We kicked off Awesome Newcastle a little late this month, but in doing so we were able to welcome back our host and cheerleader, Alex Morris, who may or may not be writing this very blog post.
It was a windy wonderful afternoon at The Criterion, as we all gathered around to enjoy some sips and chips and learn about the great ideas in our community.
As always we were stoked to give away $1000 no-strings-attached cash.
For March we welcomed many guest board members, including a few first timers like Brooke Stevenson and Louise Kipa of Persona Communications. We welcomed returning guest board member Becky Kiil of Newcastle Afoot and previous Awesome Newcastle winner! We welcomed returning guest board member James Barr of Digital Creators, and original Awesome Newcastle custodian, Emma Levine of Awabakal joined as well.
We all got comfy and settled in to hear about three great local ideas. This month our finalists were Renae Lamb of Midnight Dreaming Studio, Louise Higgins of My Medical Folder and Yve Lavine of Storyroom Aus.
Renae went first. She’s a proud Wiradjuri and Wongaibon woman, raised in Newcastle and a single mum of three. While working and also studying at the University of Newcastle, she’s opened a contemporary Aboriginal dance class for school aged children at Pivot Studio. She said her classes and teaching space is a safe place of practice to share cultural knowledge. She teaches contemporary pieces and all students and families are welcome. She would use the money to help pay for the space, customs and show productions. It would also allow her to help students from lower economic backgrounds attend.
Louise went next. She’s a wife, mum, grandmother and small business owner. She’s also the primary carer for both her mother and sister. Her idea for My medical folder came about while caring for her sister, who, sadly, was diagnosed with terminal cancer last October. Overwhelmed by all the medical paperwork, Louise created a system that worked magically. She wanted to share this with others. It’s an essential record-keeping resource for caregivers, parents, adult children of aged parents, first responders and anyone who needs to access the comprehensive health history record of the person. She’s also planning to eventually digitally incorporate this folder. She would use the money to go towards printing the folder content with SNAP printing Newcastle.
Yve was our final presenter last night. She’s a photographer who recently relocated to Newcastle from Sydney. In Sydney she was involved with Story Room Aus and loved it and decided to bring it to Newcastle. Story Room Aus celebrates storytelling with an eclectic posse of local storytellers sharing a true and deeply personal story. Each person has 8-minutes to share their story that is based on a monthly theme. She would use the money to promote the events through print and online marketing and also finding and funding storytellers as we build our credibility in the area.
The judges had a tough task on their hands but they got down to business discussing and debating while the finalists enjoyed some fresh air on the late summer afternoon.
Eventually a votes were cast and a decision was reached. We welcomed guest board member Brooke to the front to award the money, and Brooke passed the sack of cash to Renae! Congratulations Renae, we can’t wait to see how you help shape dance students with your knowledge and your teaching.
Another exciting thing happened last night! After the pitches, Brooke and Louise of Persona Communications offered to help Yve with marketing and promotion of her Story Room event at no charge. And then most of us stuck around chatting and enjoying late into the evening, so there were a few great wins last night at Awesome Newcastle.
We’d like to thank everyone for coming out and remind you that applications never expire, so we might see you back again at another Awesome Newcastle! If you haven’t already, start planning your big idea and Awesome Newcastle application!