Another month, another no-strings-attached cash giveaway! Awesome Newcastle was lit last night at the Cri… literally, and you’ll see why momentarily. We welcomed heaps of new, generous guest board members including several first-timers. Despite the winter July weather, we were toasty and talkative as we enjoyed some bevs and got to know the unique crew around us at The Criterion.
This month we welcomed first time guest board members Robert Roworth from Johnny Pictures and Tommirock, Candice Woods from the UN Association of Australia, Luke Kellett from Headjam, Anna Lundmark from Hunter Water, Kylie Frearson from Property Solutions 101 and Josh Bruce from JBVFX. Long time supporter Ty Brennock of Monica Clare Recruitment joined us as well.
Our finalists this month were Helena Richardson from Barefoot Surf & Yoga, Thomas Macokatic from Between The Lines Gallery and Stephen Fewson from Survival Candles. Stephen was actually a previous Awesome Newcastle winner back in 2016 as well!
We explained the rules to all the fresh new faces and got down to business.
Helena went first. Originally from Poland, she previously worked in marketing but quit her job four years ago to move to Bali and become a yoga teacher. She’s since moved to Newcastle and started Barefoot Surf & Yoga, an online platform which will feature the best surf and yoga destinations, providing all necessary information to plan the best trip for both local travellers and foreigners. She hopes to change the way people travel for surfing & yoga. She wants to showcase DIY surf and yoga retreats, so you pay less and experience something truly unique. She’s planning on launching the main platform later this year and would use the money for the launch and promotion of the website.
Next up we welcomed back Stephen, a disability support worker. For many years he’s been making survival candles out of recycled materials to give away to anyone who can use them, often people living rough on the streets. He told us how he’s made hundreds of the candles and they’re reusable and reloadable. They can heat a can of baked beans in under two minutes, give light on a dark night and help keep people warm. He’s not a not-for-profit or a business, just trying to do a bit of good in the community. He told us he’d use the money to buy more wax for his project. He’d also love to be more strategic about the candles, possibly sometimes selling them to raise more money for people in need, and/or teaching survival candle-making workshops. He even lit a candle (hence the lit-ness) to show us how they work!
And then Tom took the floor. He told us he’s a barista and musician who recently opened an art gallery. He told us how during his last trip overseas he had an epiphany, realising many of his artist friends in Newcastle struggle to promote themselves and their art. He wanted to get their artwork out and seen by the public. His art gallery was born in Tighes Hill. Between The Lines also serves coffee seven days a week. He wants to showcase as many local artists as possible, and he also holds monthly musical performances. So far he’s been covering costs of exhibitions by being crafty, gaining sponsors and receiving help from friends and family. He would use the money for upcoming exhibitions where he will pay musicians, support local artists and buy a wheelchair ramp for entry. The next exhibition is (this Friday night, July 5th).
The judges knew they had a tough task ahead of them. They took their time chatting about the options and finally cast their votes. It was a very close vote.
We welcomed Luke from Headjam to award the winner, and he passed the sack of cash to Tom! Congratulations to Between The Lines!
We enjoyed the rest of the evening and some chats. A big shout out to our generous guests and permanent board members. If you’d like to be a guest board member or have an awesome idea, please apply via the website. Remember that applications never expire, and even if you’ve won in the past that doesn’t mean you can’t come back. Thanks for keeping up with Awesome Newcastle!