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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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22 May, 2020

Barcaldine families to benefit from Covid-19 grant

ISOLATED families in Barcaldine will continue to receive support from Outback Futures during the pandemic with Hand Heart Pocket, the charity of Freemasons Queensland, providing a $9,900 Covid-19 Emergency Grant.

By Hamish Hart

From left: Kevin Kerr, David Hauenschild, Brett Jenkens, Jason Ricks and Jason Burger inside the Barcaldine Masonic Lodge.

Outback Futures is a not-for-profit organisation providing mental health and wellbeing support for outback Queensland communities. The grant will support the delivery of the Stay with Me program in the Barcaldine region.

Outback Futures CEO, Selena Gomersall, said the program aimed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those in isolated areas.

“There is an increasing demand for our services in rural and remote communities, and this funding will allow us to expand our offering and provide more video-connect therapy and clinical support sessions,” Ms Gomersall said.

“The program will deliver 55 hours of clinical support, education development, mental health support, and psychological support for rural and remote families in Central West Queensland who have limited access to mental health services.”

Comet Lodge Secretary, Jason Ricks, said the Barcaldine Freemasons nominated Outback Futures because mental health was an ongoing concern amid the pandemic.

“With the heightened uneasiness and anxiety due to the uncertainty associated with the Covid-19 crisis, families are more vulnerable than ever to mental health issues, and many may need extra emotional support,” Mr Ricks said.

Hand Heart Pocket CEO, Gary Mark, said the charity was focused on assisting its existing partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the coronavirus pandemic.

“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided about $700,000 in Covid-19 emergency support and grassroots community grants to charities across Queensland,” Mr Mark said.

“Those living in remote areas face unique challenges in accessing adequate physical health support as well as mental health and emotional support, so it is imperative we are able to help fund critical services like Outback Futures.

“We are glad Freemasons could provide this extra support to Outback Futures at a time when communities need them the most."

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