After another interesting year of in-person and digital Awesome Newcastles, we were quite pleased to wrap up our last one in the flesh at our lovely watering hole, The Criterion. Our last Awesome Newcastle in public was in June, so it was quite a delight to reunite.
Along with our fabulous regulars, we welcomed three returning guest board members, Sam Wallace from Puro People, Dave Sivyer from Feedback Organic (and previous Awesome Newcastle winner) and Emma Levine, (8s) original custodian of Awesome Newcastle. We were thrilled to welcome first time board member Katie Hansen of Moon Sage Media.
We all had a chat and a much needed catch up, and then as is the end-of-year-Awesome Newcastle tradition, we offered previous finalists from the year a chance to pitch again. We greeted June guest Monty Sharma from Urban Botanica Collective, October guest Victoria Lewis from RizeUp and August guest H-Foot.
Monty, a certified permaculturists and mycologists went first. Urban Botanica Collective is all about educating people to help cultivate a greener future with nature, and Monty talked to us all about his passion for the amazing power of mushrooms. He would use the money to run a monthly mycology workshops in Newcastle.
Next up was Victoria of RizeUp. RizeUp is a community-driven organisation dedicated to supporting the many families affected by domestic and family violence. They have created various programs to support and empower the brave families. She told us about RizUp’s newest chapter in Newcastle. She’s hoping to use the money to help women and families escape domestic violence. She would use the money to help stock fridges and support of people needing a fresh start in life.
Last but not least was HFoot. Hfoot is a legendary graffiti artist in Newcastle, and he told us his idea to create a huge HFoot jigsaw puzzle made out of plywood and cut it into big pieces. Then those four pieces would be hidden around Newcastle CBD. He’d tell people via his social media how to find them, and then use the Awesome money to pay the finders.
As always it was a brutal task to pick between the three. We left the judges to deliberate and discuss, and then a winner was decided. We called on longtime amazing board member Don Magin (who is sadly leaving the board next year) and he awarded the money to Monty from Urban Botanica!
Congratulations Monty, we can’t wait to see what you and your fungi do to this town!
Thank you again to our other finalists as well for coming back for another round! Please keep us in the loop with your endeavors, and we’ll see you in 2022 for another Awesome Newcastle!