Man from Uncle cuts close bond

AFTER nearly four years at the helm of the Uncle Project, CEO Mark Gasson has resigned.

It is believed Mr Gasson's resignation has been underpinned by a difference of opinion about the direction and funding of the organisation.

The Uncle Project, which was initiated in Bryon Bay in 1997, provides a quality mentoring service for boys aged seven to 14 years of age, especially those who come from single-parent families.

It also provides a regular variety of adventures and activities, from tennis, skateboarding and fishing to board games and soccer, that allows groups of boys and male volunteers with the project to interact.

Yesterday, Byron Bay property developer John Callanan, a director of Uncle Byron Bay and an active participant and supporter of the Pathways to Manhood Foundation, as well as a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight, said Mr Gasson's departure from the Uncle Project was in amicable circumstances.

“We won't have details of (our plans) until a meeting (with Uncle supporters) next Wednesday,” he said.

“But we are rebuilding the Uncle Project to be even better than it already is.”

Mr Callanan said: “Mark's resignation has triggered support from the old guard to get involved again.

“We are bringing back the old fellows with a lot of wisdom and experience, who were there at the beginning, and broadening our outreach to young people.

“We are seeing a lot of boys with problems and we want to respond to that.”

Mr Callanan added that the time was right for a revamp and he was optimistic about the future direction of the organisation.

While the Uncle Project is funded by the local community, as well as local and national business sponsors, including Mr Callanan, it is believed funding had been a continuing source of pressure for Mr Gasson.

In fact, only this year he took to his motorbike for a fundraising ride around Australia.

Sponsored by Ducati, Mr Gasson rode from Western Australia to Byron Bay, connecting with other local community groups along the way.

The ride garnered widespread publicity.

A source, who did not wish to be named, said that since taking on the role of CEO of the Uncle Project Mr Gasson, who lives in Bangalow, had thrown his heart and soul into the local initiative and was extremely disappointed not to be going on with his role.

When contacted by The Northern Star, Mr Gasson declined to comment on the reasons behind his resignation.

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