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Byron Shire
October 23, 2021

Byron loses youth training service

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Daniel, Takahn, Kailash and Selena prepare a dinner as part of their Links to Learning catering course. Photo Eve Jeffery
Daniel, Takahn, Kailash and Selena prepare a dinner as part of their Links to Learning catering course. Photo Eve Jeffery


Eve Jeffery

The Byron Youth Service (BYS) is about to lose ‘Links to Learning’, a valuable program which helps youth in the area.

Byron Links to Learning co-ordinator Karen Ford told The Echo, ‘Links to Learning helps re-engage young people in either education or employment training and has been running over eight years servicing in-school students and early school-leavers.’

Change in funding

‘There has been a change in the funding for next year and it’s now just solely for in-school students.

‘We had really good success with our early school- leavers.’

Director Jonathan Edwards says BYS has been closely involved with the community over 27 years.

‘Its work has particularly supported young people at risk or in crisis through the provision of healthy, alcohol- and drug-free activities and events.

‘Severe cuts in government funding, and future funding uncertainty, leave BYS increasingly reliant upon community support.’

The Department of Education has funded the Byron Youth Services for a number of years and says a new Links to Learning program would have a ‘different focus’.

Karen says that there is nothing to replace the lost program. ‘At this point there is nothing for those students at risk’, says Karen.

‘It’s a huge loss.’

Friends of BYS established

With severe cuts in government funding, and future funding uncertainty, BYS is increasingly becoming reliant upon community support.

As a result, a Friends of BYS register is being compiled.

Co-ordinator Stephanie Sims says, ‘People experienced in business might want to roll up their sleeves, get involved with the service and mentor identified projects. We are looking for social entrepreneurs who want to put a bit of effort in for youth, with a positive return to our community.

‘Funding has become tighter with the loss of two of our major funding contracts. If you are able to help us fund these costs, you are helping us to keep our service alive!’

To help, please email [email protected] or phone 6685 7777.

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