Small Australian communities dig deepest

PEOPLE in farming families and small towns have a greater sense of connectedness to their local community, an Australian Bureau of Statistics report shows.

Released earlier this week, Australian Farming and Farmers shows 39 per cent of farming families volunteer, compared with 19 per cent of the general population.

The rate is also higher for those who live in communities of fewer than 1000 people.

Twenty seven per cent of people volunteer in small towns, compared with 17 per cent of those who live in cities larger than one million.

The report partly attributed the high rate of volunteering in smaller communities to the amount of essential services which rely on volunteers, such as fire fighting. 

Elmore resident Michelle Jeanes said there was a noticeable change in the amount of volunteering done in Elmore compared to when she lived in the city.

Ms Jeanes has volunteered at the Elmore Field Days, organised the Elmore seasonal home-made markets and is planning to help out at the Elmore swimming pool.

“Everything that happens around Elmore is run by volunteers,” Ms Jeanes said.

“I’m an ex-city girl and we don’t do this in the city. 

“You hear about how things are in the bush, but when you come here and you live it, you see how different it really is.”

Elmore local and long-time volunteer Rosemary Crisp agreed.

“Elmore’s got a wonderful band of volunteers,” she said. 

“I would say half the town volunteers in some form or another.

Mrs Crisp said volunteering brought people together and forged a stronger and more connected community.

“There’s a couple who have moved from Sydney who have only been here six months and they have already put names down to volunteer at the kiosk at the local pool,” she said.

“It’s just like that in this town.”

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