The first Awesome Newcastle of 2020 came rolling into Carrington with themes of fun, parties, welcoming and sustainability. Our last Awesome Newcastle was back in November, so it was great to catch up with the board and meet our interesting new attendees at The Criterion. Our host, Alex got the night going and told us about Awesome Newcastle and also the Awesome Foundation.
We welcomed back guest board member Ty Brennock from Monica Clare Recruitment, and we met three fab first-time guest board members as well: John McCann from Mudbath Digital, Raz O’Connor from Ronnoco and Grahem Hardes from Carrington Community Council.
Luke was up first. He’s a skateboarder, visual artist and support worker, and Bloom Skateboarding is Newcastle’s first community skateboarding project developed for people living with a disability. Bloom’s focus is on development of socialisation, physical and mental well being and life skills. The mission is to provide quality learning experiences through skateboarding, creativity and community. Luke self funds Bloom and he offers workshops in skateboard art and skateboard building for participants to creatively express themselves. He’d use the money for equipment, skateboards, venue hire and more.
Next up was Emma, a clinical psychologist and recent mum. During her maternity leave she observed all the waste generated from kids parties, so she came up with an idea to hire out reusable party packages to reduce the need for people to use disposable party products (e.g., plastic plates, cutlery, cups, balloons, streamers, table clothes). She created Sustainable Celebrations which provides a complete party kit and offers a washing up service as well. She put in many hours hand-making the buntings, and fabric bags. Since she started in November, she has saved 822 single use from the landfill! She’d use the money to purchase tableware and adult size tables, a sign for the business, a reusable fabric pass-the parcel bag, fabric napkins and more.Dale was the final candidate. He’s a youth worker, music producer/DJ, artist and surfer. He told us about a program he organises called Girls Who Skate which promotes health, boosts self-confidence, provides skill development and empowerment for young women age 12-18 from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, in particular refugee & humanitarian entrants, often from Middle Eastern and African countries. These girls receive free skateboarding classes and access to skateboards, safety gear and positive female role models. Experienced female coaches facilitate a safe, supportive space for young women to learn the basics of skateboarding. The money would be used to purchase new boards and equipment for each participant to keep after finishing.The board asked the finalists lots of questions, and then we left them to discuss and debate.
As always it was a tough decision and a close vote. We asked Ty to award the money, and he passed the $1000 cash along to Emma from Sustainable Celebrations! Congratulations Emma!
We reminded everyone that applications never expire and thanked our generous guest and permanent board members for spending their time and money with us.