City of Newcastle delivers million-dollar investment to support innovative local business projects

18 Aug 2023

City of Newcastle (CN) has opened applications for its City Centre and Darby Street Special Business Rates (SBR) program, with $900,000 in funding available for projects designed to promote, beautify and develop the precinct.

The opening of the City Centre/ Darby Street program follows the recent awarding of $150,000 in funding for seven projects in the Hamilton, New Lambton and Wallsend precincts, with successful projects ranging from a street art festival to an op-shop trail.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the SBR program provided invaluable support for City Centre and suburban business precincts, with economic outcomes that flowed through to the wider Newcastle area.

“SBR initiatives such as West Best Bloc Fest, which will see 80 local music artists perform in venues across the city, and the Small Walls beautification project, are proven to not only attract an influx of visitors but also drive new and expanded economic opportunities for our local hospitality venues, arts and cultural sector," Cr Nelmes said.

"We're looking forward to seeing what creative applications come through from this next City Centre and Darby Street SBR round and also congratulate the successful applicants from Hamilton, New Lambton and Wallsend, as we continue to create vibrant, activated spaces for the community and visitors to enjoy."

SBR recipient and Newcastle Pride president Lee-Anne McDougall said the funding will help deliver a diverse range of LGBTIQ+ free and ticketed events throughout Hamilton during the Newcastle Pride Festival in October.

"We've developed a program of LGBTIQ+ community events aimed to delight and entertain the Hamilton community and visitors with 'Roving Real Queens of Hamilton’, drag bingo, a dance party and much more thanks to SBR support," Ms McDougall said.

Councillor Carol Duncan said initiatives like the SBR program provide a great way to involve local businesses and the community in the development and promotion of their own business precincts.

"The SBR suburban program will this year support seven truly innovative projects, which I can't wait to see come to life in Hamilton, New Lambton and Wallsend," Cr Duncan said.

"Beaumont Street is set to come alive in October with LGBTIQ+ community events delivered by Newcastle Pride, bringing visitors to the area and building on the recent success of the Hamilton Night Noodle Markets."

Expressions of interest for the City Centre and Darby Street SBR funding round close on Friday 15 September.

For more information about the Special Business Rate program visit City of Newcastle website.

Hamilton SBR projects:

  • Newcastle Fringe 2024
    The project will build on the Fringe Festival's existing presence on Beaumont Street by expanding the number of shows with more family-friendly events and micro-performances in local businesses.
  • Newcastle Pride Festival 2023 – Hamilton
    Newcastle Pride has developed a diverse range of free and ticketed events to be delivered throughout Hamilton during the Newcastle Pride Festival in October. The project incorporates daytime and evening events for all ages, including ‘Roving Real Queens of Hamilton’, drag bingo, cocktails and a dance party.

New Lambton SBR projects:

  • Little Festival New Lambton
    A whimsical street art festival walking trail featuring live street art painting on temporary and permanent structures, miniature installations, sculptures, stencils, chalk artworks, paste ups, yarn bombs, repurposed found objects, workshops, pop-up exhibitions and activations throughout the business precinct.
  • Joan's Inner Power Creative Program
    A four-day cultural and creative program set to activate the New Lambton precinct during New Annual festival. With a focus on the voices of women and gender diverse artists, this program will connect communities, celebrate stories and inspire social change through art and creative dialogue.

Wallsend SBR projects:

  • Wallsend Op Shop Trail
    In collaboration with Wallsend Town Business Association, Samaritans, and the other four op shops on Nelson Street, the Wallsend Op Shop Trail is designed to encourage visitors to visit Wallsend on weekends.
  • Streets Alive Wallsend!
    A series of all-inclusive two-hour pop-up events will be held in the Wallsend business precinct, providing entertainment and activities that encourage the local community and visitors to inhabit their public spaces with a sense of play, wonder and connection.
  • Up&Up Inspirations ArtScape Community Festival
    UP&UP Inspirations will transform Wallsend Skate Park into a vibrant hub of creativity, catering to youth and families, featuring street art workshops, DJs, live music performances, and live street art painting exhibitions.