of initiatives to improve outcomes for youth at risk. Chairman Alasdair Begley explained that for the next three years the organisation would direct the majority of its significant and flagship funding towards this area of work. A whiteboard video shared some of the stark figures associated with this cohort. He also stressed that grassroots initiatives identified by Freemason Lodges that aligned with their broader strategy would continue to be supported.

The philanthropic activities and achievements of the financial year were captured in a highlights video, showing the impacts and outcomes that have been made possible. It was also reported that 154 grants had been provided last financial year to the value of $3.58 million, including in-kind support to 20 initiatives. For the most part, the larger grants supported capital projects and infrastructure to enable charities to deliver essential services. At a grassroots level, 84 initiatives identified by Freemason Lodges had been backed, totaling $538,000. This was up by $163,000 from the previous financial year and demonstrates how Lodges are banding together and working with Hand Heart Pocket to make a bigger  difference in their community. 60 individuals also received a hand up through the Benevolence Assistance program. This included those impacted by the Townsville Floods earlier in the year.

From a promotional perspective, it was communicated that by signing on as the Naming Rights Sponsor of the River 2 Reef Charity Ride in Mackay from 2019-2021, Hand Heart Pocket and the Mackay District Freemasons could ensure that a third local charity could benefit from the event to support men’s mental health in the region. Hand Heart Pocket was also able to help the Mackay District Freemasons to elevate the profile of their charity work in the region and the important role they play in their community. Similarly, a Men’s Health Awareness Campaign is being conducted in partnership with CheckUP and Freemason Lodges to benefit communities across the state. 

Special thanks go to Hand Heart Pocket’s charity partners who presented as part of an interactive Gallery Walk, providing attendees with more insight into the impacts being made at a significant and flagship level. They included Bloomhill Cancer Care, Marine Rescue Hervey Bay, Guide Dogs Queensland and Pinaroo Roma Inc. Hand Heart Pocket board member Sandy Blackburn-Wright also conducted an educational piece on how social impact can be achieved through social enterprise.

Hand Heart Pocket is extremely grateful to all those that attended yesterday’s event and look forward to sharing our impacts into the future.

Read Hand Heart Pocket's Annual Review 2019

Find out more about our refined philanthropic approach by watching our whiteboard video

View our highlights video to see how we have made a difference last financial year

Two water tanks for Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled will help reduce operating costs for the non-profit so they can focus on their core mission of enhancing the quality of life of people with a disability.

Maroochydore Masonic Lodge partnered with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to donate $12,566 to help supply and fit-out two water tanks. The water tanks will provide an affordable and sustainable source of water for Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled to water the arena.

The non-profit provides equine-based therapeutic and recreational riding programs for members of the community living with a disability.

Maroochydore Masonic Lodge Secretary Doug McGill said the donation would allow Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled to continue its important work in the community.

“We wanted to be part of the solution to reducing their water costs,” Doug said.

“The money saved in the long term by using water tanks can be used to directly benefit the people who participate in the therapeutic riding programs,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said by matching the efforts of Maroochydore Masonic Lodge, a need within the community had been fulfilled.

“Supporting Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled tallies with our charitable objective of empowering people to live better lives. We are proud to support Maroochydore Lodge with their grassroots charity work for such a worthy cause,” Gary said.

Photo: Maroochydore Masonic Lodge Secretary Doug McGill presented a cheque for $12,566 to Sunshine Coast RDA representative David Morris. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

 

Wide Bay Freemason Peter Keller is the latest recipient of the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence Jewel, given in recognition of his continued support of education initiatives for children with disabilities in the region.

Peter has been a Freemason for 34 years, with 16 of those years having been as part of the craft here in Queensland.

At a grassroots level, under the leadership of Peter, his Lodges have supported a range of initiatives to make a difference for the aged, disabled, emergency services and families in necessitous circumstances.

However, his biggest passion has been to support education initiatives through the local Special School.

Peter has gone above and beyond to help enhance the learning environment for students at Hervey Bay Special School.

Over the last four years, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, Mundubbera-Burnett Lodge has donated over $20,000 to the School to improve the built environment.

Last year he also successfully campaigned for the School to receive a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket.

Peter is a passionate advocate of the local School and believes in empowering students with disabilities to lead more independent lives.

Congratulations Peter!

Photo: Freemason Peter Keller was awarded the Order of Service to Benevolence Jewel by the Grand Master Paul Holland.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

It’s not every day that the Beaudesert Masonic Centre is open to the public, but recently their doors were open for their annual open day, which included the launch of a state-wide awareness campaign focussed on improving men’s mental and physical health.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland and the local Freemasons ran an information session in partnership with CheckUP as part of the 2019 Men’s Health Matters awareness campaign. The community event was the first of up to 15 events to be held across Queensland from September 2019 – March 2020.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said empowering people to lead better lives is at the heart of their work.

“Improving men’s mental and physical health is part of our long-term charitable focus, which is why we’ve partnered with CheckUP to deliver this initiative to communities across Queensland,” Gary said.

 “We thank the local Freemasons for rallying their community and hosting this potentially life-changing initiative as part of their open day,” he said.

Our delivery partners CheckUP delivered the free information session which covered everything from nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, important CheckUPs for men, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and wellbeing and relationships.

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said the highly engaged group in Beaudesert proved that this format is the perfect vehicle to spread awareness about men’s health and wellbeing.

“It was great to see people taking an interest in their health in the Scenic Rim. Providing welcoming and non-judgemental spaces for men to talk about their physical and mental health is essential,” Ann Maree said.

“We are delighted to have formed this partnership with Hand Heart Pocket and Freemason Lodges throughout the state to deliver this campaign,” she said.

Beaudesert Freemason Len Undy said being able to align their Masonic Centre’s open day with the Men’s Health Matters event made the occasion even more special.

“Being a Freemason means having a responsibility to understand and respond to the needs of your community, so being able to explain our work while also offering such an important service was really meaningful,” Len said.

“From talking to some of the men who attended I can tell that the session really opened their eyes and got them thinking about how to better look after their bodies as well as their minds.

“That can only be good for them, their families and the broader community,” he said.

Photo: Beaudesert Masonic Lodge Secretary Len Undy, Session Facilitator Sam, CheckUP’s David Millichap, Beaudesert Masonic Lodge Master Nigel Booker and Lodge Member David Cowin.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

A second secure dementia wing at Roma’s Pinaroo Aged Care is another step closer to reality with a newly landscaped garden now officially open at the 60-bed not-for-profit facility.

Last year, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provided a $250,000 Significant Grant to help with the conversion of an existing wing so that it is purpose-built to accommodate 11 additional dementia residents. The garden forms part of this conversion.

Pinaroo Roma Aged Care Chief Executive Officer Melanie Calvert said the completion of the garden is an important milestone in the project.

“It is incredibly exciting for us to see progress being made on this project,” Melanie said.

“The garden will provide a secure and serene place for dementia residents to spend time in. The new rotunda, in particular, will be well utilised,” she said.

Once completed the converted wing will provide 11 private purpose-built single rooms, each with an ensuite. The landscaped gardens, lounge room and meals area, will help to give the wing a homely feel while being fully integrated and secure with keypad access. This will allow Pinaroo to look after a total of 23 residents with the progressive disease.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said helping communities to meet the challenges of an ageing population was part of his organisation’s long-term strategic focus.

“This partnership is about ensuring more residents with dementia will be able to remain in their own community, close to their loved ones and support networks, instead of having to move to another town,” Gary said.

“The local Freemasons felt strongly about the regional shortage in specialised residential dementia care and played a pivotal role in championing this initiative. The official opening of the new garden was the perfect way for Hand Heart Pocket and the local Freemasons to share this milestone with the community.”

Maranoa Freemason Brian Reardon said the local Freemasons were delighted to be associated with this project.

“We are proud to have campaigned for this important regional initiative through Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland,” Brian said.

“We look forward to the opening of the fully converted wing in late 2020, which we know will have a lasting impact on our community’s ability to care for the elderly,” he said.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Pinaroo Roma Aged Care Chief Executive Officer Melanie Calvert, Pinaroo Roma Aged Care Chairman Howard Hobbs and representatives of the Maranoa Freemasons at the official opening of the new garden. 

Find out who we help

The founder of Sheltered by Grace, a homeless shelter in Waterford, Logan City was overwhelmed when he received a phone call to say that they were to receive a hand up, to help those experiencing homelessness to get back on their feet.

The shelter recently received a $2,000 donation from the wife of the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, Waveny Holland, with the support of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. A range of essential supplies including toiletries, socks and underwear were also donated.

The funds and essentials were collected at the Grand Master’s wife’s inaugural quarterly fundraiser, which for the first time was open to friends, relatives and the general public.

“I’m so thrilled that we’ve been able to help Sheltered by Grace. This will enable them to help some of the most vulnerable in the community to make a fresh start,” Waveny said.

“I was drawn to the name initially and then looked into the support they provide and how they operate,” she said.

Established in 2010, by Jason and Lisa Loakes, the shelter offers supported accommodation, meals and medical assistance as well as a range of support services to help people to turn their lives around.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said by matching the Grand Master’s wife’s fundraising, the impact has been doubled.

“We were able to support this worthy cause because helping people to rebuild their lives aligns with our values of alleviating suffering or misfortune and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“We acknowledge the work of the Grand Master’s wife to raise these crucial funds and for bringing this organisation to our attention,” he said.

Photo: The wife of the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, Waveny Holland handed over the donation to Sheltered by Grace founder Jason Loakes (far right). 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Guide Dogs Queensland held a milestone event on Friday to celebrate the completion of the concrete slab, which forms the foundations of a new vet clinic and signals the next stage of the project’s construction.

The event recognised the contribution of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who last year provided a $230,000 Significant Grant towards the construction of the life-changing vet clinic project at Guide Dogs Queensland’s Bald Hills site. Members of Redcliffe First Settlement Masonic Lodge were also in attendance at the milestone event having supported Guide Dogs Queensland at a grassroots level over many years.

The new vet clinic will enable Guide Dogs to provide all healthcare to their dogs on site, which will reduce health risks and cut external veterinary expenses by more than half. These savings will make it possible to train an additional 24 dogs over the next five years, giving more people with low or no vision the chance to be matched with a life-changing Guide Dog.

Guide Dogs Vet Dion Humbler took Hand Heart Pocket and sponsors on a tour of the site, using chalk drawings to indicate what will soon be transformed from a slab of concrete into the first vet clinic at Guide Dogs.

After the tour, guests had to opportunity to enjoy a refreshing morning tea in the newly opened Memorial Garden.  

This is just the first of many milestones to come – with the team at Bootooloo construction working alongside McNab to keep the project on track for its grand opening in early 2020.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Redcliffe First Settlement Masonic Lodge members Graeme Lawrence, Ron Hasling and John Browne with their wives Barbara Lawrence, Barbara Hasling and Margaret Browne alongside Guide Dogs Queensland Vet Dion Humbler.

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The first sod has been turned on a purpose-built accommodation complex which will help more people with disabilities have access to appropriate housing on the Darling Downs.

The single-storey complex, located in Centenary Heights, will include four fully customised units which will meet individual needs, include assistive technology, and help empower residents to lead more independent lives.

One of the three-bedroom units will be owned by YellowBridge QLD thanks to a generous donation from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

YellowBridge received $450,000 from the Masonic charity to construct and manage the unit which will accommodate two people with disabilities and a carer.

YellowBridge QLD Chief Executive Officer Penny Hamilton said it was exciting to finally see construction commence after 12 months of planning and building approvals.

“We are in the midst of a disability housing crisis on the Darling Downs, where people with disabilities, especially those whose ageing parents can no longer look after them, have no-where to go,” Penny said.

“We know of 40 people in this position. While many have the means to buy or rent their own place, there is simply no suitable housing for them in the region,” she said.

“A few will never have the means to pay for a place to live.”

“Having access to appropriate housing is an important part of the equation for improving the overall quality of life of people with disabilities.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the local Freemasons were vocal supporters of YellowBridge QLD, due to its proven record of supporting more than 4,000 people to lead more meaningful and connected lives each year.

“Our purpose is to provide sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes; to provide a hand up to communities, charities and individuals that have limited access to other funding sources,” Mr Mark said.

“Alleviating the stress on ageing parents who care for their disabled children - through the provision of innovative purpose-built housing - aligns with our values of equipping people to lead better lives,” he said.

“We are delighted to partner with YellowBridge QLD on this important initiative and know it will be a catalyst for changing the landscape of disability housing in the region.”

The units are being built by local construction firm, Enabled Living, which specialises in custom-built housing for people with a disability. They are expected to be completed by early 2020.

Photo: Toowoomba Freemasons Ian Parry, Maurice Howell, Bob Holzberger, Roger Turnbull, Barry Hennessy, Harry Butler and Lachlan Evans joined Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, YellowBridge Chief Executive Officer Penny Hamilton, YellowBridge Chief Financial Officer Adrian Bonica and YellowBridge General Manager Disability Services Jodie Collins for the turning of the first sod. 

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As the sun came up in Mackay on Saturday morning, 1,000 participants lined up along River Street near Paxton’s Markets for the start of the Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Charity Ride.

Organisers of the annual event were thrilled to announce that $100,000 had been raised in 2019 – the most that has been raised in the event’s nine-year history – taking the total raised over nine years to well over half a million dollars.

As the new Naming Rights Sponsor of the event, Hand Heart Pocket contributed $25,000 and also agreed to match the first $50,000 raised, dollar-for-dollar. Due to this extra support from Hand Heart Pocket, for the first time in the event’s history, a third local charity will benefit. The Suicide Prevention Community Action Planning Group’s Men’s Campaign based at ‘selectability joined RACQ CQ Rescue and the Mackay and District Sporting Wheelies as  beneficiaries of the event.

Among this year’s ride participants was Hand Heart Pocket’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark who joined the Mackay District Freemasons team.

“This was my first time doing the River 2 Reef Charity Ride and while it was cold to begin with, it turned out to be a lovely day,” Gary said.

A broad cross-section of the community participated, including families as well as those well over 70 years of age.

The volunteers and supporters kept the riders going and by mid-morning many of the participants had crossed the finish line, before having some well-earned brunch at the Bluewater Quay. 

Gary said by supporting this regional community event, Hand Heart Pocket was furthering some of their own charitable goals.

“Our work is focused on alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives. Also improving men’s mental and physical health is one of our priorities, hence us having chosen a local suicide prevention awareness campaign as the third beneficiary,” Gary said.

“We thank the local Freemasons for bringing this regional community event to our attention and for their support in the lead up to the event and on the day. We look forward to seeing the impacts that will be made by the benefiting charities,” he said. 

Photo: The Mackay District Freemasons team at the starting line. 

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Men in the Scenic Rim will be empowered to lead better lives, with the local Freemasons set to host the first leg of a statewide awareness campaign focussed on improving men’s mental and physical health.

Coinciding with the Beaudesert Masonic Centre’s upcoming public Open Day on 29th September, Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland and the local Freemasons will run an information session in partnership with CheckUP as part of the 2019 Men’s Health Matters awareness campaign. The community event is the first of up to 15 events to be held across Queensland from September 2019 – March 2020.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they are excited for the launch in Beaudesert.

“Improving men’s mental and physical health both at a statewide and grassroots level is part of our long-term charitable focus, which is why we’ve partnered with CheckUP to bring this important and potentially life-saving initiative to communities across Queensland,” Mr Mark said.

The free information session will be delivered by a healthcare provider and will cover a range of topics such as nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, important CheckUPs for men, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and wellbeing and relationships.

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said this format is the perfect vehicle to spread awareness about men’s health and wellbeing.

“We are delighted to have formed this partnership with Hand Heart Pocket and Masonic Lodges throughout the state to deliver this campaign,” she said.

 “The importance of mental and physical health can’t be ignored and providing a safe environment for attendees to have a conversation about their mental and physical health is essential,” Ms Liddy said.

Beaudesert Freemason Len Undy is looking forward to welcoming people to the Masonic Centre.

“Being attentive to the needs of the community is part of what it means to be a Freemason. If the Men’s Health Matters information session can motivate one person to make a positive change in their life, then that’s going to have a ripple effect on their family unit and our community in the long run,” Len said.

“Everybody is welcome to this community event. It’s also a great opportunity to find out what the Freemasons are all about. There is so much more to our work than secret handshakes and rituals,” he said.

The Beaudesert Men’s Health Matters information session will take place on Sunday 29th September at the Beaudesert Masonic Centre from 11am – 12:30pm.

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