x

News & Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out who we help

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.  

Find out who we help

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. 

Find out who we help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out who we help

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.  

Find out who we help

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. 

Find out who we help

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