March’s Awesome Newcastle coincidentally fell on the first day of autumn, and what a lovely breezy afternoon it was. Before kickoff, the Awesome Newcastle crew enjoyed the weather on the deck of the front bar . It was a great evening for making new acquaintances, which worked out well because last night we had five guest board members joining us!
To go with our lovely regulars, this Awesome Newcastle we welcomed developer Rowan De Haas, Anna Donoghoe from PWC, Jessica Petersen from Social Pinpoint, Adam Novak from NIB and Olivia Olley from Good Eye Deer. This month’s finalists were Aimee Marcelle and Tahlia Anderson from Surfing The Spectrum, David Prickett from Dark Stories and Matt Goddard from the New Common. We all had a chat and then we headed inside to watch dreams come true.
Aimee and Tahlia took the stage first to explain Surfing The Spectrum. Aimee is a paediatric occupational therapist and qualified surf instructor who has witnessed the power of the ocean when it comes to therapy. She and Tahlia have a dream to see more children exploring their abilities in the natural world. The two have seen the positive results of giving children with autism a chance to go surfing. They’ve been involved with Newcastle Surf School in hosting an “introduction to surf” day for young people on the spectrum. After seeing what a local demand there is for this service, the pair hoped to use the money to run four programs in 2018 and also to create a non-for profit that will service the autism community in Newcastle.
Next up was performer David Prickett from Dark Stories. David is a tour host, theatre performer and audiobook narrator! His true crime tours of Newcastle’s East End are his latest endeavor. Each story he tells is carefully crafted with unexpected twists, turns & revelations whilst remaining 100% true. Each story triggers a different range of emotions. The tours have been successfully up and running for several months. Now he’s looking for funding to get an awesome venue where he can host a dark interactive performance that’s sure to give you chills.
And our final finalist of the evening was entrepreneur Matt Goddard who is just about to open up The New Common, a collaborative co-working space in Newcastle West. He told us about his journey from Cessnock to the start-up world and his desire to establish a free-to-participate business and personal development book exchange in his space. He wants to set up an exchange where youth, aspiring entrepreneurs and business people can share their favourite business and personal development books. He envisions a small sanctuary within The New Common where everyone is welcome to hangout, talk, exchange resources and ideas on bean bags and/or the rooftop. He’d use the money to purchase the initial books.
Our board knew this was going to be a tough decision, but they deliberated diligently and eventually decided who would take home their one thousand dollars.
Guest board member Anna presented the money to Surfing The Spectrum! Congratulations to Aimee and Tahlia, we can’t wait to hear how the surfing events go this year! A big thank you to all finalists, and remember that applications never expire, so we very well might get you back later in the year.