Awesome Newcastle has been going strong since 2015, and during our regular board meeting this month we shook things up. Usually an intimate crowd gathers to enjoy bevvies and select the best finalist to take home a thousand bucks. This time we opened it up to to the public and allowed guests to contribute as much money as they wanted to the finalist of their choice.
New friendly faces continued to arrive as we sipped and nibbled and got to know each other in the Edwards lovely beer garden.
Famous friend of Awesome Newcastle, Glen Hawke, MCed the event and welcomed our five fabulous guest board members this month including Ryan MacPherson from eCoach, Mitch Evans from E1 Projects Group, Steve Martin from Brashlee Financial Planning and Kelly Church, an international guest visiting from Washington DC. Kelly is a technical reviewer for the global Humanitarian Innovation Fund.
If the finalists were nervous, they didn’t show it as they each took their turn to pitch their project to room.
Vicki from Newcastle Tweed Ride spoke first and explained that the event is an annual social ride from Islington Park to the Nobbys Foreshore. Everyone dresses in their best ‘tweed’ and rides their vintage bikes. It’s a social gathering for people of all ages and backgrounds but it does have some expenses that need covering for it to continue such as land fees and promotional costs.
The second presenter, and winner of the $1000 grant, was Toni from Morisset Meals on Wheels. She explained that when they delivered food to isolated seniors in the area they noticed their dogs would get fatter and their clients would be thinner. Having company was more important than eating! They started organising outings to restaurants, clubs and pubs to help these seniors tick off their food bucket list and have a more enjoyable, social experience. The grant will go towards hiring the bus and organising transport costs.
The third and final finalist, Phoenix, came straight from work where she runs a dance school called ‘The Jungle’. Phoenix talked about some of the growth and confidence she’s seen from students of The Jungle, which is non-competitive studio specialising in street styles. She talked about some of the programs she’s run aimed at increasing self-esteem and the need for air conditioning in her studio.
While the judges deliberated and the finalists nervously chatted, the remaining Awesome Newcastle crowd dropped cash in the bag of the presenter of their choice. That evening all three finalists walked away with some cash to further their cause, so Novocastrians are clearly excited about everyone’s unique and awesome initiatives.
Ryan Macpherson presented Toni from Meals on Wheels with her $1000 as the official winner of Awesome Newcastle for March.
We all headed home with a greater understanding about the people who live and work around us who want to see Newcastle be as awesome as possible. We hope to see you all back later this year, so keep your eye on our news and social media accounts!