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News & Events

More young people at risk of not completing school will be empowered to build their own future following the announcement of a $100,000 funding boost for TRACTION, a community-based youth mentoring program in South East Queensland. 

The Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will go towards TRACTION’s internal scholarship program to re-engage more young people in an alternative action-based learning environment. A portion of the grant will also help the non-profit to measure its outcomes, build their capacity and better understand, manage and measure the impact they are making. The option for recurrent funding for a period of up to three years will also be considered following a review of the program outcomes each year.  

TRACTION Founder and Program Director Sandy Murdoch said the grant is a welcome contribution towards their efforts to better support young people at risk in South East Queensland.

“We are extremely grateful to Hand Heart Pocket and the Freemasons of Queensland for their continued support of our work in this area,” Sandy said.

“Last year, thanks to a $15,000 capacity-building grant from Hand Heart Pocket we were able to work with a specialist to develop our long-term strategy, business plan and governance program which provided a pathway for us to meet the needs of the community into the future,” he said. 

“This latest funding will mean that 38 additional young people will now be able to access our hands-on programs and we will be able to implement a measurement framework to help us continue to improve outcomes for our program participants.”

Since launching in 2015, over 930 young people aged 12-15 have been helped to turn their lives around. With workshops and delivery points in Alexandra Hills, Moorooka, Inala, Logan and Beaudesert, TRACTION works with schools and other agencies to identify at risk youth to undertake their program. Participants attend one day a week for an entire school term to work on various projects like restoring an old bike with the help of a mentor, as part of the Bicycle Build Program. Many come from disadvantaged backgrounds, may be experiencing trauma or insecure housing, have a disability or have had involvement with the youth justice system.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was proud to extend its support of TRACTION.

“Early intervention programs that improve outcomes for young people at risk to have hope for their own futures, build a support network and to gain an education and skills for the future will soon become a core part of Hand Heart Pocket’s evolving philanthropic focus,” he said.

“We are excited about the difference that this hand-up to TRACTION will make for young people at risk as they realise their full potential and take ownership of their future.”

Photo: A TRACTION participant being mentored as part of the Bicycle Build Program.

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The first sod has been turned on Care Goondiwindi’s new purpose-built disability respite and short-term accommodation complex, marking the start of construction thanks to a $281,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The grant will help to fund the construction of stage one of the $1.5M development in the regional South West Queensland town of Goondiwindi.

Care Goondiwindi Chief Executive Officer Tracy MacDonald said this was a momentous day for the organisation which had fought to make disability respite care more accessible in the region.

“We are so excited to be moving ahead with this initiative with the help of Hand Heart Pocket and cannot wait to see our plans come to life,” Tracy said.

“This facility will allow us to provide the best possible care for clients ranging from low to high needs. Stage one will be a high needs unit, equipped with the latest in assistive technology, as well as being wheelchair-accessible throughout.”

“Families will have peace of mind knowing that when they need a break or have to go away for a short period of time, their loved one will receive dignified and individualised care in a comfortable setting,” she said.

Paynters Architects will design and project manage the construction, which will be developed within the specifications of the Liveability Standards and completed in three stages. Care Goondiwindi will also contribute $185,000 towards stage one of the construction.

“Whilst this grant has enabled us to get this project off the ground, we must emphasise that we are actively seeking funding support for stages two and three,” Tracy said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said it was important that the local Freemasons were part of today’s proceedings, as they had been instrumental in championing the grant to meet a local community need.

“Hand Heart Pocket is committed to providing sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes for charitable organisations with limited access to other funding sources,” Gary said.

“Care Goondiwindi’s important work aligns directly with our values of alleviating suffering, empowering people to lead better lives and helping to improve people’s overall quality of life.”

“We’re excited to partner with Care Goondiwindi and provide this grant on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland to help address the gap in appropriate respite accommodation facilities for people with disabilities in the region,” he said.

Stage one is expected to be completed by 1 October 2020.

Photo: McIntyre Lodge representative John Jobling, Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Care Goondiwindi President Joel Richters, Care Goondiwindi Chief Executive Officer Tracy MacDonald, McIntyre Lodge representatives Peter McMurtrie and Luke Tanner.

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More jobs and employment pathways will be created for people with a lived experience of mental illness in the Toowoomba region, with Vanguard Laundry Services having received a hand up to build its operational capacity.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland announced a $277,500 Significant Grant to empower the social enterprise commercial laundry to take on larger clients and service new contracts, with a view to creating new jobs and an employment pathway for 30 people in the next 12 months alone.

Vanguard Laundry Services Chief Executive Officer Luke Terry said the funding would help to cover the upfront capital investment needed to grow the business.

“This will help us immensely to increase our footprint and create more employment opportunities for people who would otherwise be excluded from the workforce. These funds have enabled us to purchase additional linen, linen trolleys and cover signage costs for one of our delivery trucks,” Luke said.

“We simply could not take this next step towards a sustainable future without philanthropic partnerships such as this. We are so thankful for this hand up.”

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

Since opening its doors Vanguard Laundry Services has provided jobs and employment pathways for 80 people with a lived experience of mental illness, who have successfully transitioned into mainstream work.

Employee Kaylene Wilson, who has been at the organisation for just over a year, said getting a job at Vanguard completely changed her life.

“Vanguard aided me enormously on my mental health recovery journey by enabling me to be active in the workforce again and giving me a sense of routine and purpose in my life. It’s fantastic that others will get the same opportunity I did by being able to come to work at Vanguard. It will help save the lives of people who don’t feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said youth at risk and employment for youth with mental health issues were part of their key areas of strategic focus.

“Vanguard’s vision to change lives one wash at a time aligns with our goal to empower people to lead more independent lives,” Gary said.

“Hand Heart Pocket is also in the process of refining our philanthropic approach to provide greater support for programs and initiatives that help improve outcomes for youth at risk.”

“We’re proud to partner with Vanguard Laundry Services to help some of the most marginalised people in Toowoomba to have access to the right support networks, to find stable employment and to be able to contribute to their community,” Gary said.

Photo: (Front row from left) wife of Hand Heart Pocket board member Helen Short, Hand Heart Pocket board member Greg Short, Vanguard Laundry Services employee Kaylene Wilson, (back row first left) Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, (back row third from left) Vanguard Laundry Services Chief Executive Officer Luke Terry and Freemason representatives of the Toowoomba District. 

Find out who we help

More people with a disability in South West Queensland will have access to purpose-built respite and short-term accommodation with Care Goondiwindi set to receive a $281,000 Significant Grant to get their project off the ground.

The grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will help to fund the construction of stage one of the $1.5M facility in the regional town of Goondiwindi.

Care Goondiwindi Chief Executive Officer Tracy MacDonald said the proposed facility, which will consist of three units, will help to address the gap in appropriate respite accommodation facilities for people with disabilities in the region.

“This new facility will allow us to provide the best possible care for clients ranging from low to high needs. Stage one, which this grant is going towards, will be a high needs unit, equipped with the latest in assistive technology, as well as being wheelchair-accessible throughout,” Tracy said.

“Currently, we’re having to provide respite in local motels and caravan parks which is far from ideal, as such environments impact on service quality and the privacy, dignity and individualised care of our clients,” she said.

“It’s crucial that we provide the necessary support to people with disabilities in our region to lead better lives.”

Paynters Architects will design and project manage the construction, which will be developed within the specifications of the Liveability Standards and completed in three stages. Care Goondiwindi will also contribute $185,000 towards stage one of the build.

“We are so very grateful to Hand Heart Pocket but must stress that we are actively seeking funding support for stages two and three,” Tracy said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the grant had been provided on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.

“At Hand Heart Pocket we are committed to providing sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes for charitable organisations with limited access to other funding sources,” Gary said.

“Care Goondiwindi’s important work aligns directly with our values of alleviating suffering, empowering people to lead better lives and helping to improve people’s overall quality of life.

“We’re excited to be providing this hand up to empower Care Goondiwindi to deliver this essential service in the South West Queensland community.”

Care Goondiwindi and Hand Heart Pocket will turn the first sod on the development at a special event later this month.

Photo: Care Goondiwindi is set to receive a Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland towards stage one of their purpose-built respite and short-term accommodation facility.

Find out who we help

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Hand Heart Pocket's Annual Review 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations Peter!

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

The first sod has been turned on Care Goondiwindi’s new purpose-built disability respite and short-term accommodation complex, marking the start of construction thanks to a $281,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The grant will help to fund the construction of stage one of the $1.5M development in the regional South West Queensland town of Goondiwindi.

Care Goondiwindi Chief Executive Officer Tracy MacDonald said this was a momentous day for the organisation which had fought to make disability respite care more accessible in the region.

“We are so excited to be moving ahead with this initiative with the help of Hand Heart Pocket and cannot wait to see our plans come to life,” Tracy said.

“This facility will allow us to provide the best possible care for clients ranging from low to high needs. Stage one will be a high needs unit, equipped with the latest in assistive technology, as well as being wheelchair-accessible throughout.”

“Families will have peace of mind knowing that when they need a break or have to go away for a short period of time, their loved one will receive dignified and individualised care in a comfortable setting,” she said.

Paynters Architects will design and project manage the construction, which will be developed within the specifications of the Liveability Standards and completed in three stages. Care Goondiwindi will also contribute $185,000 towards stage one of the construction.

“Whilst this grant has enabled us to get this project off the ground, we must emphasise that we are actively seeking funding support for stages two and three,” Tracy said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said it was important that the local Freemasons were part of today’s proceedings, as they had been instrumental in championing the grant to meet a local community need.

“Hand Heart Pocket is committed to providing sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes for charitable organisations with limited access to other funding sources,” Gary said.

“Care Goondiwindi’s important work aligns directly with our values of alleviating suffering, empowering people to lead better lives and helping to improve people’s overall quality of life.”

“We’re excited to partner with Care Goondiwindi and provide this grant on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland to help address the gap in appropriate respite accommodation facilities for people with disabilities in the region,” he said.

Stage one is expected to be completed by 1 October 2020.

Photo: McIntyre Lodge representative John Jobling, Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Care Goondiwindi President Joel Richters, Care Goondiwindi Chief Executive Officer Tracy MacDonald, McIntyre Lodge representatives Peter McMurtrie and Luke Tanner.

Find out who we help

More jobs and employment pathways will be created for people with a lived experience of mental illness in the Toowoomba region, with Vanguard Laundry Services having received a hand up to build its operational capacity.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland announced a $277,500 Significant Grant to empower the social enterprise commercial laundry to take on larger clients and service new contracts, with a view to creating new jobs and an employment pathway for 30 people in the next 12 months alone.

Vanguard Laundry Services Chief Executive Officer Luke Terry said the funding would help to cover the upfront capital investment needed to grow the business.

“This will help us immensely to increase our footprint and create more employment opportunities for people who would otherwise be excluded from the workforce. These funds have enabled us to purchase additional linen, linen trolleys and cover signage costs for one of our delivery trucks,” Luke said.

“We simply could not take this next step towards a sustainable future without philanthropic partnerships such as this. We are so thankful for this hand up.”

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

Since opening its doors Vanguard Laundry Services has provided jobs and employment pathways for 80 people with a lived experience of mental illness, who have successfully transitioned into mainstream work.

Employee Kaylene Wilson, who has been at the organisation for just over a year, said getting a job at Vanguard completely changed her life.

“Vanguard aided me enormously on my mental health recovery journey by enabling me to be active in the workforce again and giving me a sense of routine and purpose in my life. It’s fantastic that others will get the same opportunity I did by being able to come to work at Vanguard. It will help save the lives of people who don’t feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said youth at risk and employment for youth with mental health issues were part of their key areas of strategic focus.

“Vanguard’s vision to change lives one wash at a time aligns with our goal to empower people to lead more independent lives,” Gary said.

“Hand Heart Pocket is also in the process of refining our philanthropic approach to provide greater support for programs and initiatives that help improve outcomes for youth at risk.”

“We’re proud to partner with Vanguard Laundry Services to help some of the most marginalised people in Toowoomba to have access to the right support networks, to find stable employment and to be able to contribute to their community,” Gary said.

Photo: (Front row from left) wife of Hand Heart Pocket board member Helen Short, Hand Heart Pocket board member Greg Short, Vanguard Laundry Services employee Kaylene Wilson, (back row first left) Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, (back row third from left) Vanguard Laundry Services Chief Executive Officer Luke Terry and Freemason representatives of the Toowoomba District. 

Find out who we help

More people with a disability in South West Queensland will have access to purpose-built respite and short-term accommodation with Care Goondiwindi set to receive a $281,000 Significant Grant to get their project off the ground.

The grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will help to fund the construction of stage one of the $1.5M facility in the regional town of Goondiwindi.

Care Goondiwindi Chief Executive Officer Tracy MacDonald said the proposed facility, which will consist of three units, will help to address the gap in appropriate respite accommodation facilities for people with disabilities in the region.

“This new facility will allow us to provide the best possible care for clients ranging from low to high needs. Stage one, which this grant is going towards, will be a high needs unit, equipped with the latest in assistive technology, as well as being wheelchair-accessible throughout,” Tracy said.

“Currently, we’re having to provide respite in local motels and caravan parks which is far from ideal, as such environments impact on service quality and the privacy, dignity and individualised care of our clients,” she said.

“It’s crucial that we provide the necessary support to people with disabilities in our region to lead better lives.”

Paynters Architects will design and project manage the construction, which will be developed within the specifications of the Liveability Standards and completed in three stages. Care Goondiwindi will also contribute $185,000 towards stage one of the build.

“We are so very grateful to Hand Heart Pocket but must stress that we are actively seeking funding support for stages two and three,” Tracy said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the grant had been provided on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.

“At Hand Heart Pocket we are committed to providing sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes for charitable organisations with limited access to other funding sources,” Gary said.

“Care Goondiwindi’s important work aligns directly with our values of alleviating suffering, empowering people to lead better lives and helping to improve people’s overall quality of life.

“We’re excited to be providing this hand up to empower Care Goondiwindi to deliver this essential service in the South West Queensland community.”

Care Goondiwindi and Hand Heart Pocket will turn the first sod on the development at a special event later this month.

Photo: Care Goondiwindi is set to receive a Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland towards stage one of their purpose-built respite and short-term accommodation facility.

Find out who we help

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Hand Heart Pocket's Annual Review 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations Peter!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out who we help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out who we help

Members are invited to our ‘Year in Review’ event to hear about our achievements over the past year and from some of our charity partners. Places are limited.

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

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

Subsidised transport will be available from Gympie, Cooroy, Maroochydore, Caboolture, Toowoomba and Ipswich.

To express your interest in attending, please email info@handheartpocket.org.au