The first Awesome Newcastle of 2018 went off without a hitch and with three great pitches! The Edwards Front Bar again welcomed four new guest board members who munched on some legendary bar grub and listened as three locals share their ideas.
Our lovely guest board members this round were Mark Squires from the Office of Environment and Heritage, Cheryl Gledhill from BlueChilli, Cheryl Royl from Hunter Futurepreneurs and Marty Spiers from H & M Accountants.
Our finalists included installation and performance artist Hannah Furmage, Vicki Geach from Glendale Early Education Centre and fashion professional Gabe Robinson from Hunter Institute of Fashion.
We welcomed everyone and then Hannah got the evening started explaining her upcoming installation involving the infamous Hunter Street Post Office. In conjunction with the Lock-Up Art Space, Hannah will project images and voices of the homeless people of Newcastle on the wooden barriers built on the post office. The barriers were recently built in order to keep the homeless out, as people regularly used it for shelter. The work seeks to affirm the existence of homeless people as valid, they too are citizens and worthy of our attention. She would use the $1000 for equipment and a camera operator.
Next we welcomed Vicki who manages Glendale Early Education Centre. The community-based service has been in operation for 15 years, and their focus and philosophy are based around the tenants of nature pedagogy and Kids Matter Early Childhood mental well being. In their program kids can climb trees, use tools and make positive decisions about their own limitations and capabilities. Vicki dreams of being able to provide structured sports lessons to kids in the community, as many families at their centre can’t afford to provide their children with sporting activities outside of their service. She would use the money to subsidise sports lessons on a weekly basis for a group of up to 25 children on a term by term basis to allow the maximum number of children across the service to participate.
And our final finalist for the evening was Gabe. Before he told us about himself, he praised Vicki’s initiative and said that if he won he would give the money to her. Then he told us about The Hunter Institute of Fashion. As the founder and director of the recently launched institution, Gabe hopes that this accredited college will not only offer training but also offer mentoring to the next generation of fashion lovers entering a competitive industry. Gabe told us about his career in the industry and the problems with the current training. After experiencing 15 years in the quickly changing industry, Gabe hopes his college will help students with a Diploma in Business and a better outlook on the future of fashion. He wanted to use the money to provide money for students to have iPads in his classes.
The judges deliberated and then Cheryl Gledhill presented the cash to the winner, Gabe! Then, for the first time in Awesome Newcastle history, Gabe passed the sack of cash along to Vicki! True to his word, he said he fully supported what she was doing as he grew up in a similar environment to what she is promoting. It was a unique and selfless moment to witness, one that will never be forgotten. It’s great to know that Gabe’s students are receiving such a generous and positive influence.
Thanks again to all finalists, board members and lovely Edwards staff. Remember that applications never expire, and we’re always on the lookout for guest board members too! See you next time, and stay tuned!