The first Awesome Newcastle for the new year took place last Thursday at Talulah, The Junction. Our esteemed board congregated alfresco, full of stories of holidays, gifts, food and travel.
As usual, narrowing down three finalists from the ever-growing bunch of passionate, aspirational applicants was a tricky task. Who would be invited to tell us how they would make awesome happen in Newcastle with $1,000 cash, no-strings-attached?
We were joined by guests Belinda Leck, founder of Jimmy Figgs Bareknuckle Barber, SueAnne Ware, Head of School, Architecture and Built Environment, Richard Tribe, Technical Producer and Emma Levine from The Village of Useful – completing what is always a diverse board full of interesting Novocastrians.
First up to present was Jivvel Kilham, a passionate high school science teacher who explained about MaD Science, an interest elective class he created which focusses on materials and design through science and engineering topics. Kilham’s excitement about the way the project builds confidence in his students was contagious. The funding would be used to purchase more equipment to accommodate growing interest from new students, most of which are otherwise not excited about school or learning.
Live music lover Stephanie Miller talked to us about her passion to bring the popular music initiative SOFAR to the Newcastle area. Run completely by volunteers, SOFAR is a global network where gigs are held in unique venues such as people’s homes, art galleries or quirky retail store to showcase Newcastle’s up-and-coming local artists. Miller explained that with the $1,000 she could bring SOFAR to Newcastle by investing in items like marketing collateral, of a rug for performers and fairy lights.
The Youth Mayor of Newcastle’s public speaking skills were immediately clear as Ella Reed began explaining her idea. Reed started a charity Wings and Strings, which sources donations of hygiene products to distribute to services and organisations that work with people in need. Her plan for the $1,000 would be to put it toward promotional and administration costs, as well as finding a more sustainable method for delivery of the packs.
After a heated discussion between the determined board members, each cast their vote for Awesome Newcastle’s January grant. With the closest EVER tally of votes, the Awesome Newcastle vote counter had to double-triple check the numbers.
By a fraction, Jivvel Kilham was the winner, walking away with $1,000 cash, no-strings-attached, to continue his passionate work with his students.
But board members were so inspired by the presentations that many offered their services and contacts in a bid to support all three awesome projects. Ware kindly offered to match the $1,000 grant on behalf of the university, while Wayde Christie, founder of Newism, offered pro-bono branding work for Reed’s Wings and Strings.
Entries from previous months never expire, and we can’t wait to seeing what awesome entries we receive next month.
Bring the awesome!