Love wins over cats and views at Awesome Newcastle!

Love wins over cats and views at Awesome Newcastle!

Last night at The Edwards on Parry Street, the Awesome Newcastle crew gathered for the April event. For the first time ever, Awesome Newcastle had all female finalists. The girls were representing!

This month’s finalists were Mel Taylor from Cat Rescue Newcastle, Kim Oakhill from Helpful Love and Alex Allen with a public viewing binocular idea. Awesome Newcastle applications never expire, and last night proved that patience is the key! Both Taylor and Allen had applied for a grant back in October 2015.

Board members and finalists gathered getting to know each other as the canvas bag was handed around to collect the $1,000 cash. This month, our guest board members included Phillip Ross from Hunter and King, Melanie Muddle creator of Houten Plank and Colin Law from the Commonwealth Bank. Added to our seven regular board members, we had our ten Awesome Newcastle board members.

A very nervous Mel Taylor was the first to speak before the board. Taylor and a couple of other local ladies volunteer their time and money to save cats on death row, cruelty cases, strays and surrenders. These gentle souls take cats into their homes where they are rehabilitated, socialized and taken to be desexed, microchipped and vaccinated. These lucky cats are then rehomed into loving ‘forever homes’ when they are ready for their new life.

Having rescued an amazing 1,200 felines in the five years they have been established, Cat Rescue relies totally on the goodwill of kind-hearted people for donations. Taylor explained that the grant money would go towards helping her rescue more cats and giving them the necessary treatment and care. Taylor’s motto is “Every cat deserves a second chance”.

Our next finalist from Helpful Love leaped into the spotlight with joy and enthusiasm. Helpful Love is an online community of awesome vendors who provide unique, alternative, helpful gift ideas. It came about following one of Kim Oakhill’s friends losing her 3 year old child to a common cold. Wanting do do something helpful rather than just sending flowers, Helpful Love was born! Hand picked vendors are listed on her website and customers can purchase Helpful Love Gift Vouchers that can be redeemed with all vendors. Oakhill expressed she would use the grant money to develop a ‘super-swish’, amazing directory style website to enable search functionality and long term growth.

Lucky last to speak was Alex Allen. For a while now Novocastrian Allen thought how awesome it would be to have public viewing binoculars placed at Strzelecki lookout or along the ANZAC walk. Having lived in Newcastle nearly all her life, she is a huge fan of the beautiful views her town has to offer. Machines would be coin operated, and the funds collected could either be used to purchase more binoculars or go towards supporting a local charity. Allen told board members that the money would go towards the purchase and installation of the first public viewing binocular machine.

As our three awesome ladies were taken inside The Edwards, the discussion began of who should be the grant winner that night. Colin Law was selected as the guest board member to present the winner with the $1,000 no-strings attached cash. Expressing how awesome all three finalists were, he announced the winning finalist was Helpful Love.

Another awesome night was had by all!

If you’d like to apply for an Awesome Newcastle grant, head to