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South West volunteer in the spotlight for National Volunteer Week

Claudette RizziSouth Western Times
Red Cross volunteer Mary Elton receives a commendation for her service  in April, from Australian Red Cross Divisional Advisory Board chair Steve Joske and board member Diane Buckles.
Camera IconRed Cross volunteer Mary Elton receives a commendation for her service in April, from Australian Red Cross Divisional Advisory Board chair Steve Joske and board member Diane Buckles. Credit: supplied

As a challenging cost-of-living crisis bites, volunteers are vital in supporting communities and National Volunteer Week is set to recognise this.

One of those South West volunteers making a difference is Mary Elton, who has volunteered for most of her adult life, connecting with the community while raising children.

A retired teacher, she has served with the Australian Red Cross for the past 14 years and received a commendation for her service last month.

“Just going into the schools and seeing what’s happening in education, being part of that community and still being able to work with children and teachers has been great”, Mrs Elton, of Busselton, said.

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“The friendships that you make through the volunteer organisations, the challenge of helping children impacted and the training that you get is great.

“If you find what you’re passionate about or interested in, there’s usually an area that you can become involved in with like-minded people.

“I think you also get to know your community a lot better and to know what issues are in the community to make better connections and life-long friends.”

A new report from Volunteering Australia reveals formal volunteer numbers have gradually declined in the past decade.

Volunteering WA chief executive Tina Williams said this year’s National Volunteer Week theme Something for Everyone highlighted the diversity and importance of volunteering opportunities available.

“There really is a volunteer role for everyone, and getting involved can be as simple as sharing your expertise and interests, drawing on lived experiences to support others, and helping out friends and neighbours,” she said.

“We must do everything we can to recognise our volunteers and inspire more Western Australians to get involved.”

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