Beers and Ideas Round 7 Recap

The chilly wet weather didn’t dampen any spirits as we saw another warm crowd mill into Maddens Lawyers tonight for Beers and Ideas Round 7. Maddens very kindly hosted the evening, providing a toasty venue, tasty treats and drinks for us all.

Mairead from the Beers and Ideas team hosted the event and kicked off the evening by introducing a special guest, Josh from Fuck Up Nights (or FUN). Josh runs Fuck Up Nights in Melbourne, Sydney and Ballarat and when we invited him to Warrnambool to introduce the concept, he was very keen indeed. It’s a simple idea that happens all over the world where people come together to share their stories of failure, big and small. We love the concept – it aligns really well with what we believe at Beers and Ideas around building community through sharing – and with Josh’s help we hope to bring a FUN to Warrnambool very soon – stay tuned!

Our first presenter for the evening was Will Jane, who owns and runs Jane Dough bakery. Will talked about the diversity of wheat grains that can be used to make delicious, highly nutritious bread, that the majority of the white bread eating population would never have even heard of. Will’s idea was to attend an upcoming wheat event with his staff to learn more about using these grains – and in return, they would put their new knowledge into practice in their Warrnambool bakery and host a free event, sharing bread with the community. We love that Will’s idea nicely combines professional development for his employees and giving something to the community.

Next up were Adam Kent, James Mepham and Jan Mackenzie. Their passionate presentation highlighted the number of Veterans in Warrnambool who deal with mental health issues and post traumatic stress, and the fact that these people are not always the elderly Veterans we usually think of. Some of them are young people, some with young families who need support. Their idea was to hold a BBQ and activity day for these Veterans, that the whole community would be invited to. The aim of the event, which would be held during Veterans Mental Health Week in November, would be to increase support for and awareness of these members of our community; it would provide an opportunity for all of us to meet them and talk to them, with the hopes of reducing mental health stigma and the isolation they may be feeling.

Our third presenters were Emily Lee-Ack and Matt Neal. Emily spoke fondly of growing up in the golden years of the Warrnambool music scene – having a variety of venues to go to, big and small, seeing a range of local and visiting acts and the strong culture of people getting out and going to gigs. Emily and Matt’s idea was to hold a robust forum to discuss the future of music in Warrnambool. They would invite people from Music Victoria, Freeza, musicians, venue owners, festival founders and music lovers to get in a room and talk about their ideas and vision for all aspects of live music – how to encourage a culture of attending gigs, how to create diverse and innovative live music offerings and how to nurture local talent – a discussion that would aim help kick start a new golden age of live music in Warrnambool.

And finally Helen Sheedy from the Beers and Ideas team presented an idea on behalf of Judith and Susan from Tir na nOg. Judith and Susan felt a little too shy so we offered to present on their behalf. We always try to find a way to say yes at Beers and Ideas and working out a presentation solution is something we’re up for, because it means that a great idea can still be shared. Helen talked about a viral video that captured footage of a sidewalk hopscotch in New York. Surprisingly, people from all walks of life played hopscotch – men with briefcases, grandmothers, high-vis-clad workers, even a traveller with a briefcase, and all hopped off with a smile on their face and often a conversation with a stranger. Tri Na Nog, which means fountain of youth, want to replicate this simple idea in front of their Liebig Street salon, engaging local artist Nathan Pye to give it creative flair as a little gift to the community to celebrate their 20th business birthday.

It was yet another tough choice for voters, so it was no surprises that it was one of the closest results yet, with Adam, James and Jan’s Veteran and community day narrowly taking home the funding over Emily and Matt’s music forum idea, with just one vote difference. The idea received $630 funding from the audience, plus $500 in council funding. Congratulations and thank you to all of our presenters – we’re so grateful to you all for being brave and open enough to share your ideas. We hope that, with or without B+I funding, your ideas gain momentum from having them heard tonight.

Thank you again to our wonderful hosts, Maddens Lawyers for your generous hospitality. Thank you to the Beers and Ideas team for continuing to make these wonderful events happen, to Warrnambool City Council for their ongoing support and matched funding for the winning idea, and finally, to you all for coming along and bringing your lovely community spirit, as always.

We’ll see you again in November! If you have an idea you’d like to present at the next event, we’d love to hear it. Submit your idea here.

Sinead Murphy