Byron tucks in at free feast
IT'S not often you can get a free feed, entertainment and a bit of a boogie all in the one afternoon. But that's exactly what Lucy Oliver, Brendan Ford and a hundred or so others got at Byron Bay on Saturday. The Byron Neighbourhood Resource Centre group held a Beggars Banquet at Railway Park, a community event aimed at raising awareness about the Shire's 100 or so homeless people, and bringing the community together for a pre-Christmas treat. "It's awesome, you can have a great afternoon and you don't even need money," Lucy, of Byron Bay, said. "Money can be very limiting at times." Lucy and her mate Brendan shared in a feast of meats, pastas, fruit and cake before relaxing in the park to the sounds of live music and contented chatter. Many people got up for a dance, while kids played on the swings and climbed a nearby tree. There was also a large crate where people could make donations of food for the homeless. The aim of the banquet was to raise public awareness to the plight of the less fortunate people in the Byron Shire, in a bid to establish facilities for improving their wellbeing. It is also hoped the event will help push forward plans for an ongoing community resource centre. Byron Shire councillor John Lazarus, who is involved in the Byron Neighbourhood Resource Centre group, said the event was about community involvement. "It's about us standing up and saying, 'We want to be involved in this place'," he said. "It's about people saying social development and social justice are important ... and focusing on homeless issues and helping those who are in need, not just hiding behind our garden fences." He said it was the second year the Beggars Banquet had been held at Byron Bay.