Pitch night gives community the power to fund health projects

Four organisations will pitch their projects to over 100 community members at Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network’s (HNECC PHN) first Pitch Night in Newcastle on Thursday.

The night is part of HNECC PHN’s Innov8 health development initiative that seed funds innovative local health projects.

HNECC PHN CEO, Richard Nankervis, said this round of funding focuses on health access or programs that assist the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people and communities.

He said while distributing grant funding isn’t new, giving a crowd of community members the opportunity to distribute funding across four grassroots organisations is an innovative concept.

“Our aim is to include the broader community in the decision-making process, lending itself to participatory budgeting; a democratic idea where stakeholders and the community are engaged to directly decide how and where to allocate funding”, Mr Nankervis said.

The four finalists include proposals addressing homelessness health access on the Central Coast and Newcastle (Orange Sky Australia), research and accessibility for a new model of treatment for children with cystic fibrosis (Hunter Rehabilitation and Health), a community-led youth mental health educational model (Upper Hunter Where there’s a Will) and an antenatal initiative for Aboriginal women in disadvantaged communities in North West NSW (Pius X Aboriginal Corporation).

Each organisation will have six minutes to pitch their innovative projects, followed by six minutes of questions from the audience.

Representatives from the region’s health, business, council, NGO, Indigenous and education community will be part of the audience to hear these stories.

Each audience members will have a funding envelope that they can then pledge to any of the projects, with the pledged totals tallied at the end of the night.

“It’s a bit like ‘shark tank’ but with less tension and more goodwill in the room”, Mr Nankervis said.