Last Thursday we did it again. We gathered, we ate, we drank, we deliberated and then gave away another awesome $1000 in cash.
Candidates and board members met on the 6th floor of Newcastle’s NIB building. Surrounded by funky furniture, drinks, cheese and a stunning view of the harbor, a small crowd nibbled and made merry. We were excited to welcome four guest board members this month: Jo Bright from Evolution Advisers, Courtney Novak from The Lock Up, Rob Buck from Diamond Technology and Zach Scholtz from The Edwards.
After a bit of wine and banter, we all cosied up to listen to the fantastic ideas from innovative Novocastrians.
Three candidates offered up creative ideas ranging from enhancing local theatre, to increasing awareness for Parkinson’s Disease, to welcoming young refugees. The board knew it was going to be a tough decision; all three ideas were wide ranging and had the potential to be amazing, as is usually the case.
James Chapman was the recipient of an Awesome Newcastle grant last year. With the money he was able to produce the play “Suicide, Incorporated” which received critical acclaim. After things went so well, Chapman is planning to produce three more theatre projects with his newly started Knock and Run Theatre.
Sandra Elms is the Vice President of Newcastle Parkinson’s Support Group, and plans on holding a photographic exhibition showing people with Parkinson’s doing things that are not usually associated with the Disease. Sandra wants to raise awareness of the disease and change the stereotype. Elms hopes to give encouragement to people with the disease to pursue goals and not give up.
And the winner of last week’s no strings attached cold hard cash went to Astrid Gearin. Astrid is a Newcastle Youth and Community Development officer. Her idea (which is already underway) is a Welcome Ride for young refugees! Gearin explained that Welcome Ride promotes inclusiveness, unity and diversity within the Newcastle community and highlights places that host free and safe activities. It supports psycho-social engagement opportunities for young people in high school up to 25 years by creating fun welcome events for newly arrived persons from other countries, religious backgrounds and cultures targeting refugees. The Welcome Ride also links newly arrived young people with friends/supports/ mentors who may be from schools or the community that have been in Newcastle for a period and have started to establish life in a new community.
Congratulations Astrid for your win!
Keep an eye out for updates on Astrid on the Awesome Newcastle site, and good luck in future rounds to James and Sandra, as the Awesome Newcastle applications never expire. You might be hearing from all three candidates again soon!