Last night we returned to The Edwards’ front bar for a special evening of merrymaking. We were excited to learn what the next batch of innovative Novocastrians had to offer.
Accompanying our beloved regular board members were returning guest board members Amir Antebi, Jacqui Daley and Richard Tribe. We were thrilled to welcome brand spanking new guest board members Amy Becket from Newcastle Networking Group, music producer Matt Lovell and Stacy Jacobs from Maitland Basketball. Our Awesome Newcastle finalists for May were drummer and media producer Kye Smith, Lisa Greissl from The Big Hug Box and Felicity Smith from Charles O’Neill Hostel.
We sipped wine and swapped stories, waiting for the night to kick off.
Our first finalist for the evening was Lisa. Lisa is a mum, wife and health care worker who told us all about her organisation, The Big Hug Box. Lisa is a cancer survivor, and during her illness, many of her friends and family didn’t know what to say or do. She created the Big Hug Box to not only help cancer patients, but also so their family and friends know they were helping in a difficult time. Filled with many natural and organic products sourced from small business in Newcastle, the boxes are a way to help cancer patients, and all profits from the sales donated to Cure Cancer Australia. She’s just getting started, but she’s already started shipping boxes across Australia. She’d use the grant money to go towards a better designed website.
Our next finalist for the evening was Felicity. Felicity is a therapist for Catholic Health Care. She told us about her work at Charles O’Neill Hostel. The hostel is a specialist aged care service with a 10 bed transitional psychiatric unit, providing a home for people who have experienced mental illness and homelessness. Felicity wants to host an inter-generational arts program with the local after-school care service, after observing the positive effects of the Young Archie Competition, where young people drew portraits of their elders. She believes that a collaborative arts program would further develop ties in the community and demonstrate that their elders are still capable and contributing members of the community. She would use the money to employ a professional artist to assist with the project.
And the final finalist of the evening was Kye. Kye is only 28 but he’s done some interesting things in his life so far. From being featured on Triple J to performing a five minute Beatles drum chronology at Madison Square Garden, he’s quite an impressive Novocastrian. He has a plan to create a five minute drum chronology for renowned Newcastle band Silverchair and shoot it in an iconic Newcastle location. He’d use the money for the video’s production, and he hopes that the project will be widely viewed and a real Newcastle pride piece.
It was clear the board members were in for some tough deliberations. They debated and discussed, and then we asked guest board member Amy to give away the cash.
We tallied the votes, and, as usual it was close, but May’s clear winner was Lisa from The Big Hug Box! We look forward to watching her business grow, and we hope all finalists will keep us up-to-date about their whereabouts. Remember, applications never expire, so we might see you down the tracks at another Awesome Newcastle!