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Watch footage of the official cheque handover

More children with hearing loss in Queensland will be empowered to reach their full learning potential, after Hear and Say received a grant for half a million dollars from the state’s Masonic charity.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will help to cover the funding gap to deliver critical early intervention services, ensuring continuity of support for deaf children throughout Queensland for the next year.

Hear and Say Chief Executive Officer Chris McCarthy said that without this funding, Queensland children could miss out on vital services and programs that build their potential.

“We are extremely grateful for this funding from Hand Heart Pocket, which has come at a critical time to help cover our funding gap as we await the full financial impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme roll-out later this year,” Mr McCarthy said.

“More children and their families are turning to us than ever before, and this funding is vital for continuing our services, delivering the essential listening and spoken language therapy required to enable a child to hear, speak and live to their potential.”

“It can take up to six years to teach a profoundly deaf child to listen, process language, and speak, using the latest technology and an Auditory-Verbal Therapy approach, so it’s vital that our services remain accessible – for children to be ready for mainstream schooling,” Mr McCarthy said.

Hand Heart Pocket’s generosity will mean that 200 children across the state will continue to have access to Hear and Say’s Audiology Services, and 300 children can take part in the Early Intervention Program at their centres in Brisbane, Townsville, Toowoomba and on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

Hear and Say Vice-Patron and rugby league legend Wally Lewis whose daughter Jamie-Lee Lewis, was one of the first six children to be supported by the organisation, attended the funding announcement, to highlight the importance of improving life outcomes for these children.

“It’s amazing to think just how many families will be touched by this significant contribution. Jamie-Lee is living proof that it is possible for deaf children to go on to lead a normal life and take on whatever they put their mind to,” Mr Lewis said.

Brisbane Freemason Gary Golding similarly approved, having supported the service along with Enoggera Masonic Lodge at a grassroots level.

“Our granddaughter Audrey was born profoundly deaf, and with the support of Hear and Say at three-and-a-half, had mastered the language skills of a five-year-old,” Mr Golding said.

“As Freemasons we are incredibly proud that this grant has been made on our behalf, to impact children with hearing disabilities right across the state.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing sustainable support to organisations that have limited access to other funding sources was their focus.

“The commitment shown by Hear and Say to give deaf children the precious gifts of sound and speech aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about empowering people to lead better lives,” he said.

“We are delighted that this partnership will ensure more children in Queensland have a future which will not be limited by their hearing loss.”

Photo: (from left) Hand Heart Pocket Board Member John Aronis, Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Hear and Say Vice-Patron Wally Lewis, Hear and Say Founder Dr Dimity Dornan AO, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland Alan Townson, Hear and Say parent Amy Hawke, Enoggera Lodge Freemasons Gary Golding and Robert Burns, children from Hear and Say, (back row) Hand Heart Pocket Chairman Tom Wiltshire and Hear and Say Chief Executive Officer Chris McCarthy. 

Find out who we help

The campaign for a dedicated palliative care room at a local Aged Care facility in Mareeba, will soon be realised, after the local Freemasons donated $42,500 towards the project.

Granite Masonic Lodge with the help of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, came up with the funds, which will allow terminally ill residents at Mareeba Gardens Blue Care to have the opportunity to use this area with their loved ones.

The funds that have been donated will enable Mareeba Gardens Settlement to purchase specialised equipment and furnish the room to facilitate a homely setting appropriate for palliation.

Granite Masonic Lodge representative, Roy Blakeney, said this was an important first step for the region, where local palliative care support in general has been limited.

“Granite Lodge is very proud to have contributed to this project which will help to improve the quality of life of terminally ill nursing home residents at Mareeba Gardens,” Roy said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark, commended Granite Masonic Lodge for giving back to the community in this way.

“It’s evident that Granite Lodge has the best interests of its community at heart,” Gary said.

“Providing vital support for those nearing the end of life aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about alleviating suffering. That’s why we were so keen to support this local initiative,” Gary said.

Photo: Granite Masonic Lodge representatives Carl Richardson and Roy Blakeney with Mareeba Garden Settlement Service Manager Sam Bugat and Facility Manager Brian Ashfield.

Find out why you should support Hand Heart Pocket

More Queensland veterans who have overcome the psychological effects of active service, will be given the tools to help their peers get on the path to a better life, after the state’s Masonic charity provided a hand up.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has funded the training of 21 former Trojan’s Trek participants, who themselves are veterans, to conduct week-long wilderness based support intervention programs for their peers including one at Millmerran on the Darling Downs, later this year – helping participants to adapt to life after deployment.

Trojan’s Trek spokesperson Peter Keith said that settling back into civilian life was challenging for many who have been in active service and that one of the best ways to help change mindsets was through peer support.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety can be incredibly debilitating, so for veterans to want to participate in this peer support program, shows that they are keen to hear from others who have been through similar experiences and have turned their lives around,” said Peter.

“This $15,000 grant will help empower these former participants to make a powerful impact on their peers and potentially help save lives.”

“It’s a trek of the mind more than anything, with veterans helping veterans in a setting where everyone is equal and can express their feelings, learn how to communicate and harness the tools to navigate a meaningful life after service – for them and their families,” he said.

Former participant and now mentor, Michael Harding, welcomed the grant saying backing of this kind would send a strong signal to the veteran community that they are not forgotten.

“I, like many of our strongest men and women, returned from service feeling broken and very alone, not knowing how to deal with my emotions. While there is no quick fix, the range of support I received including Trojan’s Trek allowed me to change my mentality from victim to warrior,” he said.

“Other veterans need the opportunity to take that first step towards a better life,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that support men’s mental and physical health and women’s financial and physical security are part of the organisation’s long-term strategy.

“This grant will help Trojan’s Trek to continue to alleviate suffering and improve the quality of life of ex-service personnel, empowering them to lead better lives – having already helped over 200 ex-servicemen and more than 60 ex-servicewomen in the last 9 years,” he said.

Photo: Representatives of Trojan’s Trek accept a grant for $15,000 from Hand Heart Pocket.

Find out who we help

More residents at Karingal Nursing Home in Dalby will be able to sit in greater comfort following the
proactiveness of the local Freemasons.

Dalby United Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently
donated just over $4,000 through the Dalby Hospital Auxiliary, for the purchase of two Ashley Luxor
mobile recliners, for residents at the 80-bed facility – where a growing number struggle with their mobility.

Dalby United Lodge Secretary David Wheelehen said the chairs were at the top of the Nursing Home’s
wish list which is why they were so keen to lend a hand.

“A fellow Lodge member’s mother is a resident there. Upon hearing that there was a shortage of these recliners, we decided to raise funds through cent auctions,” David said.

“The Australian-made chairs are specially designed with foam to support those with pressure care needs,
ensuring that they can sit more comfortably and participate in activities alongside fellow residents,” he
said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark commended Dalby United Lodge for responding to need within the community.

“Investing in appropriate seating to minimise discomfort and improve the quality of life of the elderly,
resonates with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about equipping people to lead better lives,” he
said.

“Similarly, support for an ageing population is one of nine key areas that Hand Heart Pocket focuses our
support, so it was fitting that we matched the efforts of the Lodge,” he said.

“We are delighted to have partnered with Dalby United Lodge on this initiative and to have made a difference at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: Lodge representatives Jeff Parkes, David Wheelehen and Peter Horn look on as residents at Karingal Nursing Home try out the new recliners.  

Find out why you should support Hand Heart Pocket

A beautiful memorial rose garden will soon take pride of place at Mundubbera Hospital, improving the built environment and providing a peaceful place to reflect on those the town has lost.

Mundubbera-Burnett Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland collectively donated $2,000 towards the new space which will be in full view upon entry to the facility.

Lodge Secretary Peter Keller said the initiative was brought to their attention during a recent visit to see one of their fellow members, who resides in the aged care section of the Hospital.

“We were in town to mark a very special milestone for one of our members, Jim, 92 who we presented a 50-year jewel and 60-year clasp to, for his commitment to the organisation,” Peter said.

“We hope that in addition to providing a quiet space where the townsfolk can come to remember those that have passed on, the garden becomes a place where patients and aged care residents can spend time in and smell the roses,” Peter said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark praised Mundubbera-Burnett Lodge for leaving its mark on the community in this way.

“Efforts to make a meaningful difference for the sick and elderly, by beautifying the surrounds of the local Hospital and providing a permanent memorial, are in line with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about alleviating suffering and improving people’s quality of life.”

“Therefore, we were delighted to work with Mundubbera-Burnett Lodge on this important initiative,” Gary said.

Photo: Members of Mundubbera-Burnett Masonic Lodge including aged care resident, Jim and Mundubbera Hospital staff gathered together to celebrate the donation. 

Find out why you should support Hand Heart Pocket

An additional 2,000 free legal appointments for domestic violence victims will soon be possible each year, after Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) received $340,000 from the state’s Masonic charity, with most of the funds being allocated to extend their Annerley premises.

The extensions, being funded by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, will incorporate six confidential, airconditioned, fully fitted out offices to ensure they can meet the increased demand for legal assistance across Queensland.

WLSQ CEO Angela Lynch said this was the biggest gift the service had received in its 34-year history and would ensure those most vulnerable would have access to essential support.

“We are so excited by what this will help us achieve. The building extension was long overdue and the project could only be funded by generous donations such as this,” Ms Lynch said.

“Having more offices will give us the additional infrastructure to deliver 2,000 free appointments per year, which means we can assist vulnerable women when they need it most, for many more years to come.”

The 100-year-old premises are home to the statewide Domestic Violence Legal Helpline, the Rural, Regional and Remote Helpline, and the Sexual Assault Legal Service. They also include offices for legal and emergency relief appointments and twice weekly drop-in clinics. 

“This grant will also allow us to stay in a central location and remain accessible to our clients and volunteers, so we are immensely grateful for Hand Heart Pocket’s generosity,” Ms Lynch said.

The limitations of the existing building often make it difficult for staff to find private space where clients could confidentially speak about their situation.

“Being able to talk face-to-face and get expert legal advice when I was going through a difficult matter was crucial, in helping me overcome a difficult time,” Virginia Henery a WLSQ client said.

“This grant is wonderful as it will mean more vulnerable women can receive the face-to-face support they need - when they need it,” she said.

The grant follows Hand Heart Pocket’s vital interim funding of $120,000 in July last year which ensured calls to its state-wide legal helpline could continue to be answered until long-term funding was secured. It also allowed 40 regional community workers to be trained and a revamp of the website to make information more readily accessible.  

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said supporting women’s financial and physical security was part of the organisation’s long-term strategy.

“We are focused on providing sustainable support to organisations that have limited access to other funding, to ensure they can continue to deliver essential services,” Mr Mark said.  

“This grant will empower Women’s Legal Service Queensland to continue building safer futures for vulnerable women and their children who are seeking a better life – having already helped over 120,000 women and with them 250,000 children in the last three decades,” he said.

Construction is expected to get underway in the next couple of months and is expected to be complete in August this year.

Photo: Women's Legal Service Queensland celebrates the announcement of a $340,000 grant from Hand Heart Pocket with The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Hand Heart Pocket Board Members, management and Hand Heart Pocket Champions. 

Stroke patients undergoing rehabilitation at Gympie Hospital have been empowered to lead more independent lives after the Gympie & District Masonic Fundraising Committee teamed up with Hand Heart Pocket to donate two specialised wheelchairs.

Patients working to regain their strength, as part of the rehabilitation program, will be able to operate the wheelchairs using one arm, giving them the ability to keep moving.

Committee spokesperson Wayne Smith said they hope the donation will improve patients’ wellbeing and enhance the rehabilitation process. 

“The road to recovery is never easy – patients will have their good days and bad days, so we hope this donation uplifts them and gives hope to their families,” Wayne said.

“Suddenly having movement on only one side of the body can be mentally challenging, so it will be good for these patients to feel as though they can still move around independently to a certain degree,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark spoke highly of the Gympie & District Masonic Fundraising Committee which represents nine individual Lodges.

“Enhancing the rehabilitation process by providing specialised equipment to improve the quality of life of stroke patients aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s values, which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“I congratulate the Gympie and District Freemasons for identifying this worthy cause which we were only too happy to support,” Gary said.

In the past 18 months alone, the Committee has donated close to $23,000 to local organisations and individuals.

Photo: Members of the Gympie & District Masonic Fundraising Committee stopped by the Hospital to check out the new specialised wheelchairs, which were purchased with the funds they donated along with Hand Heart Pocket.  

Find out how to start a fundraiser

Rehabilitation specialists at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital have been given a hand up, to help rebuild the lives of Queensland’s critically ill kids and get them home sooner, following a generous donation from the state’s Masonic charity on behalf of its members.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation will be investing 100% of the $150,000 donation from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, towards the purchase of vital rehabilitation equipment and important services that are solely funded by donations, like music therapy. These play a key role in helping to get more than 600 critically ill kids home sooner from the Brisbane-based hospital each year.

Funds were raised through Hand Heart Pocket’s 2017 Christmas Appeal, in conjunction with the organisation’s network of Masonic Lodges throughout Queensland.

Rosie Simpson, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation said the donation would benefit sick kids and their families from all over Queensland.

“Every year the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital cares for more than 230,000 critically ill or injured children across Queensland and Northern New South Wales with just over 40 per cent of these kids from regional or rural areas.

“While some stay for only a few days or weeks, others stay for months or years, until they are well enough to go home and even then, many need to undergo rehabilitation in their community.

“Thanks to the support of Hand Heart Pocket we can continue to fund vital medical equipment and important services that are solely funded by donations, like music therapy, at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to help kids on their rehabilitation journey to get better and go home sooner with their families,” she said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said support for contemporary families was part of their long-term strategy and thanked the Masonic Lodges throughout the state who supported this appeal.

“Our purpose is to provide sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes, to Queensland charities and individuals that have limited access to other funding sources.

“The hospital’s family-focused approach to recovery resonates with Hand Heart Pocket’s values, which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead more independent lives. Also, many of our members identified with these families who travel hundreds, if not thousands of kilometres for expert hospital care – so the sooner they can return home, with the tools to navigate their new lives, the better.

“I would like to thank the wife of the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland for bringing the work of the Children’s Hospital Foundation to our attention – which she has chosen to support during her husband’s three-year term. May our joint efforts change lives,” he said.

Photo: Representatives from Hand Heart Pocket handover a cheque for $150,000 on behalf of its members to representatives from the Children's Hospital Foundation. Pictured also are the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland Alan Townson and his wife Robyn Townson. 

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

 

Watch footage of the official cheque handover

Efforts to ensure more people with disabilities have access to appropriate housing on the Darling Downs
have been fast-tracked, thanks to a generous donation from a Masonic charity to YellowBridge QLD.

The $450,000 donation from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will enable the
construction of a purpose-built three-bedroom unit in Toowoomba, which will accommodate two people with disabilities and a carer.

The unit is one of four fully customised units being built by Enabled Living, which will meet individual
needs, include assistive technology, and help empower residents to lead more independent lives.

YellowBridge QLD Chief Executive Officer Penny Hamilton said the donation couldn’t have come at a
better time.

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

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

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

“Having access to appropriate housing is an important part of the equation for improving the overall quality of life of people with disabilities, so we are very grateful for this support.”

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

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

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

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

Photo: Penny Hamilton CEO YellowBridge QLD, Carolyn Brown Chair YellowBridge QLD, Alan Townson Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland and Gary Mark CEO Hand Heart Pocket.

 Find out more about our philosophy

Children and teenagers with disabilities will be empowered to live life to the fullest after Dunellan Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket joined forces to support BestLife Foundation.

The $1200 donation will be allocated to their sleepover program, which is one of several away-from-home experiences that the organisation provides for 6 to 19-year-olds with disabilities.

Dunellan Lodge Secretary, Colin Clapper said the donation would cover the associated costs of four children participating in the sleepover program.

“Having a disability shouldn’t stop you from living life to the full, but often, that is the reality for many of these children, who simply miss out on having fun,” Colin said.

“Every parent wants the best for their child, but managing the complex day-to-day care needs of their child can be a challenge in itself – which is why the work of BestLife is so vital,” he said.

“These sleepovers allow children to be children, to cultivate life skills and become more independent in a supervised environment. It’s no surprise that there is a long waiting list for this program,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark applauded Dunellan Lodge for giving back to the community.

“We can see why Dunellan Lodge wanted to support this important initiative which ensures that children with disabilities are not isolated,” Gary said.

“Improving the quality of life of children with disabilities and equipping them with the skills to lead a more independent life, are in keeping with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about empowering people to lead better lives.”

“It is for these reasons that Hand Heart Pocket was more than happy to support the local Freemasons with their latest charitable endeavour,” he said.

Photo: Dunellan Masonic Lodge representatives Craig Blanch and Con Carides hand over a cheque for $1200 to BestLife Foundation representative Kath Coory.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

 

 

Watch footage of the official cheque handover

More children with hearing loss in Queensland will be empowered to reach their full learning potential, after Hear and Say received a grant for half a million dollars from the state’s Masonic charity.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will help to cover the funding gap to deliver critical early intervention services, ensuring continuity of support for deaf children throughout Queensland for the next year.

Hear and Say Chief Executive Officer Chris McCarthy said that without this funding, Queensland children could miss out on vital services and programs that build their potential.

“We are extremely grateful for this funding from Hand Heart Pocket, which has come at a critical time to help cover our funding gap as we await the full financial impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme roll-out later this year,” Mr McCarthy said.

“More children and their families are turning to us than ever before, and this funding is vital for continuing our services, delivering the essential listening and spoken language therapy required to enable a child to hear, speak and live to their potential.”

“It can take up to six years to teach a profoundly deaf child to listen, process language, and speak, using the latest technology and an Auditory-Verbal Therapy approach, so it’s vital that our services remain accessible – for children to be ready for mainstream schooling,” Mr McCarthy said.

Hand Heart Pocket’s generosity will mean that 200 children across the state will continue to have access to Hear and Say’s Audiology Services, and 300 children can take part in the Early Intervention Program at their centres in Brisbane, Townsville, Toowoomba and on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

Hear and Say Vice-Patron and rugby league legend Wally Lewis whose daughter Jamie-Lee Lewis, was one of the first six children to be supported by the organisation, attended the funding announcement, to highlight the importance of improving life outcomes for these children.

“It’s amazing to think just how many families will be touched by this significant contribution. Jamie-Lee is living proof that it is possible for deaf children to go on to lead a normal life and take on whatever they put their mind to,” Mr Lewis said.

Brisbane Freemason Gary Golding similarly approved, having supported the service along with Enoggera Masonic Lodge at a grassroots level.

“Our granddaughter Audrey was born profoundly deaf, and with the support of Hear and Say at three-and-a-half, had mastered the language skills of a five-year-old,” Mr Golding said.

“As Freemasons we are incredibly proud that this grant has been made on our behalf, to impact children with hearing disabilities right across the state.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing sustainable support to organisations that have limited access to other funding sources was their focus.

“The commitment shown by Hear and Say to give deaf children the precious gifts of sound and speech aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about empowering people to lead better lives,” he said.

“We are delighted that this partnership will ensure more children in Queensland have a future which will not be limited by their hearing loss.”

Photo: (from left) Hand Heart Pocket Board Member John Aronis, Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Hear and Say Vice-Patron Wally Lewis, Hear and Say Founder Dr Dimity Dornan AO, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland Alan Townson, Hear and Say parent Amy Hawke, Enoggera Lodge Freemasons Gary Golding and Robert Burns, children from Hear and Say, (back row) Hand Heart Pocket Chairman Tom Wiltshire and Hear and Say Chief Executive Officer Chris McCarthy. 

Find out who we help

The campaign for a dedicated palliative care room at a local Aged Care facility in Mareeba, will soon be realised, after the local Freemasons donated $42,500 towards the project.

Granite Masonic Lodge with the help of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, came up with the funds, which will allow terminally ill residents at Mareeba Gardens Blue Care to have the opportunity to use this area with their loved ones.

The funds that have been donated will enable Mareeba Gardens Settlement to purchase specialised equipment and furnish the room to facilitate a homely setting appropriate for palliation.

Granite Masonic Lodge representative, Roy Blakeney, said this was an important first step for the region, where local palliative care support in general has been limited.

“Granite Lodge is very proud to have contributed to this project which will help to improve the quality of life of terminally ill nursing home residents at Mareeba Gardens,” Roy said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark, commended Granite Masonic Lodge for giving back to the community in this way.

“It’s evident that Granite Lodge has the best interests of its community at heart,” Gary said.

“Providing vital support for those nearing the end of life aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about alleviating suffering. That’s why we were so keen to support this local initiative,” Gary said.

Photo: Granite Masonic Lodge representatives Carl Richardson and Roy Blakeney with Mareeba Garden Settlement Service Manager Sam Bugat and Facility Manager Brian Ashfield.

Find out why you should support Hand Heart Pocket

More Queensland veterans who have overcome the psychological effects of active service, will be given the tools to help their peers get on the path to a better life, after the state’s Masonic charity provided a hand up.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has funded the training of 21 former Trojan’s Trek participants, who themselves are veterans, to conduct week-long wilderness based support intervention programs for their peers including one at Millmerran on the Darling Downs, later this year – helping participants to adapt to life after deployment.

Trojan’s Trek spokesperson Peter Keith said that settling back into civilian life was challenging for many who have been in active service and that one of the best ways to help change mindsets was through peer support.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety can be incredibly debilitating, so for veterans to want to participate in this peer support program, shows that they are keen to hear from others who have been through similar experiences and have turned their lives around,” said Peter.

“This $15,000 grant will help empower these former participants to make a powerful impact on their peers and potentially help save lives.”

“It’s a trek of the mind more than anything, with veterans helping veterans in a setting where everyone is equal and can express their feelings, learn how to communicate and harness the tools to navigate a meaningful life after service – for them and their families,” he said.

Former participant and now mentor, Michael Harding, welcomed the grant saying backing of this kind would send a strong signal to the veteran community that they are not forgotten.

“I, like many of our strongest men and women, returned from service feeling broken and very alone, not knowing how to deal with my emotions. While there is no quick fix, the range of support I received including Trojan’s Trek allowed me to change my mentality from victim to warrior,” he said.

“Other veterans need the opportunity to take that first step towards a better life,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that support men’s mental and physical health and women’s financial and physical security are part of the organisation’s long-term strategy.

“This grant will help Trojan’s Trek to continue to alleviate suffering and improve the quality of life of ex-service personnel, empowering them to lead better lives – having already helped over 200 ex-servicemen and more than 60 ex-servicewomen in the last 9 years,” he said.

Photo: Representatives of Trojan’s Trek accept a grant for $15,000 from Hand Heart Pocket.

Find out who we help

More residents at Karingal Nursing Home in Dalby will be able to sit in greater comfort following the
proactiveness of the local Freemasons.

Dalby United Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently
donated just over $4,000 through the Dalby Hospital Auxiliary, for the purchase of two Ashley Luxor
mobile recliners, for residents at the 80-bed facility – where a growing number struggle with their mobility.

Dalby United Lodge Secretary David Wheelehen said the chairs were at the top of the Nursing Home’s
wish list which is why they were so keen to lend a hand.

“A fellow Lodge member’s mother is a resident there. Upon hearing that there was a shortage of these recliners, we decided to raise funds through cent auctions,” David said.

“The Australian-made chairs are specially designed with foam to support those with pressure care needs,
ensuring that they can sit more comfortably and participate in activities alongside fellow residents,” he
said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark commended Dalby United Lodge for responding to need within the community.

“Investing in appropriate seating to minimise discomfort and improve the quality of life of the elderly,
resonates with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about equipping people to lead better lives,” he
said.

“Similarly, support for an ageing population is one of nine key areas that Hand Heart Pocket focuses our
support, so it was fitting that we matched the efforts of the Lodge,” he said.

“We are delighted to have partnered with Dalby United Lodge on this initiative and to have made a difference at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: Lodge representatives Jeff Parkes, David Wheelehen and Peter Horn look on as residents at Karingal Nursing Home try out the new recliners.  

Find out why you should support Hand Heart Pocket

A beautiful memorial rose garden will soon take pride of place at Mundubbera Hospital, improving the built environment and providing a peaceful place to reflect on those the town has lost.

Mundubbera-Burnett Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland collectively donated $2,000 towards the new space which will be in full view upon entry to the facility.

Lodge Secretary Peter Keller said the initiative was brought to their attention during a recent visit to see one of their fellow members, who resides in the aged care section of the Hospital.

“We were in town to mark a very special milestone for one of our members, Jim, 92 who we presented a 50-year jewel and 60-year clasp to, for his commitment to the organisation,” Peter said.

“We hope that in addition to providing a quiet space where the townsfolk can come to remember those that have passed on, the garden becomes a place where patients and aged care residents can spend time in and smell the roses,” Peter said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark praised Mundubbera-Burnett Lodge for leaving its mark on the community in this way.

“Efforts to make a meaningful difference for the sick and elderly, by beautifying the surrounds of the local Hospital and providing a permanent memorial, are in line with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about alleviating suffering and improving people’s quality of life.”

“Therefore, we were delighted to work with Mundubbera-Burnett Lodge on this important initiative,” Gary said.

Photo: Members of Mundubbera-Burnett Masonic Lodge including aged care resident, Jim and Mundubbera Hospital staff gathered together to celebrate the donation. 

Find out why you should support Hand Heart Pocket

An additional 2,000 free legal appointments for domestic violence victims will soon be possible each year, after Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) received $340,000 from the state’s Masonic charity, with most of the funds being allocated to extend their Annerley premises.

The extensions, being funded by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, will incorporate six confidential, airconditioned, fully fitted out offices to ensure they can meet the increased demand for legal assistance across Queensland.

WLSQ CEO Angela Lynch said this was the biggest gift the service had received in its 34-year history and would ensure those most vulnerable would have access to essential support.

“We are so excited by what this will help us achieve. The building extension was long overdue and the project could only be funded by generous donations such as this,” Ms Lynch said.

“Having more offices will give us the additional infrastructure to deliver 2,000 free appointments per year, which means we can assist vulnerable women when they need it most, for many more years to come.”

The 100-year-old premises are home to the statewide Domestic Violence Legal Helpline, the Rural, Regional and Remote Helpline, and the Sexual Assault Legal Service. They also include offices for legal and emergency relief appointments and twice weekly drop-in clinics. 

“This grant will also allow us to stay in a central location and remain accessible to our clients and volunteers, so we are immensely grateful for Hand Heart Pocket’s generosity,” Ms Lynch said.

The limitations of the existing building often make it difficult for staff to find private space where clients could confidentially speak about their situation.

“Being able to talk face-to-face and get expert legal advice when I was going through a difficult matter was crucial, in helping me overcome a difficult time,” Virginia Henery a WLSQ client said.

“This grant is wonderful as it will mean more vulnerable women can receive the face-to-face support they need - when they need it,” she said.

The grant follows Hand Heart Pocket’s vital interim funding of $120,000 in July last year which ensured calls to its state-wide legal helpline could continue to be answered until long-term funding was secured. It also allowed 40 regional community workers to be trained and a revamp of the website to make information more readily accessible.  

Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said supporting women’s financial and physical security was part of the organisation’s long-term strategy.

“We are focused on providing sustainable support to organisations that have limited access to other funding, to ensure they can continue to deliver essential services,” Mr Mark said.  

“This grant will empower Women’s Legal Service Queensland to continue building safer futures for vulnerable women and their children who are seeking a better life – having already helped over 120,000 women and with them 250,000 children in the last three decades,” he said.

Construction is expected to get underway in the next couple of months and is expected to be complete in August this year.

Photo: Women's Legal Service Queensland celebrates the announcement of a $340,000 grant from Hand Heart Pocket with The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Hand Heart Pocket Board Members, management and Hand Heart Pocket Champions. 

Stroke patients undergoing rehabilitation at Gympie Hospital have been empowered to lead more independent lives after the Gympie & District Masonic Fundraising Committee teamed up with Hand Heart Pocket to donate two specialised wheelchairs.

Patients working to regain their strength, as part of the rehabilitation program, will be able to operate the wheelchairs using one arm, giving them the ability to keep moving.

Committee spokesperson Wayne Smith said they hope the donation will improve patients’ wellbeing and enhance the rehabilitation process. 

“The road to recovery is never easy – patients will have their good days and bad days, so we hope this donation uplifts them and gives hope to their families,” Wayne said.

“Suddenly having movement on only one side of the body can be mentally challenging, so it will be good for these patients to feel as though they can still move around independently to a certain degree,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark spoke highly of the Gympie & District Masonic Fundraising Committee which represents nine individual Lodges.

“Enhancing the rehabilitation process by providing specialised equipment to improve the quality of life of stroke patients aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s values, which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“I congratulate the Gympie and District Freemasons for identifying this worthy cause which we were only too happy to support,” Gary said.

In the past 18 months alone, the Committee has donated close to $23,000 to local organisations and individuals.

Photo: Members of the Gympie & District Masonic Fundraising Committee stopped by the Hospital to check out the new specialised wheelchairs, which were purchased with the funds they donated along with Hand Heart Pocket.  

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Rehabilitation specialists at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital have been given a hand up, to help rebuild the lives of Queensland’s critically ill kids and get them home sooner, following a generous donation from the state’s Masonic charity on behalf of its members.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation will be investing 100% of the $150,000 donation from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, towards the purchase of vital rehabilitation equipment and important services that are solely funded by donations, like music therapy. These play a key role in helping to get more than 600 critically ill kids home sooner from the Brisbane-based hospital each year.

Funds were raised through Hand Heart Pocket’s 2017 Christmas Appeal, in conjunction with the organisation’s network of Masonic Lodges throughout Queensland.

Rosie Simpson, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation said the donation would benefit sick kids and their families from all over Queensland.

“Every year the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital cares for more than 230,000 critically ill or injured children across Queensland and Northern New South Wales with just over 40 per cent of these kids from regional or rural areas.

“While some stay for only a few days or weeks, others stay for months or years, until they are well enough to go home and even then, many need to undergo rehabilitation in their community.

“Thanks to the support of Hand Heart Pocket we can continue to fund vital medical equipment and important services that are solely funded by donations, like music therapy, at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to help kids on their rehabilitation journey to get better and go home sooner with their families,” she said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said support for contemporary families was part of their long-term strategy and thanked the Masonic Lodges throughout the state who supported this appeal.

“Our purpose is to provide sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes, to Queensland charities and individuals that have limited access to other funding sources.

“The hospital’s family-focused approach to recovery resonates with Hand Heart Pocket’s values, which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead more independent lives. Also, many of our members identified with these families who travel hundreds, if not thousands of kilometres for expert hospital care – so the sooner they can return home, with the tools to navigate their new lives, the better.

“I would like to thank the wife of the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland for bringing the work of the Children’s Hospital Foundation to our attention – which she has chosen to support during her husband’s three-year term. May our joint efforts change lives,” he said.

Photo: Representatives from Hand Heart Pocket handover a cheque for $150,000 on behalf of its members to representatives from the Children's Hospital Foundation. Pictured also are the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland Alan Townson and his wife Robyn Townson. 

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Watch footage of the official cheque handover

Efforts to ensure more people with disabilities have access to appropriate housing on the Darling Downs
have been fast-tracked, thanks to a generous donation from a Masonic charity to YellowBridge QLD.

The $450,000 donation from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will enable the
construction of a purpose-built three-bedroom unit in Toowoomba, which will accommodate two people with disabilities and a carer.

The unit is one of four fully customised units being built by Enabled Living, which will meet individual
needs, include assistive technology, and help empower residents to lead more independent lives.

YellowBridge QLD Chief Executive Officer Penny Hamilton said the donation couldn’t have come at a
better time.

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

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

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

“Having access to appropriate housing is an important part of the equation for improving the overall quality of life of people with disabilities, so we are very grateful for this support.”

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

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

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

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

Photo: Penny Hamilton CEO YellowBridge QLD, Carolyn Brown Chair YellowBridge QLD, Alan Townson Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland and Gary Mark CEO Hand Heart Pocket.

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Children and teenagers with disabilities will be empowered to live life to the fullest after Dunellan Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket joined forces to support BestLife Foundation.

The $1200 donation will be allocated to their sleepover program, which is one of several away-from-home experiences that the organisation provides for 6 to 19-year-olds with disabilities.

Dunellan Lodge Secretary, Colin Clapper said the donation would cover the associated costs of four children participating in the sleepover program.

“Having a disability shouldn’t stop you from living life to the full, but often, that is the reality for many of these children, who simply miss out on having fun,” Colin said.

“Every parent wants the best for their child, but managing the complex day-to-day care needs of their child can be a challenge in itself – which is why the work of BestLife is so vital,” he said.

“These sleepovers allow children to be children, to cultivate life skills and become more independent in a supervised environment. It’s no surprise that there is a long waiting list for this program,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark applauded Dunellan Lodge for giving back to the community.

“We can see why Dunellan Lodge wanted to support this important initiative which ensures that children with disabilities are not isolated,” Gary said.

“Improving the quality of life of children with disabilities and equipping them with the skills to lead a more independent life, are in keeping with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about empowering people to lead better lives.”

“It is for these reasons that Hand Heart Pocket was more than happy to support the local Freemasons with their latest charitable endeavour,” he said.

Photo: Dunellan Masonic Lodge representatives Craig Blanch and Con Carides hand over a cheque for $1200 to BestLife Foundation representative Kath Coory.

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