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New Byron Bay community hub group meets for the first time

Written byChristine Tondorf
Published on22 Dec, 2021
Byron Bay Community Advisory Group For New Hub

RELEASED: December 22, 2021

A film festival director, an educator and the president of the Byron Bay Community Association are all on a new advisory group helping to turn the Old Byron Hospital site into a vibrant community hub.

diverse group of eleven, which met for the first time this month, is working with the not-for-profit organisation Social Futures to shape the new community hub planned for the old Byron hospital site.

The new community hub is expected to house a mix of business, community services, health, the arts and education

The role of the community advisory group is to look at unmet needs in Byron Bay; investigate ideal services to be based in the hub; make recommendations on the building fit out; and consider how any hub profits can be given back to community groups and projects.

Advisory group member Paul Jameson, who is also president of the Byron Bay Community Association, said Byron Bay was going through a time of change and more community services were definitely needed in the town’s centre.

“The hub will be in a central Byron location so it’s the perfect place to find ways for services to collaborate and deliver what the Byron community needs” he said.

“I am also excited by the potential to see any profits the hub generates turned into a revenue stream to benefit our local community.”

Group member J’aimee Skippon-Volke, who is the director of the Byron Bay International Film Festival, said she would love to see a transition to a healing space, and one that integrates emerging technology initiatives in the hub.

“This is a brilliant opportunity to set up a centrally based hub that can house a plethora of services and more creative ventures that should include emerging technologies,” she said.

Another group member is Katie Biggin, previously the Deputy Principal at Cape Byron Steiner School.

Ms Biggin hopes the hub will have lots to offer young people in the 18 to 25 age bracket.

“I definitely want the hub to have services and opportunities that enrich the lives of our young people,” she said. “It must be an inclusive space, where everyone feels welcome”

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said the new community advisory group had 11 members and 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,”he 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.

“We look forward to working closely with our community advisory group.”

Byron Bay Council purchased the Old Byron Bay Hospital site from the NSW Government for a dollar in 2019, with the view to turning it into a community hub that will house the social, cultural and educational services needed for the centre of Byron Bay.

Council appointed Social Futures to manage the new community hub in June.