Another Awesome Newcastle has come and gone, and we are thrilled to be introduced to some amazing community members doing important things. Last night was held at The Flying Tiger in their grand upstairs room. In some ways it was a bittersweet evening, as everyone was sadly aware of how we were no longer meeting at our regular, The Edwards.
We welcomed four new guest board members to go with our remarkable regulars. We were happy to see Amir Antebi had returned from his trip to the USA, and we also welcomed Thomas Donohue from the University of Newcastle, illustrator Ben Mitchell from Renew Newcastle, and Jordan Jensen from BU Coaching.
This months finalists were Emma Thomson from The Share Shop, Penny Creighton and Ruth McCrae from the Newkulele Festival and Megan Gitsham who wants to start a Biography Program in Newcastle. Our host explained how Awesome Newcastle works, and then we got down to business. First we welcomed Emma. Emma told us all about the soon-to-be launching endeavour, The Share Shop. The Share Shop is a not-for-profit, incorporated association run by volunteers. Its mission is to create a vast library of useful things in a friendly space where the community can borrow items and learn how to use them. They want people spending less money on things they don’t necessarily need to own (and the storage associated with those things). They want to reduce waste eventuating from the disposal of unwanted items and reduce everyone’s carbon footprint by enabling access to local resources. They have an inventory of camping equipment, party equipment and tools for people to borrow. They plan on opening the doors in Hamilton at the end of July. Emma would use the money to pay for the boring but necessary insurance costs.
Next we welcomed Penny from the Newkulele Festival. For the first time in Awesome Newcastle history, she sang a song and played the ukulele to introduce herself! Penny told us about the 4th biannual Newkulele Festival happening the 19-21 of this October in Newcastle City Hall. Featuring interstate and international performers, and workshops, the 2018 Festival is organised with the help of many volunteers in the local ukulele community. Penny would use the money for marketing and promotion.
Our third and final candidate for the evening was Megan. Introducing herself as “Megan with a story to tell”, Megan recently moved with her family from Melbourne to Newcastle and is a volunteer for the Hunter Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She was inspired by a biography program in Melbourne and she wants to start her own in the Hunter region. She told us about how many people are diagnosed with terminal illness or are in palliative care and a Biography Program would allow these people to share their life story, over a series of interviews within a 6-8 week period. Their story is transcribed, produced into a book & presented to them or their family. She wants to set up w program that has all the resources required to offer these services. She would use the money to attend a 2-day training course in Melbourne with Eastern Palliative Care, who have the largest Biography Program in all of Australia.
We left the board members to their boardroom to do their thinking. Deciding who gets the money is never easy!
But the show must go on and choices must be made. We invited our guest board member Thomas to the stage to present the $1000 to the winner.
Thomas was pleased to pass the money along to Emma from the Share Shop. We’re delighted the funds will help establish such a sustainable and innovative idea, and we can’t wait to see the community get to sharing. Congratulations to Emma and the rest of her team for all the hard work. Also a big thank you and congratulations to all our finalists! We’d like to remind everyone that applications never expire, so we might see you back again. Also a reminder to please stay in touch and keep us in the loop. What a great way to spend a Thursday night! See everyone in August!