Townsville schools are set to become a whole lot friendlier after the Joyful Foundation received a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.
The grant will support the Foundation’s work with disadvantaged children and will fund the installation of 10 buddy benches at schools in the North Queensland region.
A buddy bench is a special bench on which school children can sit to indicate that they want someone to play with or someone they can talk to when they are troubled or feeling lonely.
Joyful Foundation President Grace Vigar said buddy benches were one of the many ways to help reduce bullying and build inclusive school cultures.
“Buddy benches encourage children to develop positive relationships with their peers, and are also a great way for adults to open a communication line with children who are too afraid to come to them directly,” Grace said.
“At the Joyful Foundation, our aim is to support disadvantaged primary school students to reach their full potential and these benches will help local schools to create an atmosphere where children feel safer and more joyful at school.
“We are so grateful to Millican Freemasons Lodge for nominating us for this grant.”
Millican Masonic Lodge Secretary William James said, “The Visionary of our Lodge and founder of the Joyful Foundation, Ron Donnellan, has provided a terrific service to the community.”
“We believe in his Foundation’s vision to make schools safer places for all children and are thrilled to support its latest buddy bench drive,” William said.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said 15 charities have shared in almost $120,000 as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2020 Grassroots Community Grants round.
“This year we received a greater number of applications with a large geographical spread, particularly in regional Queensland,” Gary said.
“Although the grant round was oversubscribed, we wanted to make sure we maximised our support at a time the community needed it the most.
“These initiatives were identified by Freemason Lodges across Queensland and in Papua New Guinea to address needs in their local area, so we are pleased to support such a variety of causes including youth at risk, our ageing population, men’s mental and physical health and women’s financial and physical security.”
The grant was announced amid the Freemason charity providing over $750,000 in emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.
Photo: Joyful Foundation founder, Ron Donnellan.