The annual celebration for school leavers is expected to see 10,000 young people visit Byron Shire during the 18-day period, which kicks off on November 19.
The annual celebration for school leavers is expected to see 10,000 young people visit Byron Shire during the 18-day period, which kicks off on November 19. AAP

Byron prepares for schoolies surge

IT IS now less than two weeks until the average age of people in Byron Bay drops considerably, as the class of 2010 descends on the town for schoolies.

The annual celebration for school leavers is expected to see 10,000 young people visit Byron Shire during the 18-day period, which kicks off on November 19.

Preparations are well under way for the expected crowds, in recognition of Byron's increasing popularity as a schoolies destination.

“Byron is now the number two schoolies destination in Australia (behind the Gold Coast),” Schoolies HUB co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi said.

So it's good news that the Byron Schoolies Safety Response, initiated to manage the deluge of teens, has received some much-needed help for this year's party.

The Byron Youth Service (BYS) and Byron Underage Drinking and Drug Initiative (BUDDI ) have received a grant from the NRMA to run a safety campaign during schoolies.

‘Summer Safety in the Bay' is designed to help schoolies have a fun and, more importantly, safe time with their mates.

“(The campaign) is a crime prevention strategy, designed to minimise harm to young people during peak holiday times and to assist to protect the local community,” Ms Yazdi said.

As part of the campaign, the expected 100 residents who will double as volunteers during schoolies will sport bright blue T-shirts so schoolies can identify help and information easily.

Ms Yazdi said although the majority of volunteers had signed on, she was keen to hear from other residents willing to do a shift at the HUB during schoolies. Those who do may be entitled to receive free first-aid training as part of volunteering.

Ms Yazdi said potentialvolunteers could register to be involved at the Byron Youth Activities Centre.

The Schoolies HUB and its volunteer army will be based at Main Beach Park, with members of the Red Frogs chaplaincy group and Youth With a Mission also on hand.

The HUB will be staffed for 24 hours a day during school-ies. The HUB will be also home to literally a semi-trailer of entertainment, with the NRMA providing a mobile gaming area as part of its pitch to young drivers.

For more information contact Schoolies HUB co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi on 0402013177; or email byronschooliessafetyresponse@yahoo.com.au.



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