UWA student Tess Mansfield has supported a valuable new initiative that helps older people living in regional towns stay connected to their local communities through an internship at the McCusker Centre for Citizenship.
Tess, who is studying a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Marketing and Finance, was drawn to the internship program through a desire to gain experience in an organisation that aims to improves the lives of other individuals.
Tess’s internship role saw her travel to the regional WA town of Pingelly to undertake a marketing and communications role for Pingelly’s ‘Staying in Place’ Virtual Lifestyle Village pilot program.
“This amazing pilot program focuses on keeping people in their home and their communities as they age. They are trying to gain awareness and inform people of what they are doing and how it will be greatly beneficial to people of the community,” said Tess.
Supported by the Pingelly Somerset Alliance and researchers at UWA’s Social Care and Ageing Living (SAGE) Lab, the Pingelly Virtual Lifestyle Village program is a ‘social ageing’ initiative that supports people living in Pingelly, Wandering, Wickepin, Popanyinning and Cuballing.
Tess says a highlight of the internship has been meeting people across Pingelly and surrounding towns.
“Everyone says people from country towns are the friendliest people and the people of these communities demonstrate this every day. I have been made to feel right at home here,” she said.
Tess says her conversations with people across the Pingelly community have “opened her eyes” to the importance of accessible aged care services for people living in country towns.
“Hearing people's stories about how their loved ones have had to move hours away because the town couldn't provide the assistance and care these people needed made me more motivated to try and help [this program] as much as I can. The benefits of this program for the communities are priceless” said Tess.
Tess says she was inspired by the staff working at the Pingelly Somerset Alliance and she hopes the marketing strategy she developed will help connect the community to the Pingelly Virtual Lifestyle Village program.
“As an organisation, we greatly value Tess' input and the benefits of the McCusker Internship Program,” said internship supervisor Helen Morton.
“Tess provided professional advice and practical assistance to brighten our early marketing materials, making them more vibrant and appealing. The templates she has left us for website, social media and newsletter options are already in use,” said Helen.
Tess recommends the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship to other students.
“[The internship] helps you to learn to stand on your own two feet. It gives you the confidence for when you leave university,” says Tess.