Schoolies Hub head trying to close gap after Feds cut funds

EVEN though Schoolies is more than three months away, Byron Schoolies Safety Response and Schoolies Hub co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi is already out drumming up support from local businesses and appealing for volunteers.

Ms Yazdi said that under the current Federal Budget, the hub would lose about $10,000 in funding, so she was getting in early to make up for the shortfall.

Each year about 10,000 Schoolies descend on Byron Bay to celebrate the end of their school life.

The Schoolies Hub runs 24 hours a day from November 21 until December 8 and is staffed by volunteers working in four-hour shifts.

The hub staff deliver a strong safety message to the Schoolies, as well as offering free water, condoms and sunscreen out of a huge marquee set up every year at Main Beach Park. They also host DJ sessions.

"Schoolies are a mixed crowd of under- and over-18s, and we give them a safe, alcohol-free environment to enjoy this important rite of passage," Ms Yazdi said.

"The Schoolies are the youngest of our tourists and it really is in our interest to keep them safe while they are having fun here in Byron.

"We need support from food, alcohol and accommodation businesses that really do stand to gain most from Schoolies Week."

Byron councillor Paul Spooner said the council would again support the hub, and particularly encouraged accommodation providers to contribute.

To offer support or to volunteer phone Nicqui on 0402 013 177.



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