Awesome Marches to the Beat
Last night was a blustery warm evening to celebrate Awesome Newcastle March at the Criterion in Carrington! We, mingled, made merry and met our finalists and guest board members.
We welcomed three first time guest board members: Greg Dowling of CSIRO, Rick Hughes from Greater City Commission, and Chad Bennet of the University of Newcastle. We warmly welcomed back marketing consultant Lauren Devine.
We had a fantastic group of finalists, and each pitch was very different. We welcomed Andrew Murdoch of Drums in the Park Newcastle, Lanah Maruff of Newy Shareshop and Jessie Barrett of Accessible, Affordable, Inclusive Education.
Next up was Lanah. It was Lanah’s first time presenting, but The Share Shop actually won Awesome Newcastle back in 2018! She explained that The Share Shop has grown a lot since they first pitched. The volunteer-run ‘library of things’ enables members to borrow infrequently used items as needed. Since the pandemic, they’ve grown their members and volunteers. Now they want to increase the number of electric gardening equipment in their inventory. They’d use Awesome Newcastle funding to purchase second-hand Ryobi equipment — putting much-needed dollars in the pockets of locals, and in turn, making it available to their members at the cost of a quarterly or yearly fee.
Last but not least was Jessie. She’s a mum and business owner of The Creative Co, educational classes and workshops for babies and young children. She recently started a free inclusive education group for young children with additional needs and disabilities. They’re moving location, and she would use the money to enhance the play group, making their new space wheelchair accessible.
The judges had some tough decisions to make. They discussed, debated and cast their vote. Then Greg took the stage and (drum roll) awarded Andrew the money! Congratulations Andrew, we can’t wait to make it to your next drum session, and we hope Awesome Newcastle drums up some publicity for your awesome cause.
Thank you again to all our finalists! Remember, applications never expire, so there’s a chance we’ll get you back again. If you’re reading this and you’ve got a good idea and live in the region, please apply. See you next month!