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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fraser Coast waterways are set to become safer for all to enjoy with Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Hervey Bay preparing to build a new $1.3 million marine rescue vessel. The construction of Rescue I, will finally get underway thanks to a $400,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. 

With increased tourist numbers and boating activity off the Fraser Coast, VMR identified a need for the 11.94 metre vessel, raising more than $767,000 and securing $160,000 of State Government funding via Marine Rescue Queensland. Despite their best efforts they remained under budget, until now.

Commodore of VMR Hervey Bay John Smith said Rescue I would enable the organisation to be sustainable in the long-term and continue its life-saving work.

“We are the third busiest VMR site in Queensland, providing essential marine search and waterside assistance services to the boating public off Queensland’s Fraser Coast,” Mr Smith said.

“In the past year alone, we have helped 409 people, responded to 124 calls for assistance from disabled vessels, responded to four sinking or sunk vessels, rescued 5 grounded vessels and conducted 50 medical evacuations and 13 search and rescue missions.

 “This marks a new era for VMR Hervey Bay and we thank all those who have helped bring this initiative to fruition, particularly the Masonic Lodges of the Wide Bay region for championing this grant and Hand Heart Pocket for making it a reality.”

Wide Bay Freemason Peter Keller said the Masonic Lodges of the Wide Bay region recognised the incredible work VMR Hervey Bay does for the local community and supported the Hand Heart Pocket Significant Grant.

“Over the years, Lodges in the Wide Bay region have provided grassroots support to a range of charitable initiatives, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket,” said Mr Keller.

“We are appreciative of Hand Heart Pocket for providing this Significant Grant on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland to help cover the funding gap. It’s a proud day for us, knowing that this will have a lasting impact on our community for many years to come.”

Hand Heart Pocket’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said Hand Heart Pocket was dedicated to assisting charitable organisations to deliver essential services.

“We believe in providing sustainable support by giving a hand up – not a handout – to communities, charities and individuals that would otherwise have limited access to other funding sources,” Mr Mark said.

“VMR Hervey Bay provides the Fraser Coast community with life-saving services and Hand Heart Pocket is delighted to help bring this project to fruition.”  

Photo: Representatives of the Wide Bay Freemasons alongside Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark and Commodore of Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay John Smith.  

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Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has entered into a three-year agreement with River 2 Reef Ride as its new Naming Rights Sponsor.

The event, now in its 9th year, has raised over $450,000 since its inception and attracted 1500 riders last year alone.

Event Organiser Evan Corry welcomed the partnership.

“We are excited to work with a new sponsor and very thankful to our previous Naming Rights Sponsor Glencore Hail Creek for their support,” Evan said. 

The new sponsorship agreement will see Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland contribute $25,000 each year towards the event from 2019-2021. In addition, the Freemason charity has agreed to match the first $50,000 raised through the event, dollar-for-dollar, each year during the sponsorship period.

“This means that the more participants who get involved in the event, the more funds that will be raised for our local charities RACQ CQ Rescue and Mackay and District Sporting Wheelies,” Evan said. 

“A third local charity, selected by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, will also be supported through the event over the next three years as a result of this partnership,” said Evan.

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said that they are looking to select a charity who works to improve men’s mental and physical health in the region.

“One of our charitable focuses is about improving men’s mental and physical health. We are in the process of selecting a suitable charity and hope to be able to announce this shortly.” 

“We are proud to be the new sponsors for such a worthy community event,” said Gary. 

This year, the event will be held on Saturday 14th September.

Registrations for the 2019 Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Ride will open at midday on Friday 24th May 2019. To register go to www.river2reefride.com.au

Thousands of Sunshine Coast cancer patients will soon have access to additional wellness facilities at Bloomhill Cancer Care, thanks to a $570,000 Flagship Grant plus a $130,000 interest-free loan from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Bloomhill, which provides specialised support to people living on the Sunshine Coast, west to Kilcoy, north to Gympie and south to Burpengary will undergo a major expansion to meet growing demand for its services.

The $570,000 grant will help fund construction of a new two-storey therapy wing in Buderim providing eight additional multi-functional rooms for assessments and individual therapies. The bottom floor will accommodate a functional medical gymnasium and when additional funding is secured, will be further developed to include a commercial gymnasium, hydrotherapy pool and multi-functional group activity centre.

Improvements to the site’s entrance will also be made and 40 additional parking spaces developed to improve access and safety as well as enable regular fresh produce and artisan markets to be held on site. This will provide an opportunity for Bloomhill to create additional income streams within its social enterprise business to fund more patient services.

Bloomhill Cancer Care Chief Executive Officer Chris Franck said the grant had come at an opportune time in Bloomhill’s journey, with the organisation set to double its client base in the next ten years.

“We currently support around 1,228 clients going through immensely difficult times in their lives, and this number is likely to increase to 4,000 clients by 2030,” Mr Franck said.

Also, Hand Heart Pocket will provide Bloomhill with a $130,000 interest-free loan to build the infrastructure to relocate its distribution centre, which supports its Op shop social enterprise business, onsite. This is expected to save the organisation $60,000 per year in leasing expenses, increase the profitability of its social enterprise and free up funding to deliver more patient services.

“Working with Hand Heart Pocket has helped us to grow as an organisation and has prompted us to think differently about how we will achieve our long-term goals in a sustainable way.

“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity and are well positioned to grab hold of it with both hands. The support we have received from Hand Heart Pocket really is a hand up.”

Bloomhill Cancer Care patron Raelene Boyle AM MBE, Australian Olympian and cancer survivor, has been involved with Bloomhill for two decades. She said the funding would have an enormous impact on the lives of cancer patients in the region.

“Bloomhill has helped thousands of people with cancer to live well, and now even more families will have access to this support and a better quality of life,” Ms Boyle said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the grant was an extension of the grassroots support that the organisation provided over many years in conjunction with the Sunshine Coast Masonic Lodges.

“Our flagship grants help charitable organisations meet large areas of unmet need so that they can provide more positive outcomes to the community. This support will allow Bloomhill Cancer Care to enhance the lives of people living with cancer and their families in the region for many years to come.

“Alleviating suffering and empowering people to live a better life is a core value of Hand Heart Pocket and we’re incredibly proud to be able to provide this support to Bloomhill Cancer Care on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.”

Photo: Representatives of the Sunshine Coast Freemasons along with Bloomhill Cancer Care Chief Executive Officer Chris Franck, Bloomhill Board Chair Michelle McGrath, Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Bloomhill Client Daphne Nasir, Bloomhill Patron and cancer survivor Raelene Boyle AM MBE and Bloomhill Immediate Past Chair Michael Hurley. 

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A helping hand has been extended to Toowoomba Hospice to assist with efforts to maintain a home-like setting for the region’s palliative care patients.

The Queensland Masonic Touring Club (QMTC) and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently handed over $4,000 towards the Adopt a Room program.

QMTC President Mel Binnington said the funds would help with the upkeep of patient facilities and the provision of quality palliative care.

“The Hospice offers its services for free, so it’s vital that the public supports their work,” Mel said.

“Our contribution will enable patients and their families to focus on what’s most important.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were able to match the efforts of the Queensland Masonic Touring Club because initiatives that aim to improve a person’s quality of life, align with their long-term charitable focus.

“We work with our members to provide sustainable support for charitable initiatives that receive limited funding from other sources, such as this six-bed Hospice,” he said.

“Having heard about the Club’s intentions, we were keen to double their impact at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: Jeanette McDonald, Peter McDonald, Lorraine Binnington and Mel Binnington of the Queensland Masonic Touring Club alongside Toowoomba Hospice Chairman Graham Barron. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Queenslanders living with Parkinson’s disease will have additional resources available to them, to help them live well, despite their diagnosis.

Enoggera-Thistle Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently donated $4,000 to Parkinson’s Queensland, with a portion of funds going towards the purchase of books, journal articles and DVDs for the Maureen Platt Library.

The other portion of funds will support the organisation’s nurse education grants program to help fund the postgraduate studies of Parkinson’s care nurses in Queensland.

“We’re excited to help improve the quality of life of Parkinson’s Queenslands’ 1,366 clients,” Enoggera-Thistle Masonic Lodge representative Gary Golding said.

“As someone who has Parkinson’s, I know how empowering information can be, as do several other members of our Lodge.”

“Information, education and peer support are key to living well after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, which along with treatment can help a person with the disease to maintain their independence.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that empower the ageing population to lead more independent lives is part of their long-term strategic focus.

“It was clear that these two initiatives aligned with our charitable intent, especially because Parkinson’s is typically an older person’s disease. The average age of diagnosis is 65,” Mr Mark said.

“Together with Enoggera-Thistle Masonic Lodge, we’ve been able to have a bigger impact for more Queenslanders,” he said.

Photo: Parkinson’s QLD CEO Mark Hindle, Enoggera-Thistle Masonic Lodge representatives John Zamofing and Gary Golding, Parkinson’s QLD President Professor George Mellick and Frances Golding. 

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Refurbishments to the Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) headquarters are complete thanks to a Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The refurbished facilities, which officially re-opened late last month, will provide the infrastructure for WLSQ to offer an additional 2000 free legal appointments each year for women suffering the devastating effects of domestic violence and abuse.

In March 2018, Hand Heart Pocket provided $340,000 to help refurbish the WLSQ headquarters in Annerley.  The grant, the biggest ever received by the legal service, has been used to remodel their office interior to allow for six extra fully equipped, private offices for confidential legal appointments.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the refurbished facilities would provide a safe, comfortable and accessible space for Queensland women in need.

“Hand Heart Pocket plays a critical role in the community. Every year, we provide millions in much needed funding to help other charities grow and extend the valuable services they provide,” Mr Mark said.

“This project is directly in line with our goal of making an impact on financial and physical security for women – a critical issue in our community today.”

Women’s Legal Service Queensland Chief Executive Officer Angela Lynch said the organisation had been helping women experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or family law issues for more than 35 years and demand for its services was rising.

“We help over 16,000 clients a year, but the need for free legal assistance is growing,” said Ms Lynch.

“The statistics are staggering. One in three clients hold fears for their safety or the safety of their children, and 25 percent are at risk of homelessness. One in five Queensland women experience domestic violence.

“Thanks to our refurbishments, more women who are impacted by domestic violence and abuse will be able to access our services.”

In 1996, the not-for-profit service moved to its historic Annerley premises in order to extend its community reach. The building has a rich history of women supporting other women and was previously a hospice for war widows. 

Hand Heart Pocket is pleased to support the vital work of Women’s Legal Service Queensland.  For more information visit https://wlsq.org.au/

Photo: (from left) Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland Alan Townson; The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO; and Hand Heart Pocket Chairman Tom Wiltshire cut the cake to celebrate the office re-opening of the Women's Legal Service Queensland office.

 

The notion that good things come in small packages certainly was the case at the Hear and Say Sunshine Coast Centre in Nambour last week, as a small but critical piece of equipment was unveiled.

The organisation which empowers children with hearing loss to reach their full learning potential was gifted a new Phonak Roger touchscreen wireless communication device and microphone by the local Masonic Lodges and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Sunshine Coast Freemason Mike Aldrich said the $1,100 device would be used during the early intervention playgroup sessions.

“A Listening and Spoken Language Specialist can wear the microphone around their neck or place it in the middle of a table during these sessions and sound will be streamed directly into the children’s cochlear impacts or hearing aids, providing greater clarity as they learn to hear, listen and speak,” Mike said.

“The results achieved at the Centre are nothing short of impressive, which is why we took an interest in funding this upgrade,” Mike said.

In August last year, representatives of Waverley-Palmwoods, Landsborough, Maroochy, Nambour and Rosslyn Masonic Lodges visited the Centre to see firsthand the difference a statewide grant for half-a-million-dollars from the state’s Masonic charity was having on the ground.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said this latest grassroots support shows how committed Lodges are to supporting local initiatives.

“By working together, the Sunshine Coast Freemasons have provided a helping hand for a deserving local charity,” Gary said.

“We were able to match their efforts because education initiatives that empower children with disabilities to lead more independent lives, aligns with our long-term charitable intent,” he said.

Photos: Representatives of Waverley-Palmwoods, Landsborough, Maroochy, Nambour and Rosslyn Masonic Lodges visited the Hear and Say Sunshine Coast Centre for the unveiling of a critical piece of equipment which they donated. 

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Guide Dogs Queensland turned the first sod on a new veterinary clinic at its Bald Hills Breeding and Training Centre on Friday 5 April 2019, thanks to a $230,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Guide Dog breeding is set to increase by 70 percent over the next couple of years to meet the growing demand for working Guide Dogs and having a dedicated onsite clinic will cut expenses by more than half. Currently external vet bills cost the charity almost $220,000 each year.

Guide Dogs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley said the savings would make it possible for Guide Dogs Queensland to train an additional 24 dogs over the next five years.

“There are currently more than 30 people on the wait list for a Guide Dog,” Mr Kightley said.

“The new clinic will help us meet this growing demand while providing a full-service facility with comprehensive healthcare for Guide Dogs from the day they’re born and through their working life.

“The grant we received from Hand Heart Pocket is making a significant difference to our organisation and helping us improve the lives of more people with low or no vision. We are thrilled that work will soon start on the clinic and eagerly await its opening at the end of the year.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the grant would help Guide Dogs Queensland extend its service, providing invaluable resources and guiding companions for people with vision impairments.

“We look forward to watching the veterinary clinic take shape over the coming months so that working Guide Dogs and puppies-in-training will have better access to on-site healthcare,” Mr Mark said.

“Hand Heart Pocket and Masonic Lodges have been supporting Guide Dogs Queensland for some time. We are proud to grow this successful partnership and extend our grassroots contribution to a Significant Grant.

“It is an excellent example of the charity grant funding Hand Heart Pocket provides to assist existing charities and help them make a bigger impact in the community.”

Photo: Members of United Tradesmen’s and Redcliffe First Settlement Lodges joined Hand Heart Pocket and Guide Dogs Queensland at the sod turning event.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fraser Coast waterways are set to become safer for all to enjoy with Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Hervey Bay preparing to build a new $1.3 million marine rescue vessel. The construction of Rescue I, will finally get underway thanks to a $400,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. 

With increased tourist numbers and boating activity off the Fraser Coast, VMR identified a need for the 11.94 metre vessel, raising more than $767,000 and securing $160,000 of State Government funding via Marine Rescue Queensland. Despite their best efforts they remained under budget, until now.

Commodore of VMR Hervey Bay John Smith said Rescue I would enable the organisation to be sustainable in the long-term and continue its life-saving work.

“We are the third busiest VMR site in Queensland, providing essential marine search and waterside assistance services to the boating public off Queensland’s Fraser Coast,” Mr Smith said.

“In the past year alone, we have helped 409 people, responded to 124 calls for assistance from disabled vessels, responded to four sinking or sunk vessels, rescued 5 grounded vessels and conducted 50 medical evacuations and 13 search and rescue missions.

 “This marks a new era for VMR Hervey Bay and we thank all those who have helped bring this initiative to fruition, particularly the Masonic Lodges of the Wide Bay region for championing this grant and Hand Heart Pocket for making it a reality.”

Wide Bay Freemason Peter Keller said the Masonic Lodges of the Wide Bay region recognised the incredible work VMR Hervey Bay does for the local community and supported the Hand Heart Pocket Significant Grant.

“Over the years, Lodges in the Wide Bay region have provided grassroots support to a range of charitable initiatives, with the help of Hand Heart Pocket,” said Mr Keller.

“We are appreciative of Hand Heart Pocket for providing this Significant Grant on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland to help cover the funding gap. It’s a proud day for us, knowing that this will have a lasting impact on our community for many years to come.”

Hand Heart Pocket’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said Hand Heart Pocket was dedicated to assisting charitable organisations to deliver essential services.

“We believe in providing sustainable support by giving a hand up – not a handout – to communities, charities and individuals that would otherwise have limited access to other funding sources,” Mr Mark said.

“VMR Hervey Bay provides the Fraser Coast community with life-saving services and Hand Heart Pocket is delighted to help bring this project to fruition.”  

Photo: Representatives of the Wide Bay Freemasons alongside Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark and Commodore of Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay John Smith.  

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Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has entered into a three-year agreement with River 2 Reef Ride as its new Naming Rights Sponsor.

The event, now in its 9th year, has raised over $450,000 since its inception and attracted 1500 riders last year alone.

Event Organiser Evan Corry welcomed the partnership.

“We are excited to work with a new sponsor and very thankful to our previous Naming Rights Sponsor Glencore Hail Creek for their support,” Evan said. 

The new sponsorship agreement will see Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland contribute $25,000 each year towards the event from 2019-2021. In addition, the Freemason charity has agreed to match the first $50,000 raised through the event, dollar-for-dollar, each year during the sponsorship period.

“This means that the more participants who get involved in the event, the more funds that will be raised for our local charities RACQ CQ Rescue and Mackay and District Sporting Wheelies,” Evan said. 

“A third local charity, selected by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, will also be supported through the event over the next three years as a result of this partnership,” said Evan.

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said that they are looking to select a charity who works to improve men’s mental and physical health in the region.

“One of our charitable focuses is about improving men’s mental and physical health. We are in the process of selecting a suitable charity and hope to be able to announce this shortly.” 

“We are proud to be the new sponsors for such a worthy community event,” said Gary. 

This year, the event will be held on Saturday 14th September.

Registrations for the 2019 Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Ride will open at midday on Friday 24th May 2019. To register go to www.river2reefride.com.au

Thousands of Sunshine Coast cancer patients will soon have access to additional wellness facilities at Bloomhill Cancer Care, thanks to a $570,000 Flagship Grant plus a $130,000 interest-free loan from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Bloomhill, which provides specialised support to people living on the Sunshine Coast, west to Kilcoy, north to Gympie and south to Burpengary will undergo a major expansion to meet growing demand for its services.

The $570,000 grant will help fund construction of a new two-storey therapy wing in Buderim providing eight additional multi-functional rooms for assessments and individual therapies. The bottom floor will accommodate a functional medical gymnasium and when additional funding is secured, will be further developed to include a commercial gymnasium, hydrotherapy pool and multi-functional group activity centre.

Improvements to the site’s entrance will also be made and 40 additional parking spaces developed to improve access and safety as well as enable regular fresh produce and artisan markets to be held on site. This will provide an opportunity for Bloomhill to create additional income streams within its social enterprise business to fund more patient services.

Bloomhill Cancer Care Chief Executive Officer Chris Franck said the grant had come at an opportune time in Bloomhill’s journey, with the organisation set to double its client base in the next ten years.

“We currently support around 1,228 clients going through immensely difficult times in their lives, and this number is likely to increase to 4,000 clients by 2030,” Mr Franck said.

Also, Hand Heart Pocket will provide Bloomhill with a $130,000 interest-free loan to build the infrastructure to relocate its distribution centre, which supports its Op shop social enterprise business, onsite. This is expected to save the organisation $60,000 per year in leasing expenses, increase the profitability of its social enterprise and free up funding to deliver more patient services.

“Working with Hand Heart Pocket has helped us to grow as an organisation and has prompted us to think differently about how we will achieve our long-term goals in a sustainable way.

“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity and are well positioned to grab hold of it with both hands. The support we have received from Hand Heart Pocket really is a hand up.”

Bloomhill Cancer Care patron Raelene Boyle AM MBE, Australian Olympian and cancer survivor, has been involved with Bloomhill for two decades. She said the funding would have an enormous impact on the lives of cancer patients in the region.

“Bloomhill has helped thousands of people with cancer to live well, and now even more families will have access to this support and a better quality of life,” Ms Boyle said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the grant was an extension of the grassroots support that the organisation provided over many years in conjunction with the Sunshine Coast Masonic Lodges.

“Our flagship grants help charitable organisations meet large areas of unmet need so that they can provide more positive outcomes to the community. This support will allow Bloomhill Cancer Care to enhance the lives of people living with cancer and their families in the region for many years to come.

“Alleviating suffering and empowering people to live a better life is a core value of Hand Heart Pocket and we’re incredibly proud to be able to provide this support to Bloomhill Cancer Care on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.”

Photo: Representatives of the Sunshine Coast Freemasons along with Bloomhill Cancer Care Chief Executive Officer Chris Franck, Bloomhill Board Chair Michelle McGrath, Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Bloomhill Client Daphne Nasir, Bloomhill Patron and cancer survivor Raelene Boyle AM MBE and Bloomhill Immediate Past Chair Michael Hurley. 

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A helping hand has been extended to Toowoomba Hospice to assist with efforts to maintain a home-like setting for the region’s palliative care patients.

The Queensland Masonic Touring Club (QMTC) and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently handed over $4,000 towards the Adopt a Room program.

QMTC President Mel Binnington said the funds would help with the upkeep of patient facilities and the provision of quality palliative care.

“The Hospice offers its services for free, so it’s vital that the public supports their work,” Mel said.

“Our contribution will enable patients and their families to focus on what’s most important.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were able to match the efforts of the Queensland Masonic Touring Club because initiatives that aim to improve a person’s quality of life, align with their long-term charitable focus.

“We work with our members to provide sustainable support for charitable initiatives that receive limited funding from other sources, such as this six-bed Hospice,” he said.

“Having heard about the Club’s intentions, we were keen to double their impact at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: Jeanette McDonald, Peter McDonald, Lorraine Binnington and Mel Binnington of the Queensland Masonic Touring Club alongside Toowoomba Hospice Chairman Graham Barron. 

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Queenslanders living with Parkinson’s disease will have additional resources available to them, to help them live well, despite their diagnosis.

Enoggera-Thistle Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently donated $4,000 to Parkinson’s Queensland, with a portion of funds going towards the purchase of books, journal articles and DVDs for the Maureen Platt Library.

The other portion of funds will support the organisation’s nurse education grants program to help fund the postgraduate studies of Parkinson’s care nurses in Queensland.

“We’re excited to help improve the quality of life of Parkinson’s Queenslands’ 1,366 clients,” Enoggera-Thistle Masonic Lodge representative Gary Golding said.

“As someone who has Parkinson’s, I know how empowering information can be, as do several other members of our Lodge.”

“Information, education and peer support are key to living well after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, which along with treatment can help a person with the disease to maintain their independence.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that empower the ageing population to lead more independent lives is part of their long-term strategic focus.

“It was clear that these two initiatives aligned with our charitable intent, especially because Parkinson’s is typically an older person’s disease. The average age of diagnosis is 65,” Mr Mark said.

“Together with Enoggera-Thistle Masonic Lodge, we’ve been able to have a bigger impact for more Queenslanders,” he said.

Photo: Parkinson’s QLD CEO Mark Hindle, Enoggera-Thistle Masonic Lodge representatives John Zamofing and Gary Golding, Parkinson’s QLD President Professor George Mellick and Frances Golding. 

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Refurbishments to the Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) headquarters are complete thanks to a Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The refurbished facilities, which officially re-opened late last month, will provide the infrastructure for WLSQ to offer an additional 2000 free legal appointments each year for women suffering the devastating effects of domestic violence and abuse.

In March 2018, Hand Heart Pocket provided $340,000 to help refurbish the WLSQ headquarters in Annerley.  The grant, the biggest ever received by the legal service, has been used to remodel their office interior to allow for six extra fully equipped, private offices for confidential legal appointments.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the refurbished facilities would provide a safe, comfortable and accessible space for Queensland women in need.

“Hand Heart Pocket plays a critical role in the community. Every year, we provide millions in much needed funding to help other charities grow and extend the valuable services they provide,” Mr Mark said.

“This project is directly in line with our goal of making an impact on financial and physical security for women – a critical issue in our community today.”

Women’s Legal Service Queensland Chief Executive Officer Angela Lynch said the organisation had been helping women experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or family law issues for more than 35 years and demand for its services was rising.

“We help over 16,000 clients a year, but the need for free legal assistance is growing,” said Ms Lynch.

“The statistics are staggering. One in three clients hold fears for their safety or the safety of their children, and 25 percent are at risk of homelessness. One in five Queensland women experience domestic violence.

“Thanks to our refurbishments, more women who are impacted by domestic violence and abuse will be able to access our services.”

In 1996, the not-for-profit service moved to its historic Annerley premises in order to extend its community reach. The building has a rich history of women supporting other women and was previously a hospice for war widows. 

Hand Heart Pocket is pleased to support the vital work of Women’s Legal Service Queensland.  For more information visit https://wlsq.org.au/

Photo: (from left) Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland Alan Townson; The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO; and Hand Heart Pocket Chairman Tom Wiltshire cut the cake to celebrate the office re-opening of the Women's Legal Service Queensland office.

 

The notion that good things come in small packages certainly was the case at the Hear and Say Sunshine Coast Centre in Nambour last week, as a small but critical piece of equipment was unveiled.

The organisation which empowers children with hearing loss to reach their full learning potential was gifted a new Phonak Roger touchscreen wireless communication device and microphone by the local Masonic Lodges and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Sunshine Coast Freemason Mike Aldrich said the $1,100 device would be used during the early intervention playgroup sessions.

“A Listening and Spoken Language Specialist can wear the microphone around their neck or place it in the middle of a table during these sessions and sound will be streamed directly into the children’s cochlear impacts or hearing aids, providing greater clarity as they learn to hear, listen and speak,” Mike said.

“The results achieved at the Centre are nothing short of impressive, which is why we took an interest in funding this upgrade,” Mike said.

In August last year, representatives of Waverley-Palmwoods, Landsborough, Maroochy, Nambour and Rosslyn Masonic Lodges visited the Centre to see firsthand the difference a statewide grant for half-a-million-dollars from the state’s Masonic charity was having on the ground.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said this latest grassroots support shows how committed Lodges are to supporting local initiatives.

“By working together, the Sunshine Coast Freemasons have provided a helping hand for a deserving local charity,” Gary said.

“We were able to match their efforts because education initiatives that empower children with disabilities to lead more independent lives, aligns with our long-term charitable intent,” he said.

Photos: Representatives of Waverley-Palmwoods, Landsborough, Maroochy, Nambour and Rosslyn Masonic Lodges visited the Hear and Say Sunshine Coast Centre for the unveiling of a critical piece of equipment which they donated. 

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Guide Dogs Queensland turned the first sod on a new veterinary clinic at its Bald Hills Breeding and Training Centre on Friday 5 April 2019, thanks to a $230,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Guide Dog breeding is set to increase by 70 percent over the next couple of years to meet the growing demand for working Guide Dogs and having a dedicated onsite clinic will cut expenses by more than half. Currently external vet bills cost the charity almost $220,000 each year.

Guide Dogs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley said the savings would make it possible for Guide Dogs Queensland to train an additional 24 dogs over the next five years.

“There are currently more than 30 people on the wait list for a Guide Dog,” Mr Kightley said.

“The new clinic will help us meet this growing demand while providing a full-service facility with comprehensive healthcare for Guide Dogs from the day they’re born and through their working life.

“The grant we received from Hand Heart Pocket is making a significant difference to our organisation and helping us improve the lives of more people with low or no vision. We are thrilled that work will soon start on the clinic and eagerly await its opening at the end of the year.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the grant would help Guide Dogs Queensland extend its service, providing invaluable resources and guiding companions for people with vision impairments.

“We look forward to watching the veterinary clinic take shape over the coming months so that working Guide Dogs and puppies-in-training will have better access to on-site healthcare,” Mr Mark said.

“Hand Heart Pocket and Masonic Lodges have been supporting Guide Dogs Queensland for some time. We are proud to grow this successful partnership and extend our grassroots contribution to a Significant Grant.

“It is an excellent example of the charity grant funding Hand Heart Pocket provides to assist existing charities and help them make a bigger impact in the community.”

Photo: Members of United Tradesmen’s and Redcliffe First Settlement Lodges joined Hand Heart Pocket and Guide Dogs Queensland at the sod turning event.

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