September blew past us like a lovely spring breeze, and here we are in October, with another Awesome Newcastle bringing in generous members, dreamers and doers together! Last night a fantastic crew gathered at The Criterion to mingle and make a difference.
We had quite a variety of guest board members including our dynamite dependable regulars, Jacqui Daley of the Measured Marketer, Ty Brennock of Monica Clare Recruitment and Wayde Christie of The Village of Useful. We were thrilled to see few second time returners like Jade Pearsall from Puro People, Fergus Black from TAFE and marketing consultant Dan Kemp. We welcomed first time guest board member Scott McShane of Life Without Barriers.
We gathered round, buckled down and got to listening to each pitch.
Jo spoke first. She’s the coordinator of HCEC, a NFP, grassroots organisation which supports, trains and facilitates communities to protect the environment. The HCEC is partnering with the North East Forest Alliance to run a road trip up to Bellingen for Novocastrians to witness the logging of native forests and koala habitat. The two day excursion would allow attendees to connect, share campaign skills and learn about the destruction of native habitat in Wang Wuak forest from paper-pulp logging operations. She would use the money to cover the major costs involved in running this excursion.
Next up Tom from Minna spoke. His Hunter Street cafe just opened this week, it’s being run by himself and four other Novocastrians. Minna means “everyone” in Japanese, and their vision is a safe, inclusive space where people from all backgrounds can relax without fear of judgement or prejudice. They believe that disability, sexuality, gender identity, religion, and/or lifestyle should be celebrated, not repressed, and their cafe is their way to afford this space in Newcastle. He told us he would use the money to buy a dishwasher for the cafe.
Last but not least we welcomed Jason who had just driven up from Sydney to give his presentation on Supertees. He’s a father and a tradie who’s declared war on childhood cancer. He told us about his own child’s battle with cancer and how he’s created Supertees. Supertees are the answer to the boring medical garments patients usually have to wear. He wants to bring these superhero-themed t-shirts to the John Hunter Children’s Hospital for Christmas. The tees are 100% cotton, Xray, MRI and Pet Scan Friendly. They have a cape which also serves as a bib and a shoulder and side access for cables and tubes. They’re easy to remove as well. He wants to provide these as a gift to families and would use the $1000 to provide 22 Supertees to Newcastle kids this Christmas.
The finalists cleared the room to let the board think and discuss who should take home the cold hard cash this month. After much deliberation the votes were cast and a decision made. We welcomed Scott to the front to give away the cash.
Scott stressed that while all the ideas were certainly worthy, one thing that had made Minna cafe stand out the fact that it was such a local initiative. We then welcomed Tom up to collect the cash!
Congratulations to Minna Cafe, and thanks so much to everyone for making it out and presenting. A reminder to all finalists, applications never expire, so there’s a chance we might get you back again for another pitch at Awesome Newcastle.
And if you, kind reader, have an awesome idea and you’d like to apply, click here. If you are an awesome person who wants to contribute $100, apply to be a guest board member. Thanks so much to everyone for being involved, and stay tuned for November’s Awesome Newcastle, which will be open to the public!