An extra $1.2 million in funding has been announced by the NSW Deputy Premier, The Hon. Paul Toole MP, to help transform the Old Byron Hospital into a hub for the community.
Byron Shire Council is managing the transformation of the former Byron Hospital and once complete will appoint not-for-profit Social Futures to manage a social impact community-based and for-purpose centre.
The funding announcement was made yesterday at Byron Hospital by The Hon. Mr Toole. He was accompanied by Byron resident and NSW Minister for the Arts and Regional Youth, The Hon. Ben Franklin, Council General Manager, Mark Arnold, along with Byron Mayor, Michael Lyon.
Also in attendance was Social Futures Chair, Pat Grier, Social Futures Chief Financial Officer Michael Carter and Chair of Byron Community Centre, Paul Jaimeson with advisory group member Katie Biggin, candidate for Ballina Josh Booyens and Councillors Peter Westheimer, Mark Swivel, Asren Pugh and Alan Hunter.
Social Futures CEO Tony Davies says, “This project is the result of significant community action. It led to NSW Health selling the site to the Council in 2019 to be used as a dedicated community space.
“This extra funding will go a long way towards bringing together community service providers, for-purpose organisations and businesses with a shared goal of supporting the Byron community to thrive,” Mr Davies said.
“Community needs are complex, and the Old Hospital site is positioned well to meet those needs. We hope to have a mix of business, community services, health, the arts and education.”
Social Futures had appointed a Community Advisory Group with 11 members that included Arakwal Traditional Custodians, people from the business community, the creative arts and Byron’s multicultural community.
“We had advertised for eight members for the advisory group, but the calibre of applications was so outstanding that we ended up with 11,” Mr Davies said. “They are a wonderful and wise cross-section of the Byron Bay community. We know their advice will be invaluable in setting up a dynamic community hub with a mix of community services, health, the arts and education, and for-purpose companies.
The advisory group also makes recommendations on site fit out and provides guidance distributing hub profits back into the community.
Social Futures has delivered services to the Northern Rivers region for more than 46 years. Their homelessness service, Connecting Home, is based in the town of Byron Bay.
Image: Pat Grier (Chair, Social Futures), Michael Lyons (Mayor, Byron Shire Council), The Hon. Paul Toole MP (NSW Deputy Premier), Josh Booyens (Candidate for Ballina), Ben Franklin, MLC (NSW Minister for the Arts and Youth).