We did it again! Last night’s Awesome Newcastle was intimate, inspiring and informative. We were down a few board members due to it being so soon after the Easter Weekend, but never-the-less we gathered, gabbed and gulped down a beer from our lovely venue, The Criterion.
This week we welcomed several returning guest board members and a few new faces too. It was great to see Kim Oakhill from Helpful Love (She was one of our original Awesome Newcastle grant winners back in 2016!) We welcomed Elaine and Malcom Macdonald of Red Planet Software and returning guest board members Graham Batten of Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and Sam Wallace of Puro People.
This month our three finalists were Su Morley of Gigs on the Green under an Awesome Marquee, Josh Anderson with Classical By Candlelight and Declan Edwards with The Happiness Scorecard.
Josh went first and he brought his friend and colleague Tom along. Josh is a student at the University of Newcastle who works for local theatre company Curious Legends. While working with Curious Legends he was introduced to classical music accompanied by shadow puppets. This sparked his imagination and he’s been learning classical guitar since. Together the two gave us a delightful miniature version of the event they have in mind. Classical by Candlelight is a family-friendly twilight picnic featuring musicians curated by Gianni Michelini of Newcastle Music Academy and shadow puppetry by Curious Legends. It would be hosted in a Newcastle park with food vendors, workshops and roving performances. They plan to use pop up installations tents, lit from the inside (Shadow Bubbles). The public will be invited to use the shadow puppets, or even their own bodies, to create their own performance while being accompanied by classical music. Josh and Tom would split the money between their preliminary marketing and also construction of the first Shadow Bubbles.
Next up was Declan. He told us about his mission to grow global wellbeing and also make Newcastle the happiest city in Australia. He and his company BU Coaching have developed the Happiness Scorecard – a short, evidence-based test that gives people a deeper understanding of their own happiness levels. They believe part of the reason behind so many people struggle with their mental and emotional wellbeing is because it is difficult to track. Often people’s first notable signs of emotional distress or mental health challenges come long after their happiness and wellbeing first began to slide. With the Happiness Scorecard, people can keep a closer eye on their wellbeing and will be able to manage their happiness proactively rather than reactively. Declan would use the $1000 grant to help bring the Happiness Scorecards to as many locals as possible through targeted social media advertising.
Last but not least was Su Morley. Su is co-Vice President of the Croatian Wickham Sports Club, and she works to protect and grow the club for all people in our community to access – for parties, meetings, Bocce, gardening and more. She explained that The Croat’ is one of the last cooperative community venues standing in Newcastle and much-loved by Newy locals for many events. She told us it’s especially lovely to gather there for a sunny afternoon gig on the green; and the club’s “entertainment committee” is keen to get Saturday and Sunday afternoons cranking again. This will give more paid gigs to local musicians. But, musicians and their gear need shelter from the sun, and the Croat’ hasn’t been able to afford to buy a decent marquee which will cost about $2656. Su would like to use Awesome funds to help fund a 4 x 8m Technishelter to house afternoon Gigs on the Green on weekends at the Croatian Wickham Sports Club. She wants this specific brand because it’s a solid long-lasting marquees that won’t break and end up in landfill after the second use.
The judges had a tough gig to make a decision, and they took quite some time making the call. But at last votes were cast and we invited Kim to the stage to award the money.
Kim happily passed the sack along to Declan! Congratulations Declan, we can’t wait to see how much happiness you can bring to this town.
We reminded our finalists that applications never expire, and thanked them again for their time!
We’ll be back next for an Awesome Newcastle next month, which will actually be open to the public as part of the Hunter Innovation Festival, how exciting! Maybe we’ll see you there?!