Young vollie opts to stay and serve

Headshot of Sarah Ison
Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times
St John Ambulance volunteer Lucy Ecclestone.
Camera IconSt John Ambulance volunteer Lucy Ecclestone. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Migration of youth away from regional areas is one of the biggest challenges to volunteering across the State, but for 20-year-old Lucy Ecclestone, it is volunteering that keeps her in her home town.

Ms Ecclestone joined Dunsborough’s St John Ambulance in February after some encouragement from a fellow volunteer.

She said volunteering as an ambulance officer could be more challenging in the region than in the city, as there was a good chance there would be someone she knew when going to jobs.

“When I’m having coffee with friends and get called to a job, they always say ‘I don’t know how you do it’,” she said. “It’s just natural for me at the moment.”

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Research released by the Bankwest Curtin Business School reveals migration of young people for schooling and training was one of the biggest risks facing a sustained supply of volunteers.

Ms Ecclestone opted to study online after high school because of a reluctance to leave her unit.

“The main reason I haven’t moved up to Perth to study is because of volunteering,” she said. “I have made lifelong friendships, people I can’t live without, and I don’t want to give it up”. Ms Ecclestone said she thought recruiting and retaining young volunteers, especially in regional areas, was a problem.

“People definitely have other life commitments, and I would consider Dunsborough a young family and retirement town, so it’s definitely a problem here,” she said.

Seven West Media will tell more stories of volunteers in the coming weeks. To find out more and register your interest, visit thewest.com.au/stepupwa.

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