The Schoolies Hub has reduced alcohol-related violence during the annual influx of school leavers to Byron.
The Schoolies Hub has reduced alcohol-related violence during the annual influx of school leavers to Byron. The Northern Star Archives

Schoolies looms but council still to say if it will help hub

WITH school leavers set to descend on Byron Bay for the annual schoolies festivities, Byron Shire Council is considering helping fund the volunteer-run Schoolies Hub in the park at Main Beach.

The Hub is a large marquee that will be erected in the park and will remain in place for the duration of the event from November 21 to December 8.

SCHOOLIES SAFETY: Nicqui Yazdi and Byron Bay mayor Simon Richardson.
SCHOOLIES SAFETY: Nicqui Yazdi and Byron Bay mayor Simon Richardson. Christian Morrow

The Hub has provided a focal point for schoolies for the past five years but organisers have struggled to secure ongoing funding.

In a bid to ensure the Hub's survival, Mayor Simon Richardson has indicated that, at the next council meeting, he will call for development application fees and temporary licence fees to be waived this year.

Council's manager of Community Development Greg Ironfield has recommended that the council also provide $3500 in financial assistance to the Hub, indicating that the funds could be included in the council's budget on an annual basis.

Byron Schoolies Safety Response and Schoolies Hub co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi said the facility has a crucial role to play.

"This is an important initiative that helps to make the community of Byron a safer place and we would like to encourage every-one to be part of it in some way," she said.

"The Hub volunteers work around the clock in four-hour shifts providing visitor information, health information, condoms, first aid, water and what-ever else assistance they can be to these young visitors."

Ms Yazdi said the volunteer group has a target budget of $24,000 and was asking for financial contributions as well as goods such as hardware items and basic first aid supplies to help keep the Hub going.

Ms Yazdi said they were also seeking volunteers to help man the Hub.

"(The Hub) is urgently seeking volunteers with less than a month left to go until the Schoolies arrive," she said.

In previous years, funding has allowed the Hub to train volunteers in Apply First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid. How-ever, the funding shortfall this year means that has not happened.

In the past five years, more than 100 volunteers have been trained in each of these courses and Ms Yadzi said she hoped many of these trained volunteers would return this year.