An essential service that helps thousands of school leavers celebrate safely in Byron Bay is the Byron Schoolies Safety Response, headed by BUDDI youth worker Nicqui Yazdi.
With the yearly preparations underway for when schoolies arrive in a little more than two months, Yazdi is appealing for volunteers to step up and help make the event a safe and memorable one.
The HUB, located on Main Beach, will be open 24/7 for the duration of Schoolies from November 17 till December 4.
Yazdi says, ‘The aim is to find 100 local volunteers who would like to give some of their time to the HUB.’
‘As always, we aim to train new Schoolies HUB volunteers in first aid; however, this year the funding is extremely tight and as yet we have not received anywhere near enough funding to make training a reality.’
In the absence of enough funding, Yazdi is inviting local businesses to get behind the efforts of these volunteers and donate cash to assist with this initiative.
Volunteers moving out of Byron Bay
Yazdi says it’s been a challenge to recruit new people in recent times owing to many of the regular volunteers moving out of Byron Bay.
‘The high rents and unaffordable housing have pushed many volunteers out of town’, she says, and adds that she hopes volunteers car pool if they live outside the town.
Yazdi says, ‘We are looking for volunteers of all ages, but would like to encourage more young people between 18 and 24 to join us this year. It is a wonderful way to gain volunteering experience and BUDDI are launching a Youth Leadership Program, so young volunteers at schoolies will also be invited into this initiative.
‘Young people generally make good decisions, but for the inexperienced schoolies visitors, it can also be a time when they might get into trouble. The more volunteers we have, the safer these young people will be and also the less impact these celebrations will have on the local Byron community.’
The HUB is a large marquee that is placed in Beach Park for the duration of the school-leavers celebrations.
Services provided include games and activities, evening entertainment, a minor first aid station, a hydration station with free water, free sunblock and condoms, and of course lots of visitor information about Byron Bay.
GoByron will be introducing a series of small day-tours for the schoolies visitors this year and the Schoolies HUB volunteers will be encouraging these young visitors to take the time to head out and see some of the sights around the shire.
Anyone wishing to sign up to volunteer, donate funds or just wanting to learn more about the Byron Schoolies Safety Response and the Schoolies HUB can contact co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi on 0402 013 177 or email [email protected]