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Big-hearted Michelle Boundy launches new Newcastle kindness initiative

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The founder of a new local community initiative is using her engagement party to bring together people who are passionate about Newcastle – and the world – being a kinder place.

The evening will double as a fundraising opportunity for charity, too.

Merewether resident Michelle Boundy has established Be Kind Newcastle.

At a red carpet event at The Newcastle Club, on Saturday 22 October, she’ll host The Elephant in the Room, a night to raise awareness about mental health and much-needed funds for Lifeline Hunter.

Anthony Foate, Tim Crakanthorp, Michelle Boundy and Rob Sams.

Ms Boundy was Newcastle’s community kindness champion for the Stay Kind Foundation for two years before it ceased operating in August.

However, she wanted to create a vehicle to continue promoting benevolence, with a focus on young people in Newcastle and the Hunter.

In 2020, she organised the 50 Walks Project and then the Bathers Way 50 Challenge for World Kindness Day where she walked 50km between Merewether Beach and King Edward Park.

Twelve months ago, the 50 Hearts Project displayed hearts at Merewether Beach with messages written by Novocastrians who undertake acts of kindness in their everyday life.

“I was devastated to hear Stay Kind had to close,” Ms Boundy said.

“But, I was equally determined to continue to run local projects that promote the power of kindness and how an act of kindness changes lives and our communities.

“I’ve been promoting my community projects through social media recently and how Newcastle is the kindest community in Australia.

“There are so many examples I have witnessed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through Be Kind Newcastle, we’ll undertake projects each year to make our communities kinder and reduce bullying, violence, self-harm and suicide among young Australians and the wider community.”

Ms Boundy hopes to work with other local charities and organisations as well.

Be Kind Newcastle is an enabling vehicle to kindness rather than a charity itself.

Each year Be Kind Newcastle will stage community events and raise funds for certain charities that are promoting kindness.

“Our projects will be unique, inclusive and about creating strong community connections,” she explained.

“Our first fundraising event is for Lifeline who are a great example of how kindness can change and, even, save lives.

“Lifeline volunteers – from its 13 11 14 crisis supporters to people working in its shops – kindly give up their time to listen to people and to offer them hope.”

Ms Boundy saw the chance to turn her engagement celebration with fiancé Anthony Foate into a way to demonstrate coming together to think of others.

She wants to invite up to 30 extra people who are passionate about making the region kinder and willing to support Be Kind Newcastle’s crusade.

“Being kind can be a lot of fun and is good for you, too,” she said.

“At the event we will have a band, great food and a silent auction run by auctioneer Craig ‘Rosie’ Rosevear.”

Speakers including Lifeline Hunter CEO Rob Sams and experts from NewPysch Psychology will join Ms Boundy on the lounge to shine a light on the current mental health crisis in our region.

They’ll also provide stories of hope, connection and on the services that are showing kindness and supporting community.

A public servant by day, Ms Boundy boasts 30 years’ experience working in human services, including in child protection, disability, drug and alcohol, mental health and work health and safety. 

She has developed and implemented two highly-successful and award-winning workplace wellbeing projects for the NSW and commonwealth governments.

Newcastle MP Tim Crackanthorp recognised her community work in parliament this year.

To find out more, visit www.bekindnewcastle.com.au

To join Ms Boundy at her Lifeline fundraising event, phone 0499 299 766 or to support her fundraising, go to www.bekindnewcastle.raisely.com

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