Emergency grant to Bloomhill Cancer Care provides relief during COVID-19 MEDIA RELEASE: 7 May 2020 Emergency grant to Bloomhill Cancer Care provides relief during COVID-19 Bloomhill Cancer Care’s calls for help have been answered by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to ensure Sunshine Coast cancer patients can continue to receive much needed care. The Freemason charity has provided a COVID-19 Emergency Grant of $200,000 in unrestricted funding to help support Bloomhill Cancer Care’s operating costs in the wake of the pandemic. The grant comes a year after the service received a $570,000 Flagship Grant and $130,000 interest-free loan from Hand Heart Pocket to expand its capabilities as a wellness facility in Buderim and relocate the warehouse for its op shop social enterprise. The funding comes at a crucial time for Bloomhill Cancer Care, with social distancing regulations significantly reducing its primary source of trading revenue. The forced trade suspensions of 11 of its 12 social enterprise op shops has impacted the organisation’s ability to continue running its cancer wellness services. To further lessen the financial burden of the pandemic, Hand Heart Pocket has also provided Bloomhill Cancer Care with more flexibility around the repayment of last year’s interest-free loan. Bloomhill Cancer Care CEO Chris Frank said the grant, along with generous community support, would help the organisation get through this rough patch so it can continue providing specialised support to thousands of cancer patients living on the Sunshine Coast, Kilcoy, Gympie and Burpengary. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been completely debilitating for our organisation,” Chris said. “This grant, as well as the flexibility Hand Heart Pocket has afforded us around our existing loan, will alleviate some of our financial stress, allow us to keep staff on, and help preserve the business during this difficult period so we can focus on improving outcomes over the long-term. “It will also continue to tide us through while we undergo a trial period to conservatively start to build up op shop revenue once again.”Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic. “Hand Heart Pocket is committed to ensuring its existing charity partners can continue providing support to the community during this challenging time,” Gary said. “So far, we have provided around $700,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic. “Bloomhill Cancer Care provides an essential service for its region, and we are glad we could step in and provide this extra support at a time when their community needs them the most.” For more information about Hand Heart Pocket visit www.handheartpocket.org.au or to find out more about Bloomhill Cancer Care go to www.bloomhill.com.au/. <ENDS> Pictured: Chris Franck, CEO Bloomhill Cancer Care For media requests, please contact: Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland Karen Tilke, General Manager Marketing and Public Relations, on 07 3493 6009 or [email protected] About Hand Heart Pocket: Hand Heart Pocket partners with other charities and philanthropists to help improve outcomes, particularly for youth at risk. We also support initiatives that help an ageing population, improve men’s mental and physical health or improve women’s financial and physical security. At a grassroots level, we work with Freemason Lodges to identify and support hundreds of localcommunity initiatives each year.