Full House at April’s Awesome Newcastle

Full House at April’s Awesome Newcastle

Slowly and steadily Awesome Newcastle has been making its way around different dynamic venues in town. Last night’s event was a classy experience in one of Newcastle’s most iconic and historical buildings, Custom’s House. The staff made us feel welcome as we gathered in their epic blue room, and got down to business.

board room at Customs HouseOur host explained the rules and also introduced her family; her mom, dad and brother had travelled all the way from the Americas to witness the renowned Awesome Newcastle, (among other things).

And the night truly felt like a family affair. Every single permanent board member was represented last night, and we welcomed two returning guest board members, Ty Brennock from Monica Clare Recruitment and Jessica Petersen from CWP Renewables.

Our three finalists for the evening were Remy Ellicott from Baby in Time,  Peter Di Girolamo from Macquarie Care,and local artists and creatives Nina Katzmarski and Helen Hopcroft.

Remy went first. She told us the sad and powerful story of her own miscarriage and the pain she and her partner went through afterwards. She shared facts on Australian pregnancies and explained how her community support group, Baby in Time helps remove the silence and stigma around pregnancy and infant loss. She hopes to run monthly coffee meetups for women and men and also offer tangible products to honour angel babies and open communication. She’s partnering with a local jewelers Kate and Kole to produce a symbolic necklace with a large percentage of the profits going to research into pregnancy and infant loss. She told us if she won she would use the money to help spread the word about Baby in Time via social media and video.

RemyNext up we welcomed Peter who told us about his passion for working for with the homeless and ensuring that everyone in the country has a safe and secure place to sleep at night. He told us about his Our Backyard Car to Home program. His is a unique acute crisis support service helping those (many who are families) who are homeless and sleeping in their car. People who are homeless can sleep in their car park and have somewhere to have a hot shower, grab a feed, use free WIFI and wash their clothes. On every second Tuesday they put on a dinner and free haircuts, and Centrelink also comes out to help. The program is run through private donations. He said he would like to use the money to create a video to generate awareness about what the organisation does.

DSC09779The theme of parking continued, as we welcomed Nina to present. She told us about how she and her children have struggled navigating drivers’ poor parking in Newcastle. She grew frustrated with people’s double parking but didn’t know what to do about it. Then she and her friend Helen brainstormed a fun, sweet way to educate people without patronising them. They created a Care Parking poem, and you can read it below. Nina then went on to illustrate the poem as a booklet, and she began leaving it for all the double parkers. If she won the $1,000 she would spend $400 to RISO print 1,000 little booklets and $200 to buy a little community library box. They’d use the rest of the money to start working on new poems and illustrations to address other everyday annoyances.


Enjoy their poem below:

Some people are big,
Some people are small,
Some people are wide,
Some people are tall.

Many beasts have two feet,
Some have four,
A few have six legs,
And a few possess more.

I’ve seen women on wheels,
Ladies with sticks,
Dashing men beside prams,
And joggers with kids.

We all take up space,
Some more, some less,
But in Newcastle City,
We park the best!

board discussThe judges went on to deliberate and discuss. Then our guest board member Jess announced the winner and gave away the cash. Jess passed the money along to Nina, and everyone clapped and cheered. We reminded our finalists that applications never expire, so we just might see them again at another Awesome Newcastle.Jess passes the cash

PS! The next Awesome Newcastle will be open to the public in collaboration with the Hunter Innovation Festival! It’s happening Wednesday May 8th at The Criterion. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who’s curious to come see what we’re all about, and maybe give away a little money for a good idea too!