marcus westbury

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Renew Australia and The Crunch

October 13th, 2010 by marcus

DIY transforming a dying city from Marcus Westbury on Vimeo.

A big announcement today. Following on from the success of Renew Newcastle, the Victorian social enterprise seeding initiative Social Traders program “The Crunch” has just announced that over the next four or so months they will invest $10,000 and serious mentorship, Melbourne University Business School support and other assistance towards the establishment of Renew Australia.

At the end of that first stage of support Renew Australia will be one of 9 organisations with an opportunity to put in a bid for a share of ONE MILLION DOLLARS (that deserves all caps) in seed funding early in 2011. Renew Australia is aimed to be a national scheme based on the Renew Newcastle model – making the best possible uses of otherwise empty spaces by making them available to artists, creative projects and community groups.

I think it’s a great model and there’s much to figure out but it think the support over the coming months will go a long way towards doing that.

Unusually for projects of this type our application was allowed to come in pretty much any form so the video above was more or less our initial application – with a little section about finances and business models cut out. I think it shows something of what we’ve been doing and what we’re aiming to do from here.

You can read more about The Crunch at the project’s web site.

Even before it officially exists Renew Australia is already working with Renew Newcastle, Renew Townsville, Renew Adelaide and other groups in Lismore, Parramatta, Geelong and elsewhere. Frankly even before starting we’re snowed under with people wanting to work with us! We have had expressions of interest from places including Kettering, Nambour, Arilie Beach, the South Australian Riverland, Ispwich, Sawn Hill, Marysville, Launceston, The Gascoyne, Whyalla, Ceduna, the Latrobe Valley, Wagga Wagga, Port Pirie, Darwin, Geraldton, Canberra, Coffs Harbour, Gosford, Monbulk, Queenstown, Bathurst, Denmark (WA). Albany, Waaragul, Barcaldine, Redlands, Penrith, Griffith, Mildura, Bunbury, Batesman Bay, Nowa Nowa, Bermagui, Kalgoorlie, Biloela and Banana (which is apparently a place in Qld).

With any luck and with the support of The Crunch we will be in a position to start seriously supporting some of these places, projects and groups some time in 2011. Fingers crossed.

No dedicated web site yet but if you like the idea please Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 john walker Oct 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

    looking good

  • 2 David Cranswick Oct 14, 2010 at 11:12 am

    great initiative keep me posted please

  • 3 valerie farfalla Oct 15, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Renew Australia is a marvellous idea. It would be good to include social justice as well as creative/artistic goals and principles in the ‘community’ aspect by using some of the space for accommodation for homeless people.

  • 4 Margaret Henry Oct 15, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Congratulations Marcus – what a spin off ! Renew Australia !
    I passed on Renew Newcastle’s details to Phiip Matthews , NZ journalist from Christchurch experiencing similar problems post earthquake . What about Renew the World !
    Best wishes

    Margaret Henry

  • 5 marcus Oct 15, 2010 at 8:14 am

    @Valerie. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. While we do host community groups like a food coop and several not for profit projects the simple fact is that converting commercial properties for residential use is hideously expensive and frankly impossible to do on a temporary basis.

    Our scheme is a useful one with many benefits. it can and does solve *some* serious social, economic and cultural problems but it can’t change that one.

    @Magaret, thanks as always for your support!

  • […] week – last Friday to be precise – I started a new project, Renew Australia. Essentially, it’s a scheme aiming to take the model that we have developed in Newcastle and […]

  • 7 Tanya Lacy Oct 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Marcus, this is a fantastic use of creative innovation and problem solving, that has postive impact on creativem sector, enterprise and community. You are a shining example of social entrepreneurship. Now is the time to look at new models and you are doing just that, well done! Tanya Lacy

  • […] can find out more on Marcus’ blog site on the internets. LikeBe the first to like this […]