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Townsville Freemason Ron Donnellan was awarded the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence (OSB) Jewel for his commitment to Masonic charity, in September last year. 

A Freemason of some 48 years, Ron has always set an example for others, giving his time and energy to the community. His positive can-do attitude and compassion for others are what sets him apart. When presenting him with his award late last year, North Queensland District Grand Master Beresford Whyte, commended Ron for his ability to rise above any challenge and for always putting others first.

The retired teacher is probably best known for establishing the Joyful Foundation in memory of his late daughter Joy. Under Ron’s leadership, the organisation has empowered hundreds of disadvantaged primary school students across North Queensland to reach their full potential through the provision of the essentials they need to learn, such as stationery packs. They are also advocates for anti-bullying and promote a more caring environment at schools through the installation of buddy benches.

He is an inspiration to us all. Congratulations Ron!

Photo: North Queensland District Grand Master Beresford Whyte presents Ron Donnellan with his OSB Jewel, in September 2019.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

At Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, we are very aware that our charity partners and their communities may be facing many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building long-term partnerships is important to us, and we want to see our charity partners endure this difficult period and be able to succeed in achieving their planned outcomes over the long-term.

Helping to meet the immediate needs in our communities across Queensland and Papua New Guinea is of utmost importance to us at this time.

We remain committed to providing the $4.25 million in philanthropic support that we have budgeted for this financial year and currently have some budgeted philanthropic funds still available. Our focus for these funds is to:

  • Provide additional support to some of our current and past Significant and Flagship charity partners, where there is the greatest need to ensure important services and programs can continue to be delivered during this difficult time. The need for extra support may be as a result of reduced fundraising or other income due to current health restrictions, an increase in demand for services, or a need to adapt services. Although our refined philanthropic focus is to assist charity partners who support at-risk youth, we will also look to support some current and past charity partners who have the greatest need and are still delivering services at this time. While we will not be able to support every request, we are keen to assist with the grant funding we still have available this financial year where we are able. At this point in time, we will not look to partner with any new charities with which we do not already have a working relationship.
  • Increase our charity work at a grassroots level by supporting important community initiatives identified by our network of Freemason Lodges, where there is an urgent need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Provide benevolence assistance to individuals who are in extreme need.

To provide our charity partners with some extra reassurance during this time of uncertainty, we would also like to let you know that we are committed to the following:

  • Providing continuity of service – we have made some key changes over the past few weeks to ensure our continuity of service and support. This includes social distancing practices such as moving staff to a virtual working from home environment, virtual meetings, and placing a hold on all work-related travel. We are well placed to provide a continued service to our charity partners, the community and to support the charity work of Freemason Lodges during this difficult period.
  • Exercising flexibility – we understand that these unprecedented times may require your organisation to divert their efforts to more immediate needs. This might mean that projects, programs or services may need to be put on hold, or you may need extra time to formally report back to us. In some exceptional circumstances, our board will also consider requests, on a case by case basis, to redirect granted funds to more immediate and urgent needs. We invite you to have a conversation with us and to maintain open communication channels to keep us abreast of how we can best support your organisation’s needs by exercising flexibility.
  • Maintaining our current commitments - we will maintain our commitment to any new grant recipients that were successful in our latest grant round, of which some are still to be announced.

While there are many challenges that we will face over the coming months, we hope that by working together and maintaining open communication channels, we can continue to improve outcomes for our community over the long-term. Although our physical office is closed, we are still open for business, so please do not hesitate to email info@handheartpocket.org.au or phone our Manager Benevolence Assistance, Grants, Gifts and Wills, Danielle Chappell, directly on 07 3493 6007 if you would like to discuss how we might be able to support your organisation with immediate needs during this time.

A Brisbane-based charity working with vulnerable LGBTIQ+ youth, who experience a variety of life challenges, was announced as one of the latest successful grant recipients set to receive a funding injection from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Open Doors Youth Service (ODYS) who provide more than 2,000 young LGBTIQ+ people each year with support for homelessness, family breakdown, mental health issues and alcohol and drug addiction, will receive an $80,000 Significant Grant from the Freemason charity. The grant will allow ODYS to engage a specialist to help them develop a framework to better understand, measure and manage the impact they are making, and to prepare them to take advantage of future philanthropic funding opportunities.  

Open Doors Youth Service Chief Executive Officer Chris Pickard said the grant was a welcomed boost as the organisation looked to take its services to the next level.

“People who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or gay are at least twice as likely as the general population to experience homelessness at least once in their lifetime, and are at least three times more likely to experience adverse mental health concerns so there’s a real need for support services tailored to helping those who are most at risk,” Mr Pickard said.

“The new framework will allow us to evaluate and redefine our current services, build a stronger foundation for our organisation moving forward, and ultimately, help us to further enrich the lives of young LGBTIQ+ people.”

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said his organisation was committed to helping improve outcomes for the most at risk and vulnerable youth in Queensland.

“We look to partner with other charities and philanthropists whose focus is also youth at risk, so together, we can become a catalyst for change,” Mr Mark said.

“Open Doors Youth Service is an organisation who is passionate about enhancing young people’s connections to family, culture, and community, and giving them hope for their own futures, which is a key focus of our organisation,” Mr Mark said.

“We are delighted to form this new partnership with ODYS.” 

To find out more about Open Doors Youth Service, please visit www.opendoors.net.au 

More older Queenslanders with hearing loss will be able to stay socially connected with the help of a $110,000 Significant Grant and a $110,000 interest-free loan from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to Hear and Say, world-leading experts in hearing technology and listening and spoken language therapy.

The capacity-building hand-up will allow Hear and Say to accelerate the growth of their new Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program, which provides adults with access to technologies such as hearing aids or cochlear implants and skills to manage the everyday impacts of hearing loss.

The funding also supports the social enterprise structure of the Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program, which sees any surplus funding directed to support Hear and Say’s work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing to hear, listen and speak.

Hear and Say CEO Chris McCarthy said one of the benefits of the funding would be to assist with educating adults on hearing rehabilitation strategies.

“Hearing loss can occur at any age, at any time, and can slowly affect the way you interact with the world,” Mr McCarthy said.

“Living well with hearing loss does not depend exclusively on the use of hearing technologies, and we work to give more adults the skills needed to overcome hearing barriers in their everyday life.

“The program’s social enterprise model will also fill funding gaps for Hear and Say’s not-for-profit programs, which support children who are born deaf and in need.”

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said the initiative was identified as an increasingly urgent cause to support given Australia’s ageing population, and that it supported his organisation’s broader strategy to help improve outcomes for this group.

“Hearing loss is a common condition currently affecting approximately one in six Australians, and with an ageing population, this figure is anticipated to increase to one in four by 2050,” Mr Mark said.

“While our core focus is helping to improve outcomes for youth at risk, our broader strategy also gives us the opportunity to back important initiatives that support our ageing population, men’s mental and physical health and women’s financial and physical security.

“This initiative not only aligned well with our broader strategy but would also benefit our younger generation through Hear and Say’s social enterprise model.”

Hear and Say’s Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program is currently provided across its centres in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba, and through a dedicated clinic based at AVEO Springfield.

For more information about Hear and Say please visit www.hearandsay.com.au.

Young Queenslanders living with physical or mental health injuries will soon have new pathways to paid or volunteer employment thanks to a grant of almost a half-a-million dollars announced today by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Brisbane-based charity Happy Paws Happy Hearts is set to receive the funding boost to allow them to establish an Employment Pathways program at Wacol, to service the Greater Brisbane and Ipswich community.

Happy Paws Happy Hearts CEO and co-founder Zoe Black said the new Employment Pathways program would be an extension to their current program, allowing them to achieve even better outcomes for the young people they work with.

“We currently work with people who, due to physical or mental health injuries, have become socially isolated. We re-engage them socially through our revolutionised animal therapy model that brings groups together to learn how to care for and train animals in rescue shelters and wildlife sanctuaries,” Ms Black said.

“The program helps them break down barriers and gives participants new skills, support and the confidence to create their own futures.”

Although the program has been a catalyst for change for many, the organisation hasn’t had the resources to transition young participants who had become job-ready into suitable paid or volunteer employment.

“Many of our young participants grow significantly in their time at Happy Paws Happy Hearts, and it’s fantastic that we will now be able to go that one step further to ensure they achieve longer-lasting outcomes through a structured employment pathway,” Ms Black said.

“The grant from Hand Heart Pocket will help us establish the new Employment Pathways program with a sustainable business model so that as an organisation, we can achieve deeper impact over the long-term.”

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said the grant aligns well with their refined philanthropic focus to help improve outcomes for youth at risk and would give Happy Paws Happy Hearts a significant boost to assist young people to realise their full potential.

“Our refined focus was launched late last year and will see Hand Heart Pocket take a more proactive approach in facilitating better outcomes to meet the needs of contemporary families, by building the right partnerships with charities and other philanthropists who are aligned with our focus on youth at risk,” Mr Mark said.

“We are excited to be partnering with Happy Paws Happy Hearts who are dedicated to providing sustainable outcomes for at risk youth and giving them the opportunity to make proactive decisions about their future.”

To find out more about Happy Paws Happy Hearts please visit www.hphhfoundation.org

Young carers living in Queensland will receive extra support to overcome barriers to education with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland announcing a $380,000 Significant Grant to the Little Dreamers Young Carer Project pilot.

Little Dreamers, Australia’s leading young carer support organisation, will work with school communities to build kind, safe and supportive environments for young carers, to give them every chance of completing their education, thanks to the generous grant.

The Young Carer Project pilot, which has already been successfully trialled in Victoria, will focus on Townsville, Bundaberg and Brisbane due to their high populations of young carers.

A young carer is someone under the age of 25 who provides unpaid care or assistance to a family member who suffers from a chronic illness, mental illness, disability or addiction.

Little Dreamers Founder and CEO Madeleine Buchner OAM said the organisation was turning its sights to support more young carers in Queensland following the success of the initiative in Victoria.

“Young carers have the highest rates of school attrition and their caring role can also impact substantially on their social life, later-life employment and overall health,” Ms Buchner said.

“Through the Queensland pilot of the Young Carer Project, the broader school community will have more inclusive schools, where every student will be more visible, regardless of their personal circumstances.

“Our vision is that all young carers are enabled and encouraged to attend and enjoy school and have equal access to their education, like their peers.”

Each school in the pilot program will nominate a Young Carer Champion, who will be supported by trained ambassadors to work with other educators in their school to complete the program’s modules and workshops and embed the necessary changes.

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said that presenting Little Dreamers with the grant would assist the one in 10 Australian youths who were at risk of not completing school due to their role as carers.

“As young carers have been named in the top four most marginalised youth groups in Australia, we recognised the need to be supporting such an impactful program,” Mr Mark said.

“This grant is one of the first in Hand Heart Pocket’s recent move towards helping to improve outcomes for youth at risk.”

To find out more about Little Dreamers visit www.littledreamers.org.au

Men’s Sheds across the state have shared in a substantial funding boost provided by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, helping to support Men’s Shed activities and programs, and men’s health initiatives in 2019.

In late 2018, the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) was gifted a $150,000 Significant Grant as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s inaugural Fathers’ Day Appeal.

The first $10,000 enabled AMSA, with the help of health professionals, to run 15 Spanner in the Works? men’s health check events for Freemason Lodges, Men’s Sheds and their communities around Queensland during September and October 2018. Designed to raise awareness and encourage men to focus on their mental and physical health, many of the sessions included checking weight / BMI, blood pressure, eyes, stability checks and general mental health. Whilst other events also had guest speakers who provided information on topics related to men’s health.

A pool of $100,000 helped to support AMSA’s Men’s Shed Grants program in Queensland in 2019, which was shared across 78 sheds, enabling them to deliver grassroots health and wellbeing initiatives for men across the state. Whilst an amount of $40,000 helped to deliver ‘safeTALK’ community suicide readiness sessions and ‘Shedders Big BBQ Brunch’ networking events to provide men’s health and wellbeing information and support.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said men’s health and wellbeing was an important aspect of the charity’s work.

“Men’s mental and physical health is a critical issue in the community, but there is still a lot of stigma when it comes to men talking about health issues and seeking help when they need it,” Mr Mark said.

“Through our partnership with AMSA, we are proud to be doing our bit to overcome those barriers by supporting outstanding programs, like Men’s Sheds, as well as contributing to other men’s health initiatives.”

AMSA Executive Officer David Helmers said the support from Hand Heart Pocket had helped Men’s Sheds to add significant value to Queensland communities through these initiatives.

“Men’s Sheds provide practical support, specialised services and resources to thousands of men across Australia from all ages and backgrounds – connecting men in the communities so they can help themselves and each other.”

“This can be a challenge particularly in small and remote locations where fundraising opportunities are limited; therefore the assistance from Hand Heart Pocket has been invaluable,” he said.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Around 40 men and their families from across the region gathered at the Gympie Masonic Centre on Monday to talk about men’s mental and physical health, with the aim of improving the lives of men across the Gympie region.

The event, hosted by the Gympie Freemasons, was part of a series of state-wide Men’s Health Matters sessions run by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, in collaboration with community health non-profit CheckUP, focusing on improving men’s mental and physical health.

The awareness campaign was launched in September last year and has travelled across the state, visiting towns and supporting local communities. 

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said empowering people to lead better lives was an important part of the charity’s work in the community.

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

“Hand Heart Pocket, in partnership with CheckUP, is committed to providing the support and encouragement men need in order to lead better lives through these crucial local events.”

The free information session was delivered by a registered psychologist and covered a range of topics such as nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and relationships.

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said the event provided a safe forum for men to talk about their experiences and health journey.

“Through this event, attendees were encouraged to put their health first and actually have a conversation about how they are feeling both mentally and physically,” Ms Liddy said.

Gympie Freemason Murray Wegner said the lodge was proud to have facilitated the delivery of the Hand Heart Pocket and CheckUP’s Men’s Health Matters event.

“It was fantastic to be able to provide such an informative and valuable event to the people of Gympie, highlighting how men and their families can take a more proactive approach to address men’s physical and mental health,” Mr Wegner said.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

The Maryborough Freemasons recently hosted an event where over 30 men and their families came together to put men’s overall wellbeing and mental health first.

Held at the Maryborough Masonic Centre, the Men’s Health Matters event was part of a series of state-wide sessions run by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland in partnership with community health non-profit CheckUP.

The free information session was delivered by a registered psychologist and covered a range of topics such as nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and relationships.

The campaign was launched in September last year and is visiting towns and supporting local communities across the state.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said empowering men to lead better lives was an important part of the charity’s work in the community.

“A big part of our charitable focus is centred around improving men’s mental and physical health, both at a state-wide and grassroots level, which is why we’ve partnered with CheckUP to bring this critical initiative to regional Queensland communities,” Mr Mark said.

“Hand Heart Pocket, in partnership with CheckUP, is committed to providing the support and encouragement men need in order to lead better lives.”

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said the event provided a supportive forum for men to talk about their life experiences and health journeys.

“Through this event men from across the Fraser Coast region were encouraged to open up their hearts and minds by putting their own health first in both a physical and mental sense,” Ms Liddy said.

Maryborough Freemason Russell Darcy said the Men’s Health Matters event was crucial in showing men in the community that it was not a weakness to express their feelings and seek help in living better lives.

“This event, really helped educate local residents about the importance of shining a light on men’s health and the harmful impact not talking about these things can have on individuals,” Mr Darcy said.

"The workbook was particularly popular among the attendees and will be a good source to refer back to." 

“The session was vital in showing how our community could all work together to support the men in our lives through the tough times and into the good times.”

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Last month, 14 men and their families in Cairns gathered to put men’s health first at a Men’s Health Matters session hosted by the local Freemasons.

Held at the Freshwater Masonic Centre, the event was part of a series of state-wide events run by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, in collaboration with community health non-profit CheckUP.

With a focus on improving the overall wellbeing of Queensland men, the series was launched in September 2019 and has traveled across the state, visiting towns and supporting local communities.

The free information session at Cairns was delivered by a registered psychologist and explored a range of topics such as nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, diabetes and heart disease as well as mental health and relationships.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said educating people on how they could lead better lives was an important part of the charity’s work in the community.

“Improving the mental and physical health of Queensland men is part of our charitable focus, which is why we partnered with CheckUP to bring this potentially life-saving initiative to communities across the sunshine state,” Mr Mark said.

“Through these informative local events, Hand Heart Pocket and CheckUP provided the support, encouragement and education many men need to lead better, healthier lives.”

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said the event provided a confidential and supportive forum for men to talk about their life experience and health journey.

“Attendees were encouraged to talk about how they were feeling both mentally and physically, and to seek help from their local community,” Ms Liddy said.

Cairns Freemason Raja Chohan said the local event was a key conversation starter for men’s health.

“The Men’s Health Matters event was great for our community, highlighting the importance of taking men’s mental and physical health seriously,” Mr Chohan said.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Townsville Freemason Ron Donnellan was awarded the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence (OSB) Jewel for his commitment to Masonic charity, in September last year. 

A Freemason of some 48 years, Ron has always set an example for others, giving his time and energy to the community. His positive can-do attitude and compassion for others are what sets him apart. When presenting him with his award late last year, North Queensland District Grand Master Beresford Whyte, commended Ron for his ability to rise above any challenge and for always putting others first.

The retired teacher is probably best known for establishing the Joyful Foundation in memory of his late daughter Joy. Under Ron’s leadership, the organisation has empowered hundreds of disadvantaged primary school students across North Queensland to reach their full potential through the provision of the essentials they need to learn, such as stationery packs. They are also advocates for anti-bullying and promote a more caring environment at schools through the installation of buddy benches.

He is an inspiration to us all. Congratulations Ron!

Photo: North Queensland District Grand Master Beresford Whyte presents Ron Donnellan with his OSB Jewel, in September 2019.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

At Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, we are very aware that our charity partners and their communities may be facing many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building long-term partnerships is important to us, and we want to see our charity partners endure this difficult period and be able to succeed in achieving their planned outcomes over the long-term.

Helping to meet the immediate needs in our communities across Queensland and Papua New Guinea is of utmost importance to us at this time.

We remain committed to providing the $4.25 million in philanthropic support that we have budgeted for this financial year and currently have some budgeted philanthropic funds still available. Our focus for these funds is to:

  • Provide additional support to some of our current and past Significant and Flagship charity partners, where there is the greatest need to ensure important services and programs can continue to be delivered during this difficult time. The need for extra support may be as a result of reduced fundraising or other income due to current health restrictions, an increase in demand for services, or a need to adapt services. Although our refined philanthropic focus is to assist charity partners who support at-risk youth, we will also look to support some current and past charity partners who have the greatest need and are still delivering services at this time. While we will not be able to support every request, we are keen to assist with the grant funding we still have available this financial year where we are able. At this point in time, we will not look to partner with any new charities with which we do not already have a working relationship.
  • Increase our charity work at a grassroots level by supporting important community initiatives identified by our network of Freemason Lodges, where there is an urgent need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Provide benevolence assistance to individuals who are in extreme need.

To provide our charity partners with some extra reassurance during this time of uncertainty, we would also like to let you know that we are committed to the following:

  • Providing continuity of service – we have made some key changes over the past few weeks to ensure our continuity of service and support. This includes social distancing practices such as moving staff to a virtual working from home environment, virtual meetings, and placing a hold on all work-related travel. We are well placed to provide a continued service to our charity partners, the community and to support the charity work of Freemason Lodges during this difficult period.
  • Exercising flexibility – we understand that these unprecedented times may require your organisation to divert their efforts to more immediate needs. This might mean that projects, programs or services may need to be put on hold, or you may need extra time to formally report back to us. In some exceptional circumstances, our board will also consider requests, on a case by case basis, to redirect granted funds to more immediate and urgent needs. We invite you to have a conversation with us and to maintain open communication channels to keep us abreast of how we can best support your organisation’s needs by exercising flexibility.
  • Maintaining our current commitments - we will maintain our commitment to any new grant recipients that were successful in our latest grant round, of which some are still to be announced.

While there are many challenges that we will face over the coming months, we hope that by working together and maintaining open communication channels, we can continue to improve outcomes for our community over the long-term. Although our physical office is closed, we are still open for business, so please do not hesitate to email info@handheartpocket.org.au or phone our Manager Benevolence Assistance, Grants, Gifts and Wills, Danielle Chappell, directly on 07 3493 6007 if you would like to discuss how we might be able to support your organisation with immediate needs during this time.

A Brisbane-based charity working with vulnerable LGBTIQ+ youth, who experience a variety of life challenges, was announced as one of the latest successful grant recipients set to receive a funding injection from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Open Doors Youth Service (ODYS) who provide more than 2,000 young LGBTIQ+ people each year with support for homelessness, family breakdown, mental health issues and alcohol and drug addiction, will receive an $80,000 Significant Grant from the Freemason charity. The grant will allow ODYS to engage a specialist to help them develop a framework to better understand, measure and manage the impact they are making, and to prepare them to take advantage of future philanthropic funding opportunities.  

Open Doors Youth Service Chief Executive Officer Chris Pickard said the grant was a welcomed boost as the organisation looked to take its services to the next level.

“People who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or gay are at least twice as likely as the general population to experience homelessness at least once in their lifetime, and are at least three times more likely to experience adverse mental health concerns so there’s a real need for support services tailored to helping those who are most at risk,” Mr Pickard said.

“The new framework will allow us to evaluate and redefine our current services, build a stronger foundation for our organisation moving forward, and ultimately, help us to further enrich the lives of young LGBTIQ+ people.”

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said his organisation was committed to helping improve outcomes for the most at risk and vulnerable youth in Queensland.

“We look to partner with other charities and philanthropists whose focus is also youth at risk, so together, we can become a catalyst for change,” Mr Mark said.

“Open Doors Youth Service is an organisation who is passionate about enhancing young people’s connections to family, culture, and community, and giving them hope for their own futures, which is a key focus of our organisation,” Mr Mark said.

“We are delighted to form this new partnership with ODYS.” 

To find out more about Open Doors Youth Service, please visit www.opendoors.net.au 

More older Queenslanders with hearing loss will be able to stay socially connected with the help of a $110,000 Significant Grant and a $110,000 interest-free loan from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to Hear and Say, world-leading experts in hearing technology and listening and spoken language therapy.

The capacity-building hand-up will allow Hear and Say to accelerate the growth of their new Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program, which provides adults with access to technologies such as hearing aids or cochlear implants and skills to manage the everyday impacts of hearing loss.

The funding also supports the social enterprise structure of the Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program, which sees any surplus funding directed to support Hear and Say’s work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing to hear, listen and speak.

Hear and Say CEO Chris McCarthy said one of the benefits of the funding would be to assist with educating adults on hearing rehabilitation strategies.

“Hearing loss can occur at any age, at any time, and can slowly affect the way you interact with the world,” Mr McCarthy said.

“Living well with hearing loss does not depend exclusively on the use of hearing technologies, and we work to give more adults the skills needed to overcome hearing barriers in their everyday life.

“The program’s social enterprise model will also fill funding gaps for Hear and Say’s not-for-profit programs, which support children who are born deaf and in need.”

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said the initiative was identified as an increasingly urgent cause to support given Australia’s ageing population, and that it supported his organisation’s broader strategy to help improve outcomes for this group.

“Hearing loss is a common condition currently affecting approximately one in six Australians, and with an ageing population, this figure is anticipated to increase to one in four by 2050,” Mr Mark said.

“While our core focus is helping to improve outcomes for youth at risk, our broader strategy also gives us the opportunity to back important initiatives that support our ageing population, men’s mental and physical health and women’s financial and physical security.

“This initiative not only aligned well with our broader strategy but would also benefit our younger generation through Hear and Say’s social enterprise model.”

Hear and Say’s Adult Hearing and Rehabilitation program is currently provided across its centres in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba, and through a dedicated clinic based at AVEO Springfield.

For more information about Hear and Say please visit www.hearandsay.com.au.

Young Queenslanders living with physical or mental health injuries will soon have new pathways to paid or volunteer employment thanks to a grant of almost a half-a-million dollars announced today by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Brisbane-based charity Happy Paws Happy Hearts is set to receive the funding boost to allow them to establish an Employment Pathways program at Wacol, to service the Greater Brisbane and Ipswich community.

Happy Paws Happy Hearts CEO and co-founder Zoe Black said the new Employment Pathways program would be an extension to their current program, allowing them to achieve even better outcomes for the young people they work with.

“We currently work with people who, due to physical or mental health injuries, have become socially isolated. We re-engage them socially through our revolutionised animal therapy model that brings groups together to learn how to care for and train animals in rescue shelters and wildlife sanctuaries,” Ms Black said.

“The program helps them break down barriers and gives participants new skills, support and the confidence to create their own futures.”

Although the program has been a catalyst for change for many, the organisation hasn’t had the resources to transition young participants who had become job-ready into suitable paid or volunteer employment.

“Many of our young participants grow significantly in their time at Happy Paws Happy Hearts, and it’s fantastic that we will now be able to go that one step further to ensure they achieve longer-lasting outcomes through a structured employment pathway,” Ms Black said.

“The grant from Hand Heart Pocket will help us establish the new Employment Pathways program with a sustainable business model so that as an organisation, we can achieve deeper impact over the long-term.”

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said the grant aligns well with their refined philanthropic focus to help improve outcomes for youth at risk and would give Happy Paws Happy Hearts a significant boost to assist young people to realise their full potential.

“Our refined focus was launched late last year and will see Hand Heart Pocket take a more proactive approach in facilitating better outcomes to meet the needs of contemporary families, by building the right partnerships with charities and other philanthropists who are aligned with our focus on youth at risk,” Mr Mark said.

“We are excited to be partnering with Happy Paws Happy Hearts who are dedicated to providing sustainable outcomes for at risk youth and giving them the opportunity to make proactive decisions about their future.”

To find out more about Happy Paws Happy Hearts please visit www.hphhfoundation.org

Young carers living in Queensland will receive extra support to overcome barriers to education with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland announcing a $380,000 Significant Grant to the Little Dreamers Young Carer Project pilot.

Little Dreamers, Australia’s leading young carer support organisation, will work with school communities to build kind, safe and supportive environments for young carers, to give them every chance of completing their education, thanks to the generous grant.

The Young Carer Project pilot, which has already been successfully trialled in Victoria, will focus on Townsville, Bundaberg and Brisbane due to their high populations of young carers.

A young carer is someone under the age of 25 who provides unpaid care or assistance to a family member who suffers from a chronic illness, mental illness, disability or addiction.

Little Dreamers Founder and CEO Madeleine Buchner OAM said the organisation was turning its sights to support more young carers in Queensland following the success of the initiative in Victoria.

“Young carers have the highest rates of school attrition and their caring role can also impact substantially on their social life, later-life employment and overall health,” Ms Buchner said.

“Through the Queensland pilot of the Young Carer Project, the broader school community will have more inclusive schools, where every student will be more visible, regardless of their personal circumstances.

“Our vision is that all young carers are enabled and encouraged to attend and enjoy school and have equal access to their education, like their peers.”

Each school in the pilot program will nominate a Young Carer Champion, who will be supported by trained ambassadors to work with other educators in their school to complete the program’s modules and workshops and embed the necessary changes.

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said that presenting Little Dreamers with the grant would assist the one in 10 Australian youths who were at risk of not completing school due to their role as carers.

“As young carers have been named in the top four most marginalised youth groups in Australia, we recognised the need to be supporting such an impactful program,” Mr Mark said.

“This grant is one of the first in Hand Heart Pocket’s recent move towards helping to improve outcomes for youth at risk.”

To find out more about Little Dreamers visit www.littledreamers.org.au

Men’s Sheds across the state have shared in a substantial funding boost provided by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, helping to support Men’s Shed activities and programs, and men’s health initiatives in 2019.

In late 2018, the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) was gifted a $150,000 Significant Grant as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s inaugural Fathers’ Day Appeal.

The first $10,000 enabled AMSA, with the help of health professionals, to run 15 Spanner in the Works? men’s health check events for Freemason Lodges, Men’s Sheds and their communities around Queensland during September and October 2018. Designed to raise awareness and encourage men to focus on their mental and physical health, many of the sessions included checking weight / BMI, blood pressure, eyes, stability checks and general mental health. Whilst other events also had guest speakers who provided information on topics related to men’s health.

A pool of $100,000 helped to support AMSA’s Men’s Shed Grants program in Queensland in 2019, which was shared across 78 sheds, enabling them to deliver grassroots health and wellbeing initiatives for men across the state. Whilst an amount of $40,000 helped to deliver ‘safeTALK’ community suicide readiness sessions and ‘Shedders Big BBQ Brunch’ networking events to provide men’s health and wellbeing information and support.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said men’s health and wellbeing was an important aspect of the charity’s work.

“Men’s mental and physical health is a critical issue in the community, but there is still a lot of stigma when it comes to men talking about health issues and seeking help when they need it,” Mr Mark said.

“Through our partnership with AMSA, we are proud to be doing our bit to overcome those barriers by supporting outstanding programs, like Men’s Sheds, as well as contributing to other men’s health initiatives.”

AMSA Executive Officer David Helmers said the support from Hand Heart Pocket had helped Men’s Sheds to add significant value to Queensland communities through these initiatives.

“Men’s Sheds provide practical support, specialised services and resources to thousands of men across Australia from all ages and backgrounds – connecting men in the communities so they can help themselves and each other.”

“This can be a challenge particularly in small and remote locations where fundraising opportunities are limited; therefore the assistance from Hand Heart Pocket has been invaluable,” he said.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Around 40 men and their families from across the region gathered at the Gympie Masonic Centre on Monday to talk about men’s mental and physical health, with the aim of improving the lives of men across the Gympie region.

The event, hosted by the Gympie Freemasons, was part of a series of state-wide Men’s Health Matters sessions run by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, in collaboration with community health non-profit CheckUP, focusing on improving men’s mental and physical health.

The awareness campaign was launched in September last year and has travelled across the state, visiting towns and supporting local communities. 

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said empowering people to lead better lives was an important part of the charity’s work in the community.

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

“Hand Heart Pocket, in partnership with CheckUP, is committed to providing the support and encouragement men need in order to lead better lives through these crucial local events.”

The free information session was delivered by a registered psychologist and covered a range of topics such as nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and relationships.

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said the event provided a safe forum for men to talk about their experiences and health journey.

“Through this event, attendees were encouraged to put their health first and actually have a conversation about how they are feeling both mentally and physically,” Ms Liddy said.

Gympie Freemason Murray Wegner said the lodge was proud to have facilitated the delivery of the Hand Heart Pocket and CheckUP’s Men’s Health Matters event.

“It was fantastic to be able to provide such an informative and valuable event to the people of Gympie, highlighting how men and their families can take a more proactive approach to address men’s physical and mental health,” Mr Wegner said.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

The Maryborough Freemasons recently hosted an event where over 30 men and their families came together to put men’s overall wellbeing and mental health first.

Held at the Maryborough Masonic Centre, the Men’s Health Matters event was part of a series of state-wide sessions run by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland in partnership with community health non-profit CheckUP.

The free information session was delivered by a registered psychologist and covered a range of topics such as nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental health and relationships.

The campaign was launched in September last year and is visiting towns and supporting local communities across the state.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said empowering men to lead better lives was an important part of the charity’s work in the community.

“A big part of our charitable focus is centred around improving men’s mental and physical health, both at a state-wide and grassroots level, which is why we’ve partnered with CheckUP to bring this critical initiative to regional Queensland communities,” Mr Mark said.

“Hand Heart Pocket, in partnership with CheckUP, is committed to providing the support and encouragement men need in order to lead better lives.”

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said the event provided a supportive forum for men to talk about their life experiences and health journeys.

“Through this event men from across the Fraser Coast region were encouraged to open up their hearts and minds by putting their own health first in both a physical and mental sense,” Ms Liddy said.

Maryborough Freemason Russell Darcy said the Men’s Health Matters event was crucial in showing men in the community that it was not a weakness to express their feelings and seek help in living better lives.

“This event, really helped educate local residents about the importance of shining a light on men’s health and the harmful impact not talking about these things can have on individuals,” Mr Darcy said.

"The workbook was particularly popular among the attendees and will be a good source to refer back to." 

“The session was vital in showing how our community could all work together to support the men in our lives through the tough times and into the good times.”

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Last month, 14 men and their families in Cairns gathered to put men’s health first at a Men’s Health Matters session hosted by the local Freemasons.

Held at the Freshwater Masonic Centre, the event was part of a series of state-wide events run by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, in collaboration with community health non-profit CheckUP.

With a focus on improving the overall wellbeing of Queensland men, the series was launched in September 2019 and has traveled across the state, visiting towns and supporting local communities.

The free information session at Cairns was delivered by a registered psychologist and explored a range of topics such as nutrition and physical activity, early detection of cancer, diabetes and heart disease as well as mental health and relationships.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said educating people on how they could lead better lives was an important part of the charity’s work in the community.

“Improving the mental and physical health of Queensland men is part of our charitable focus, which is why we partnered with CheckUP to bring this potentially life-saving initiative to communities across the sunshine state,” Mr Mark said.

“Through these informative local events, Hand Heart Pocket and CheckUP provided the support, encouragement and education many men need to lead better, healthier lives.”

CheckUP CEO Ann Maree Liddy said the event provided a confidential and supportive forum for men to talk about their life experience and health journey.

“Attendees were encouraged to talk about how they were feeling both mentally and physically, and to seek help from their local community,” Ms Liddy said.

Cairns Freemason Raja Chohan said the local event was a key conversation starter for men’s health.

“The Men’s Health Matters event was great for our community, highlighting the importance of taking men’s mental and physical health seriously,” Mr Chohan said.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy