Tag Archive for: support

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thank you also to our charity partners Help Enterprises, Hear and Say, YellowBridge QLD and Trojans Trek who nominated us for this wonderful award.”

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

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

Supacat is a successful UK based company which now operates in the defence industry field in Australia. Supacat is committed to partnering with Australian industry and is delivering development, production and support programs with Australian partners under the Supacat Team Australia banner. Therefore it was not a huge step for the Australian Managing Director to seek ways in which the company could become involved with innovative Australian initiatives related to the military.

Hence the potential for a relationship with the Trojans Trek Foundation was formed.To cement the relationship the Chairman, Moose Dunlop OAM travelled to Sydney to address the company annual dinner on 24 October.As a consequence, Supacat has offered to assist the foundation in their continuing role of rebuilding the psychological health of our damaged veterans.

Trojans Trek is pleased to announce a new partnership in QLD with Hand Heart Pocket (HHP).

HHP is the charity arm of the Freemasons in QLD which for centuries have used the symbols of hand heart and pocket to pledge practical help, genuine empathy and financial generosity to those who need it most. One of the areas of focus for the charity is on initiatives which promote and support positive physical and mental health for men; a target which coincides with the work of the Trojans Trek Foundation.

Dr Helen Donovan.
Published Thursday 7 September, 2017

One in every 12 currently serving defence force members has experienced Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) within the past 12 months, and the total number of currently serving members with some form of mental health challenge (such as anxiety or depression) is likely to be much higher. In the past, defence force members were discharged if they were diagnosed with PTS. Others exited without a formal diagnosis, and lost connection to all their systems of support — medical, financial, housing and social. Today, there is a much better understanding of PTS and service-related stress illness. We better understand which psychotherapies and pharmacotherapies are more effective, and we know that peer support is likely to significantly amplify the positive impact of other approaches as veterans have often had experiences that are not well understood by the general public.

In August this year, I had my first experience of Trojan’s Trek, a peer-to-peer circuit breaker program for service and ex-service personnel who have been adversely affected by their service. It was powerful. Over 40 participants and staff came together in the bush for the six-day, live-in course, which is not a physical trek, but a journey of the mind. Over the six days, I was immersed in the transformational impact of the course content, delivered by skilled and experienced peer facilitators; my theoretical knowledge of why the program works became experiential understanding.

I commenced my role as the new Executive Officer of Trojan’s Trek early this year. I did so after reading the evaluations of the program by Flinders University and University of South Australia, and recognising the truly outstanding results that were being achieved in improvements to mental health for contemporary veterans experiencing service-related PTS and stress illness. Having previously worked as a psychologist in the Army Reserve I understood the layered value of these results; each individual participant who finds effective strategies and supports for managing their mental health represents the thin edge of the wedge of their community network. As an individual, they are often suffering deeply. Past trekkers have described feeling hopeless and many have shared their suicidal thoughts. This suffering extends out into their communities and has wide-ranging impacts on their family, friends and work. We all have so many roles in life — parents, partners, children, workers, carers, participants in local sports teams, volunteers, and so many more. Supporting the health of one individual, potentially saves a life — the life of someone’s father or mother; someone’s daughter or son, and supports the wellbeing of many.

Within the defence community we now have access to well-established research demonstrating the efficacy of peer support programs for strengthening mental health and re-building lives. With this understanding comes a responsibility to resource evidence-based peer support programs much more comprehensively than the current system supports. Each one of us can be active participants in this resourcing. Firstly, consider who is within your sphere of influence who may need help. Can you assist them to seek support from Trojan’s Trek, or elsewhere? Trojan’s Trek is a not-for-profit organisation and there is no cost for participants.

Secondly, support us to help us support them.

Dr. Helen Donovan is the Executive Officer of Trojan’s Trek Foundation and a psychologist with close ties to the military. She previously served as a psychologist in the Army Reserves and has four generations of family members who have served in either the Australian Army or the Royal Australian Air Force. She is a strong believer in the need to provide multi-faceted supports for the well-being of defence members (past and present) and their families. Dr Donovan has a background in the strategic planning, roll out, and evaluation of projects and programs relating to physical and mental health. She has previously worked with Victoria Police, Diabetes Australia, the Heart Foundation and Breast Cancer Network Australia. She completed her doctorate in health psychology and taught health behaviour change topics at Deakin University.

This piece was originally published in the Veterans’ News, a Veterans SA on line news and can be found here.