Young vollie opts to stay and serve

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.”

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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