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For over three decades Trinity Centre Pantry in Fortitude Valley has been providing a hand up for those in need, through food assistance and financial emergency relief.

The local service which helps over 1000 people a year, recently received a $700 donation from the team at Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. Funds were raised throughout the year as part of the organisation’s casual Friday gold coin donation initiative, which was later matched dollar-for-dollar to provide a greater impact.

Situated not far from the Hand Heart Pocket Executive Office, the Trinity Centre Pantry is open four days a week, ensuring those that have fallen on hard times can pick up non-perishable food for free and access temporary financial emergency relief.

With this donation, the Pantry will be able to purchase a months’ worth of food, plus put some aside for financial emergency relief.

“Christmas is a time for giving. Also, our values and what we stand for as an organisation aligns with the Trinity Centre Pantry’s work in the community,” said Hand Heart Pocket Executive Officer Commercial and Company Secretary Robert Qualtrough.

“Supporting initiatives that alleviate misfortune and empower people to lead more independent lives is a large part of what we do,” he said.

Photo: The team at Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland donated $700 to the Trinity Centre Pantry.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

More aged people and people with disabilities on Brisbane’s northside will be able to enjoy being out on the water after Sailability Shorncliffe was gifted a new wheelchair-accessible pontoon boat.

The 6.2m vessel which was christened ‘Grumpy Walker’ earlier this week, was donated by Mt Pleasant Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. Having raised $5,000, the Lodge looked to Hand Heart Pocket, who initially matched their efforts, before providing an additional $50,250 to bring the initiative to fruition.

Sailability Shorncliffe President Ted Balneaves said the customised boat will be a huge asset to the organisation, which celebrated 10 years last year.

“We had wanted to get one for some time. Our clients, many of whom have limited mobility, can now be wheeled straight onto the boat, compared to being transferred into our sailing dinghies with a winch and sling,” Ted said.

“The pontoon boat can hold up to eight seated clients or up to four wheelchair-bound clients and four seated clients, with two crew members,” he said.

“They might not be able to touch the water because of the height of the boat, but they’ll still be able to feel the wind in their hair and take in the sights and sounds around them, as they sail along Cabbage Tree Creek.”

As for Mt Pleasant Lodge, this was the perfect way to make a difference while honouring the memory of the late Ron Walker – who was a member of their Lodge and a past president of Sailability Shorncliffe.

“It’s been said that Ron had three passions in life – Sailing, Sailability and Freemasonry. It was very moving to see the Grumpy Walker in action, knowing that we had played a key role in making this happen,” Mt Pleasant Lodge representative Mike Mifsud said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark commended Mt Pleasant Lodge for bringing this initiative to his organisation’s attention.

“Support for initiatives that help to improve the quality of life of the aged, aligns with our strategic charitable intent. By partnering with Mt Pleasant Lodge, we have been able to get this initiative over the line, so that more aged people and people with disabilities are empowered to lead better lives,” he said.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Sailability Shorncliffe Treasurer Phillipa Bolt, Mt Pleasant Masonic Lodge representative Mike Mifsud and Sailability Shorncliffe President Ted Balneaves.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

More young people in need will be given the tools to build their own future after TRACTION, a community-based youth mentoring program in South East Queensland, received a hand up to expand their reach.

The organisation recently received a $15,000 grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, to engage a specialist to guide the development of their long-term strategy, business plan and governance program, positioning them to grow to meet the needs of the community into the future.

TRACTION Founder and Program Director Sandy Murdoch said the funding couldn’t have come at a better time.

“This grant will allow us to take that next step – to take our program further and to be sustainable in the long-term, so more vulnerable young people are empowered to create their own powerful futures,” Sandy said.

“Since launching the program in 2015, 700 young people aged 12-15 have graduated from TRACTION, leaving with a new sense of purpose and confidence, that if they put their mind to something, they can achieve it,” he said.

Delivering its programs at Alexandra Hills, Moorooka, Inala, Logan and Beaudesert, TRACTION works with schools and other agencies to identify and re-engage youngsters that are not excelling in the classroom – equipping them with lifelong skills. By attending TRACTION one day a week for an entire school term, students can undertake projects like restoring an old bike with the help of a mentor, as part of the Bicycle Build Program. Many of the participants come from disadvantaged backgrounds, may be experiencing insecure housing, have a disability or could have been in the youth justice system.

“Seeing the transformation in these young people is by far the best part – seeing them come to the realisation that they have potential. Their behaviour changes and their teachers see an improvement in rates, effort and engagement at school, as a result our program,” he said.

“They are resilient kids who need to be given a chance. We are grateful to Hand Heart Pocket for believing in what we do.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that empower young people in necessitous circumstances to lead more independent lives aligns with his organisation’s purpose.

“Providing funding and financial assistance for education and training initiatives for young people in need, forms part of our long-term strategy,” Gary said.

“Early intervention programs that allow vulnerable youth to develop life skills, instead of slipping through the cracks provides them with a hand up through sustainable support,” Gary said.

“We are excited about the life-changing impacts that this partnership will bring for young people in need over the years to come,” he said.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark with TRACTION Founder and Program Director Sandy Murdoch and TRACTION Development Manager Mark Van Den Boogaart.

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More Queenslanders with low or no vision will be empowered to lead more independent lives, with Guide Dogs Queensland being given a hand up to meet the demand for its services into the future.

Just recently, the not-for-profit organisation received a $230,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland which will go towards the construction of an on-site veterinary clinic at their Bald Hills breeding and training centre.

With guide dog breeding numbers set to grow by 70% over the next couple of years, a dedicated onsite clinic will help to reduce expenses by as much as 60%. Currently external vet bills are costing the organisation close to $220,000 each year.

Guide Dogs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley said the initiative would have a lasting impact on the organisation – setting them up for the future.

“When it costs $50,000 to breed, raise, train and match a Guide Dog with an individual with low or no vision, these savings could be translated to an additional 24 Guide Dogs over the next five years,” Michael Said.

“Having an in-house veterinary program will also mean that we would be able to offer comprehensive healthcare to all working Guide Dogs in the greater Brisbane region, not just those in the breeding and training program.”

“These savings will allow us to develop innovative new programs and strengthen existing programs to empower our clients to lead safer, more independent lives,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were already aware of the difference Guide Dogs Queensland was making in the community, through its Masonic Lodges who have provided grassroots support over many years, in particular United Tradesmen’s Lodge (Ipswich) and later Redcliffe First Settlement Lodge (Redcliffe) with their Dining in the Dark fundraisers.

“At a grassroots level, Masonic Lodges and Hand Heart Pocket have collectively donated well over $50,000 to Guide Dogs Queensland to help purchase vital equipment,” Gary said.

“Our support of this latest initiative, will help to fill the funding gap, enabling Guide Dogs Queensland to meet the demand and be sustainable in the long term. It’s our pleasure to provide a hand up so that more Queenslanders with low or no vision can lead better lives,” he said.

Photo: Following many years of support at a grassroots level, Guide Dogs Queensland has received a $230,000 Significant Grant towards the construction of an on-site veterinary clinic. 

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More people living with dementia in the Maranoa region will be able to remain close to their loved ones and support networks, as their condition progresses, with Pinaroo Roma Inc. having recently received a hand up to make dementia specific residential care more accessible.

The 60-bed not-for-profit aged care facility, managed by the Rotary Club of Roma, will put a $250,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland towards the conversion of an existing wing into a second secure dementia specific wing, to accommodate 11 additional dementia residents.

Pinaroo Roma Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ian Murphy said the grant would help to ensure the ongoing sustainability of aged care in the regional community.

“Our current 12-bed dementia wing has had 100% occupancy since 2013, plus we currently have 15 people on our waiting list, so this second dementia wing, will make all the difference – allowing us to care for a total of 23 residents with the cognitive illness,” Ian said.

“Over the years many locals have had no option but to move far away from their loved ones and community, to access dementia specific residential care, due to a lack of local services. With an ageing population and dementia rates on the rise, this would only have gotten worse. We are pleased that as a result of this partnership with Hand Heart Pocket, we’ll be able to finally address this issue and ensure more residents are able to stay in Roma,” he said.

The converted wing will have 11 private single rooms, each with an ensuite. A lounge room, meals area and landscaped gardens will help to give the wing a homely feel, while being fully secure with key pad access.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said this was the first Significant Grant for the Maranoa region, due in part to the local Freemasons, who were vocal supporters of this initiative.

“Our focus is to provide sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes for charitable organisations that have limited access to other funding sources, so we thank the Freemasons of Roma for the role they played in highlighting this regional issue,” Gary said.

“Efforts to provide more dementia specific places in a regional community such as Roma, aligns with our values which are about empowering people to lead better lives. Plus, initiatives that improve the quality of life of the ageing population forms part of our long-term strategic focus.”

“We are proud to partner with Pinaroo Roma Inc. to ensure more dementia specific care places are accessible to South West Queenslanders,” he said.

Photo: Pinaroo Roma Inc. will be able to accommodate more dementia residents in a safe and comfortable space, with Hand Heart Pocket providing a $250,000 Significant Grant towards the conversion of an existing wing into a second dementia specific wing.

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Almost 150 guests including members, supporters and charity partners of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, attended the Year in Review event last month, to hear about the organisation’s impact on families and communities in 2018. Held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the event was a resounding success with guests embracing the format of the night.  

Official proceedings began with a Welcome to Country before Chairman Tom Wiltshire addressed the audience. He provided a high-level overview of the organisation’s charitable impacts as it follows the path of its long-term strategy. He also spoke about how the organisation’s sustainable business model is allowing it to provide more impacts now and into the future.

In the 2017/2018 financial year, Hand Heart Pocket provided almost $2.8 million in financial and in-kind support to a range of charitable causes and individuals in need, impacting more Queenslanders than ever before. A whiteboard video was shown to explain how the organisation has built on its 110-year history and some of the recent impacts it has made.

Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark also addressed the audience, focusing on the charity’s achievements and how the organisation is delivering on the board’s strategy. This included the growth of their benevolent work at a grassroots level and building stronger relationships with Masonic Lodges, to provide approximately $375,000 in grassroots grants for 83 local initiatives. Similarly, almost $1.57 million in Significant Grants were provided to support key initiatives where gaps in funding were evident. While a $1 million Flagship Grant was given to help provide vital infrastructure for education and employment, to empower young people with a disability to be job ready. A highlights video helped to put these sizable figures into perspective, showing some of the positive impacts being made.

In keeping with this theme, guests took part in a Gallery Walk to hear directly from Hand Heart Pocket’s charity partners, who spoke about the challenges they face, the support they received from Hand Heart Pocket and the impact of this support. These charity partners included Help Enterprises, Hear and Say, YellowBridge QLD, Trojan’s Trek and the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA). The latter organisation, as the beneficiary of Hand Heart Pocket’s Inaugural Father’s Day Appeal, received a $150,000 Significant Grant on the night to support Men’s Shed activities and programs across Queensland in 2019 in the area of men’s mental and physical health which is one of Hand Heart Pocket’s key areas of focus.

Hand Heart Pocket is appreciative of those that attended the Year in Review event and looks forward to working with those who share their passion and vision to make a bigger difference for more families and communities in 2019.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket celebrated its charitable impact in 2018 at the Year in Review event. Official proceedings began with a Welcome to Country from Shannon Ruska, a descendent of the Yuggera and Turbul people of Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich regions.

Read Hand Heart Pocket's Annual Review 2018

People living with a physical or developmental disability or suffering from a mental illness will be empowered to lead more independent lives with Lowood Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland teaming up to support Assistance Dogs Australia.

The $1,000 donation will go towards the specialised training of their canines in Queensland, who by the two-year mark will be able to assist a physically disabled person with household tasks such as loading the washing machine or helping to remove items of clothing. Others will be able to respond to the signs of anxiety in a child with Autism or an adult with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Lowood Masonic Lodge’s Marty Harmsworth said members have supported Assistance Dogs for almost a decade, but it was the first time they had joined forces with Hand Heart Pocket, who have doubled their impact.

“We love what the organisation stands for and the difference these animals make to the individuals and families that they are assigned to. This is why we’ve been loyal supporters of theirs over the years,” Marty said.

“It’s terrific that our donation has been matched by Hand Heart Pocket, enabling Assistance Dogs Australia to do more.”

A Queensland representative of Assistance Dogs Australia was appreciative of this latest donation.

“We receive no government funding and rely solely on the generosity of the public. It’s because of the ongoing support of those like the Lowood Freemasons that we’ve been able to place 48 dogs across Queensland in our time. This includes placements in educational facilities,” Cherie Bekker said.

Typically, it can take two years and over $35,000 to train an Assistance Dog. This covers everything from food, vaccinations, training, placement and a lifetime of follow-up care.  

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing a hand up for charitable organisations that have limited access to other funding was central to their long-term strategy.

“This initiative ticks all the boxes. Transforming the lives of Queenslanders through the placement of Assistance Dogs aligns with our values which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives. The initiative also supports one of our strategic focuses which is about improving men’s mental and physical health,” Gary said.

“It’s great that we could maximise the charitable efforts of Lowood Masonic Lodge so that a bigger difference can be made at a grassroots level,” he said.

As an independent charity founded by the Freemasons of Queensland, Hand Heart Pocket helps in areas of state-wide and local need that have limited access to other funding. We work with other charities to identify and fund initiatives that have real, life-changing potential. We also collaborate with Masonic Lodges across Queensland and help individuals in times of extreme need to get them back on their feet. We use our funds wisely to give a hand up – not a handout and to build potential.

Photo credit Christine Aitken

Find out more about the charitable work of Hand Heart Pocket

 

While most of us were enjoying a Sunday sleep-in, Queensland Freemason Matthew Sullivan was among 30,000 participants to brave the winter rains to complete the Bridge to Brisbane earlier this year.

The 30-year-old from Gympie wasn’t going to let anything, let alone the weather, stand in the way of him fulfilling his goal, which he had worked towards all year.

“I wanted to mark turning 30 by doing something I’d never done before,” Matthew said.

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, so, I got myself a personal trainer who made sure that I was ready and wouldn’t injure myself. Plus, I was able to use the event as motivation to lose weight,” he said.

However, it wasn’t just about pushing himself against the clock, with hundreds of charities benefiting from the fun run.

“The Board of Benevolence (BoB) was my chosen charity. I managed to raise just over $1000, with a significant portion of that going to BoB and the rest going to Everyday Hero to support a range of charities,” he said.

“It was great to introduce other participants to the charitable work of Freemasons across the state and show the difference that we’re making.”

After persevering through the dreary conditions, Matthew completed the 5km course in 43 minutes and 11 seconds – his family cheering him on at the finish line.

“I’ll be doing it again next year for sure – I might even aim for the 10km course.”

“It would be fantastic to take part alongside other Freemasons, to get our name out there and raise funds for our charity.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark recognised Matthew’s efforts.

“We’re very grateful that Matthew took on this event with us in mind. Being a monthly donor, he’s been supportive of our work over a number of years. To see him take BoB’s mission to a new audience is just brilliant,” Gary said.

“100% of the donation to BoB will go towards initiatives that empower people to lead better lives,” he said.

Photo: Matthew Sullivan powered through the Bridge to Brisbane, raising over $1000.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

Freemasons across Queensland and Papua New Guinea have again rallied with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to support drought-affected families and communities.

The success of their most recent Drought Disaster Relief Appeal has meant that collectively Freemasons have donated $1.45 million over the past four years.

The recent appeal saw Hand Heart Pocket donate an additional two dollars for every dollar donated by its members and Masonic Lodges - therefore tripling their impact and helping to raise $450,000 in just six weeks.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said eftpos cards were being distributed through its delivery partners on the ground, enabling funds to be spent locally, helping to put food on the table and to pay essential bills.  

“By working with The Western Drought Appeal and their associated distribution channels, the Rural Financial Counselling Service, Queensland Education and the School of Distant Education parent support group, we can ensure that funds get to those that are most in need,” Gary said.

“Around 1500 eftpos cards are currently being distributed to families in Longreach, Winton, Barcaldine, Blackall-Tambo, Barcoo, Boulia, McKinlay, Richmond, Murweh, Flinders, Bulloo, Quilpie and Paroo.”

“Rather than trucking in supplies, this method allows funds to be spent locally in support of the local business community,” he said.

Including two Masonic Lodges in Papua New Guinea, 127 Lodges throughout the state contributed to the Appeal, helping to provide a greater impact.

“By pooling our efforts we’ve been able to reach so many more drought-affected Queenslanders – to provide a hand up in their time of need. A contribution of $1.45M over four years is a remarkable effort by our membership,” Gary said.

Photo: The recent appeal saw Hand Heart Pocket donate an additional two dollars for every dollar donated by its members and Masonic Lodges.

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The task of providing oxygen to patients onboard one of Townsville’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) aircrafts will be significantly easier after the Freemasons of Bowen joined forces with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to donate a new high-tech transport ventilator.

The compact all-in-one Hamilton-T1 ventilator has a built-in turbine, eliminating the need to carry oxygen cylinders onboard – making it a huge space-saver. The “intelligent” device can also automatically adjust airflow, according to the patient’s condition and provide real-time visual information about how the patient’s lungs and heart are responding during the flight.

Kennedy Masonic Lodge, initially contributed $10,000 through Hand Heart Pocket’s Dollar for Dollar Grassroots Grants, before putting in another $5,000 and securing a further $36,450 through the organisation’s Dollar for Dollar Plus Grassroots Grants to bring this initiative to fruition.

Kennedy Masonic Lodge representative Robert Andersen said it was a pleasure to provide a hand up with the fit out of this device in one of the two aircrafts in use in Townsville.

“When we came to know that the RFDS had plans to fit this device in up to 10 of its aircraft across Queensland, we wanted to do what we could to help,” Robert said.

“In the last 16 years, the Lodge has donated in excess of $130,000 to the RFDS in Townsville. More recently with the help of Hand Heart Pocket, we’ve continued our support of this valuable service,” he said.

“What’s great about this life-saving device is its versatility. Anyone from an adult, child or newborn can be hooked up to it and given that the RFDS responds to such a wide range of situations, this is exactly what they need.”

Last financial year alone, the medical team in Townsville transported 2090 critically ill or injured patients – travelling as far north as Cairns, out west to Mt Isa and south to Brisbane.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said investing in innovative life-saving equipment to empower people to lead better lives is what this initiative is all about.

“We believe in providing sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes to charitable organisations that have limited access to other funding sources,” Gary said.

“Thanks to the relationship that Kennedy Masonic Lodge has cultivated with the RFDS, we were able to team up to bring an important grassroots initiative to fruition,” he said.

Photo: Kennedy Masonic Lodge representatives Alf Pearce, Kevin Yarrow, Steve Fisher, Merv Tickle, Robert Andersen and Roy Facey with Townsville Royal Flying Doctor Service nurse Ashlea Turnham and Base coordinator Gail Hill.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

For over three decades Trinity Centre Pantry in Fortitude Valley has been providing a hand up for those in need, through food assistance and financial emergency relief.

The local service which helps over 1000 people a year, recently received a $700 donation from the team at Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. Funds were raised throughout the year as part of the organisation’s casual Friday gold coin donation initiative, which was later matched dollar-for-dollar to provide a greater impact.

Situated not far from the Hand Heart Pocket Executive Office, the Trinity Centre Pantry is open four days a week, ensuring those that have fallen on hard times can pick up non-perishable food for free and access temporary financial emergency relief.

With this donation, the Pantry will be able to purchase a months’ worth of food, plus put some aside for financial emergency relief.

“Christmas is a time for giving. Also, our values and what we stand for as an organisation aligns with the Trinity Centre Pantry’s work in the community,” said Hand Heart Pocket Executive Officer Commercial and Company Secretary Robert Qualtrough.

“Supporting initiatives that alleviate misfortune and empower people to lead more independent lives is a large part of what we do,” he said.

Photo: The team at Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland donated $700 to the Trinity Centre Pantry.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

More aged people and people with disabilities on Brisbane’s northside will be able to enjoy being out on the water after Sailability Shorncliffe was gifted a new wheelchair-accessible pontoon boat.

The 6.2m vessel which was christened ‘Grumpy Walker’ earlier this week, was donated by Mt Pleasant Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland. Having raised $5,000, the Lodge looked to Hand Heart Pocket, who initially matched their efforts, before providing an additional $50,250 to bring the initiative to fruition.

Sailability Shorncliffe President Ted Balneaves said the customised boat will be a huge asset to the organisation, which celebrated 10 years last year.

“We had wanted to get one for some time. Our clients, many of whom have limited mobility, can now be wheeled straight onto the boat, compared to being transferred into our sailing dinghies with a winch and sling,” Ted said.

“The pontoon boat can hold up to eight seated clients or up to four wheelchair-bound clients and four seated clients, with two crew members,” he said.

“They might not be able to touch the water because of the height of the boat, but they’ll still be able to feel the wind in their hair and take in the sights and sounds around them, as they sail along Cabbage Tree Creek.”

As for Mt Pleasant Lodge, this was the perfect way to make a difference while honouring the memory of the late Ron Walker – who was a member of their Lodge and a past president of Sailability Shorncliffe.

“It’s been said that Ron had three passions in life – Sailing, Sailability and Freemasonry. It was very moving to see the Grumpy Walker in action, knowing that we had played a key role in making this happen,” Mt Pleasant Lodge representative Mike Mifsud said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark commended Mt Pleasant Lodge for bringing this initiative to his organisation’s attention.

“Support for initiatives that help to improve the quality of life of the aged, aligns with our strategic charitable intent. By partnering with Mt Pleasant Lodge, we have been able to get this initiative over the line, so that more aged people and people with disabilities are empowered to lead better lives,” he said.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark, Sailability Shorncliffe Treasurer Phillipa Bolt, Mt Pleasant Masonic Lodge representative Mike Mifsud and Sailability Shorncliffe President Ted Balneaves.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket’s philosophy

More young people in need will be given the tools to build their own future after TRACTION, a community-based youth mentoring program in South East Queensland, received a hand up to expand their reach.

The organisation recently received a $15,000 grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, to engage a specialist to guide the development of their long-term strategy, business plan and governance program, positioning them to grow to meet the needs of the community into the future.

TRACTION Founder and Program Director Sandy Murdoch said the funding couldn’t have come at a better time.

“This grant will allow us to take that next step – to take our program further and to be sustainable in the long-term, so more vulnerable young people are empowered to create their own powerful futures,” Sandy said.

“Since launching the program in 2015, 700 young people aged 12-15 have graduated from TRACTION, leaving with a new sense of purpose and confidence, that if they put their mind to something, they can achieve it,” he said.

Delivering its programs at Alexandra Hills, Moorooka, Inala, Logan and Beaudesert, TRACTION works with schools and other agencies to identify and re-engage youngsters that are not excelling in the classroom – equipping them with lifelong skills. By attending TRACTION one day a week for an entire school term, students can undertake projects like restoring an old bike with the help of a mentor, as part of the Bicycle Build Program. Many of the participants come from disadvantaged backgrounds, may be experiencing insecure housing, have a disability or could have been in the youth justice system.

“Seeing the transformation in these young people is by far the best part – seeing them come to the realisation that they have potential. Their behaviour changes and their teachers see an improvement in rates, effort and engagement at school, as a result our program,” he said.

“They are resilient kids who need to be given a chance. We are grateful to Hand Heart Pocket for believing in what we do.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said initiatives that empower young people in necessitous circumstances to lead more independent lives aligns with his organisation’s purpose.

“Providing funding and financial assistance for education and training initiatives for young people in need, forms part of our long-term strategy,” Gary said.

“Early intervention programs that allow vulnerable youth to develop life skills, instead of slipping through the cracks provides them with a hand up through sustainable support,” Gary said.

“We are excited about the life-changing impacts that this partnership will bring for young people in need over the years to come,” he said.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark with TRACTION Founder and Program Director Sandy Murdoch and TRACTION Development Manager Mark Van Den Boogaart.

Find out more about who we help

More Queenslanders with low or no vision will be empowered to lead more independent lives, with Guide Dogs Queensland being given a hand up to meet the demand for its services into the future.

Just recently, the not-for-profit organisation received a $230,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland which will go towards the construction of an on-site veterinary clinic at their Bald Hills breeding and training centre.

With guide dog breeding numbers set to grow by 70% over the next couple of years, a dedicated onsite clinic will help to reduce expenses by as much as 60%. Currently external vet bills are costing the organisation close to $220,000 each year.

Guide Dogs Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Kightley said the initiative would have a lasting impact on the organisation – setting them up for the future.

“When it costs $50,000 to breed, raise, train and match a Guide Dog with an individual with low or no vision, these savings could be translated to an additional 24 Guide Dogs over the next five years,” Michael Said.

“Having an in-house veterinary program will also mean that we would be able to offer comprehensive healthcare to all working Guide Dogs in the greater Brisbane region, not just those in the breeding and training program.”

“These savings will allow us to develop innovative new programs and strengthen existing programs to empower our clients to lead safer, more independent lives,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were already aware of the difference Guide Dogs Queensland was making in the community, through its Masonic Lodges who have provided grassroots support over many years, in particular United Tradesmen’s Lodge (Ipswich) and later Redcliffe First Settlement Lodge (Redcliffe) with their Dining in the Dark fundraisers.

“At a grassroots level, Masonic Lodges and Hand Heart Pocket have collectively donated well over $50,000 to Guide Dogs Queensland to help purchase vital equipment,” Gary said.

“Our support of this latest initiative, will help to fill the funding gap, enabling Guide Dogs Queensland to meet the demand and be sustainable in the long term. It’s our pleasure to provide a hand up so that more Queenslanders with low or no vision can lead better lives,” he said.

Photo: Following many years of support at a grassroots level, Guide Dogs Queensland has received a $230,000 Significant Grant towards the construction of an on-site veterinary clinic. 

Find out more about who we help

More people living with dementia in the Maranoa region will be able to remain close to their loved ones and support networks, as their condition progresses, with Pinaroo Roma Inc. having recently received a hand up to make dementia specific residential care more accessible.

The 60-bed not-for-profit aged care facility, managed by the Rotary Club of Roma, will put a $250,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland towards the conversion of an existing wing into a second secure dementia specific wing, to accommodate 11 additional dementia residents.

Pinaroo Roma Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ian Murphy said the grant would help to ensure the ongoing sustainability of aged care in the regional community.

“Our current 12-bed dementia wing has had 100% occupancy since 2013, plus we currently have 15 people on our waiting list, so this second dementia wing, will make all the difference – allowing us to care for a total of 23 residents with the cognitive illness,” Ian said.

“Over the years many locals have had no option but to move far away from their loved ones and community, to access dementia specific residential care, due to a lack of local services. With an ageing population and dementia rates on the rise, this would only have gotten worse. We are pleased that as a result of this partnership with Hand Heart Pocket, we’ll be able to finally address this issue and ensure more residents are able to stay in Roma,” he said.

The converted wing will have 11 private single rooms, each with an ensuite. A lounge room, meals area and landscaped gardens will help to give the wing a homely feel, while being fully secure with key pad access.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said this was the first Significant Grant for the Maranoa region, due in part to the local Freemasons, who were vocal supporters of this initiative.

“Our focus is to provide sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes for charitable organisations that have limited access to other funding sources, so we thank the Freemasons of Roma for the role they played in highlighting this regional issue,” Gary said.

“Efforts to provide more dementia specific places in a regional community such as Roma, aligns with our values which are about empowering people to lead better lives. Plus, initiatives that improve the quality of life of the ageing population forms part of our long-term strategic focus.”

“We are proud to partner with Pinaroo Roma Inc. to ensure more dementia specific care places are accessible to South West Queenslanders,” he said.

Photo: Pinaroo Roma Inc. will be able to accommodate more dementia residents in a safe and comfortable space, with Hand Heart Pocket providing a $250,000 Significant Grant towards the conversion of an existing wing into a second dementia specific wing.

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Almost 150 guests including members, supporters and charity partners of Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, attended the Year in Review event last month, to hear about the organisation’s impact on families and communities in 2018. Held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the event was a resounding success with guests embracing the format of the night.  

Official proceedings began with a Welcome to Country before Chairman Tom Wiltshire addressed the audience. He provided a high-level overview of the organisation’s charitable impacts as it follows the path of its long-term strategy. He also spoke about how the organisation’s sustainable business model is allowing it to provide more impacts now and into the future.

In the 2017/2018 financial year, Hand Heart Pocket provided almost $2.8 million in financial and in-kind support to a range of charitable causes and individuals in need, impacting more Queenslanders than ever before. A whiteboard video was shown to explain how the organisation has built on its 110-year history and some of the recent impacts it has made.

Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark also addressed the audience, focusing on the charity’s achievements and how the organisation is delivering on the board’s strategy. This included the growth of their benevolent work at a grassroots level and building stronger relationships with Masonic Lodges, to provide approximately $375,000 in grassroots grants for 83 local initiatives. Similarly, almost $1.57 million in Significant Grants were provided to support key initiatives where gaps in funding were evident. While a $1 million Flagship Grant was given to help provide vital infrastructure for education and employment, to empower young people with a disability to be job ready. A highlights video helped to put these sizable figures into perspective, showing some of the positive impacts being made.

In keeping with this theme, guests took part in a Gallery Walk to hear directly from Hand Heart Pocket’s charity partners, who spoke about the challenges they face, the support they received from Hand Heart Pocket and the impact of this support. These charity partners included Help Enterprises, Hear and Say, YellowBridge QLD, Trojan’s Trek and the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA). The latter organisation, as the beneficiary of Hand Heart Pocket’s Inaugural Father’s Day Appeal, received a $150,000 Significant Grant on the night to support Men’s Shed activities and programs across Queensland in 2019 in the area of men’s mental and physical health which is one of Hand Heart Pocket’s key areas of focus.

Hand Heart Pocket is appreciative of those that attended the Year in Review event and looks forward to working with those who share their passion and vision to make a bigger difference for more families and communities in 2019.

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket celebrated its charitable impact in 2018 at the Year in Review event. Official proceedings began with a Welcome to Country from Shannon Ruska, a descendent of the Yuggera and Turbul people of Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich regions.

Read Hand Heart Pocket's Annual Review 2018

People living with a physical or developmental disability or suffering from a mental illness will be empowered to lead more independent lives with Lowood Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland teaming up to support Assistance Dogs Australia.

The $1,000 donation will go towards the specialised training of their canines in Queensland, who by the two-year mark will be able to assist a physically disabled person with household tasks such as loading the washing machine or helping to remove items of clothing. Others will be able to respond to the signs of anxiety in a child with Autism or an adult with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Lowood Masonic Lodge’s Marty Harmsworth said members have supported Assistance Dogs for almost a decade, but it was the first time they had joined forces with Hand Heart Pocket, who have doubled their impact.

“We love what the organisation stands for and the difference these animals make to the individuals and families that they are assigned to. This is why we’ve been loyal supporters of theirs over the years,” Marty said.

“It’s terrific that our donation has been matched by Hand Heart Pocket, enabling Assistance Dogs Australia to do more.”

A Queensland representative of Assistance Dogs Australia was appreciative of this latest donation.

“We receive no government funding and rely solely on the generosity of the public. It’s because of the ongoing support of those like the Lowood Freemasons that we’ve been able to place 48 dogs across Queensland in our time. This includes placements in educational facilities,” Cherie Bekker said.

Typically, it can take two years and over $35,000 to train an Assistance Dog. This covers everything from food, vaccinations, training, placement and a lifetime of follow-up care.  

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing a hand up for charitable organisations that have limited access to other funding was central to their long-term strategy.

“This initiative ticks all the boxes. Transforming the lives of Queenslanders through the placement of Assistance Dogs aligns with our values which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives. The initiative also supports one of our strategic focuses which is about improving men’s mental and physical health,” Gary said.

“It’s great that we could maximise the charitable efforts of Lowood Masonic Lodge so that a bigger difference can be made at a grassroots level,” he said.

As an independent charity founded by the Freemasons of Queensland, Hand Heart Pocket helps in areas of state-wide and local need that have limited access to other funding. We work with other charities to identify and fund initiatives that have real, life-changing potential. We also collaborate with Masonic Lodges across Queensland and help individuals in times of extreme need to get them back on their feet. We use our funds wisely to give a hand up – not a handout and to build potential.

Photo credit Christine Aitken

Find out more about the charitable work of Hand Heart Pocket

 

While most of us were enjoying a Sunday sleep-in, Queensland Freemason Matthew Sullivan was among 30,000 participants to brave the winter rains to complete the Bridge to Brisbane earlier this year.

The 30-year-old from Gympie wasn’t going to let anything, let alone the weather, stand in the way of him fulfilling his goal, which he had worked towards all year.

“I wanted to mark turning 30 by doing something I’d never done before,” Matthew said.

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, so, I got myself a personal trainer who made sure that I was ready and wouldn’t injure myself. Plus, I was able to use the event as motivation to lose weight,” he said.

However, it wasn’t just about pushing himself against the clock, with hundreds of charities benefiting from the fun run.

“The Board of Benevolence (BoB) was my chosen charity. I managed to raise just over $1000, with a significant portion of that going to BoB and the rest going to Everyday Hero to support a range of charities,” he said.

“It was great to introduce other participants to the charitable work of Freemasons across the state and show the difference that we’re making.”

After persevering through the dreary conditions, Matthew completed the 5km course in 43 minutes and 11 seconds – his family cheering him on at the finish line.

“I’ll be doing it again next year for sure – I might even aim for the 10km course.”

“It would be fantastic to take part alongside other Freemasons, to get our name out there and raise funds for our charity.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark recognised Matthew’s efforts.

“We’re very grateful that Matthew took on this event with us in mind. Being a monthly donor, he’s been supportive of our work over a number of years. To see him take BoB’s mission to a new audience is just brilliant,” Gary said.

“100% of the donation to BoB will go towards initiatives that empower people to lead better lives,” he said.

Photo: Matthew Sullivan powered through the Bridge to Brisbane, raising over $1000.

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Freemasons across Queensland and Papua New Guinea have again rallied with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to support drought-affected families and communities.

The success of their most recent Drought Disaster Relief Appeal has meant that collectively Freemasons have donated $1.45 million over the past four years.

The recent appeal saw Hand Heart Pocket donate an additional two dollars for every dollar donated by its members and Masonic Lodges - therefore tripling their impact and helping to raise $450,000 in just six weeks.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said eftpos cards were being distributed through its delivery partners on the ground, enabling funds to be spent locally, helping to put food on the table and to pay essential bills.  

“By working with The Western Drought Appeal and their associated distribution channels, the Rural Financial Counselling Service, Queensland Education and the School of Distant Education parent support group, we can ensure that funds get to those that are most in need,” Gary said.

“Around 1500 eftpos cards are currently being distributed to families in Longreach, Winton, Barcaldine, Blackall-Tambo, Barcoo, Boulia, McKinlay, Richmond, Murweh, Flinders, Bulloo, Quilpie and Paroo.”

“Rather than trucking in supplies, this method allows funds to be spent locally in support of the local business community,” he said.

Including two Masonic Lodges in Papua New Guinea, 127 Lodges throughout the state contributed to the Appeal, helping to provide a greater impact.

“By pooling our efforts we’ve been able to reach so many more drought-affected Queenslanders – to provide a hand up in their time of need. A contribution of $1.45M over four years is a remarkable effort by our membership,” Gary said.

Photo: The recent appeal saw Hand Heart Pocket donate an additional two dollars for every dollar donated by its members and Masonic Lodges.

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The task of providing oxygen to patients onboard one of Townsville’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) aircrafts will be significantly easier after the Freemasons of Bowen joined forces with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to donate a new high-tech transport ventilator.

The compact all-in-one Hamilton-T1 ventilator has a built-in turbine, eliminating the need to carry oxygen cylinders onboard – making it a huge space-saver. The “intelligent” device can also automatically adjust airflow, according to the patient’s condition and provide real-time visual information about how the patient’s lungs and heart are responding during the flight.

Kennedy Masonic Lodge, initially contributed $10,000 through Hand Heart Pocket’s Dollar for Dollar Grassroots Grants, before putting in another $5,000 and securing a further $36,450 through the organisation’s Dollar for Dollar Plus Grassroots Grants to bring this initiative to fruition.

Kennedy Masonic Lodge representative Robert Andersen said it was a pleasure to provide a hand up with the fit out of this device in one of the two aircrafts in use in Townsville.

“When we came to know that the RFDS had plans to fit this device in up to 10 of its aircraft across Queensland, we wanted to do what we could to help,” Robert said.

“In the last 16 years, the Lodge has donated in excess of $130,000 to the RFDS in Townsville. More recently with the help of Hand Heart Pocket, we’ve continued our support of this valuable service,” he said.

“What’s great about this life-saving device is its versatility. Anyone from an adult, child or newborn can be hooked up to it and given that the RFDS responds to such a wide range of situations, this is exactly what they need.”

Last financial year alone, the medical team in Townsville transported 2090 critically ill or injured patients – travelling as far north as Cairns, out west to Mt Isa and south to Brisbane.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said investing in innovative life-saving equipment to empower people to lead better lives is what this initiative is all about.

“We believe in providing sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes to charitable organisations that have limited access to other funding sources,” Gary said.

“Thanks to the relationship that Kennedy Masonic Lodge has cultivated with the RFDS, we were able to team up to bring an important grassroots initiative to fruition,” he said.

Photo: Kennedy Masonic Lodge representatives Alf Pearce, Kevin Yarrow, Steve Fisher, Merv Tickle, Robert Andersen and Roy Facey with Townsville Royal Flying Doctor Service nurse Ashlea Turnham and Base coordinator Gail Hill.

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