As a huge supporter of the work of the Schoolies Safety Working Group and volunteer every year at the HUB, it was a difficult decision to transfer some funds from this years Schoolies to help develop a cultural and creative response to NYE and the Summer holiday period. However, with the challenges of a clear financial reality comes the opportunity for individuals within our community to re-engage with our community. As difficult as it is to face, the community broadly has to begin to step up to the plate. There is a great tradition of council, per capita, outspending every local govt in NSW on social services and a great tradition of some businesses and individuals committing enormous energy to help our community and visitors. Nicqui Yazdi, the 100 or so volunteers at the HUB and supportive businesses fit this bill. However, we have to move past the history of council and a small group of great people trying to move mountains.  With our financial position being what it is, the well of giving must be deepened. On one hand, it is a sad, unfortunate and frustrating fact. But on another hand, it generates tremendous opportunity for community momentum. The residents of Federal are a great example. Given 9 or so months to raise over $200,000 to buy a beloved church, initially Council was asked how much it could pay. However, as the community created a focus and began to generate funds and a sense of ownership, Council was rarely mentioned again and $220,000 was raised. And a community was more united and proud than perhaps ever. It should be remembered that Council is still allocating  just over $20,000, more than the entire budget of our youth council, who work on employment, safety, transport and creative issues of Byron Shire’s young residents. If every business that uses the hub to promote themselves through brochures on the tables, and posters on the walls each put in $100-200 we have basically covered the shortfall. The community, collectively, positively and energetically, can make the HUB viable and continue its awesome ability to look after the kids who come to our area and our locals who get swept up in the energy and excitement. I note that within minutes of posting a Facebook comment similar to this, two pledges of $100 have already been made- who’s next?

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