The schoolies HUB goes up in Main Beach Park on Friday, in preparation for the estimated 8–10,000 school leavers who will be arriving in Byron Bay over the next few weeks to celebrate the end of Year 12.
These young visitors will have access to the HUB 24 hours a day for 18 days from this Friday 18 November through to 5 December. The HUB will be run by more than 100 dedicated local volunteers in 4-hour shifts. The schoolies will be able to access water, first aid, tourist information and smiling locals to help them with anything they may need to help them enjoy their time in Byron Bay.
Late each afternoon Project U-Turn will be at the HUB conducting Blow Zero Competitions, a tactic used to delay drinking alcohol until later in the evenings.
Schoolies doing the Blow Zero Comps must blow a zero alcohol reading for a number of days in a row, in order to receive a souvenir T-shirt.
In the evenings the HUB volunteers will be joined by the Red Frogs, who will have come from all around Australia to assist during this busy time. The Red Frogs will be cooking pancakes and chai from the HUB each night, as well as providing some music and entertainment in the park. The Red Frogs are the main volunteer organisation across Australia for schoolies celebrations, providing a number of services including an Australia-wide 24 hour schoolies hotline, walk-home service, room clean-ups, first aid and many other ways in which they serve the schoolies.
All in all, between the locals and the Red Frogs, there will be around 300 volunteers assisting the Byron Schoolies Safety Response.
The police will have a high presence in Byron for the duration, including a command centre situated in the park, mounted police on horses, a number of police dogs and a special combined initiative where they will be targeting fake IDs and underaged drinking with the Office for Liquor Gaming and Racing.
The Holiday Letting Organisation of Byron have a 24-hour Noisy Neighbour Hotline to assist the local community with unacceptable behaviour. By calling 6626 6888 at any time throughout the year, you get immediate action through a private security company, which refers to the police in certain circumstances. Identity of callers to the hotline is kept strictly confidential.
Byron Shire Council, besides providing the HUB marquee, will also be putting on extra surf patrols, rubbish removal, public amenities, beach and park clean-ups.
This year, the Byron Schoolies Safety Response have managed to train around half of the local HUB volunteers in either Youth Mental Health First Aid or Apply First Aid, which means that any crisis situation that the volunteers come across should be able to be handled confidently by those that have received this important training.
HUB coordinator Nicqui Yazdi said she had been ‘overwhelmed by the positive response from the local community in offering assistance for the HUB this year. We are ready to make sure that the schoolies coming to Byron respect our lovely town and enjoy their holiday here as safely as possible. Many local organisations and businesses have also chipped in with donations of money, goods and services, to make this a really good response this year.’
For information about the HUB contact Nicqui Yazdi on 0402 013 177 or email [email protected].