Australia coaxes Bolton family away from UK gloom.
With the UK’s economy on a slippery slope, the prospect of a new life abroad has for many people moved from dream to reality. For Lee Ascroft - a senior contracts manager from Bolton - and his wife Charlotte, moving overseas offered a much brighter outlook.
The couple, along with their three children, Harry, Henry and Emily, left their Bolton home to start a new life in Perth, Western Australia.
“It was a lifestyle choice,” said Lee. “We were unhappy with England and have been thinking of moving abroad for a few years. It seemed like a good time to take the jump – the migration cut-off age was 45 and the children were at an appropriate age to move with their schooling. It was a case of now or never!”
Lee and Charlotte considered a number of countries in their search for the perfect location – New Zealand, Canada, USA and Spain all came up against Australia but the lure of the laid-back Aussie lifestyle was too much to resist.
“Australia and England share a similar culture so that helped in our decision. Religions also follow suit; as Jehovah’s Witnesses we will be able to meet people at the local congregation, which will make it easier to settle in to the new community.”
After attending an expo in Leeds, Lee and Charlotte began planning their dream move. “The relocation information provided was very helpful in preparing us. We sat through presentations for a number of different Australian locations but immediately Perth was our preference,” Lee added.
The next step in the process was for Lee to find a job in Australia – this would determine where the family would settle. Lee sent out 27 emails to firms in his line of work and the following day had received three positive responses. This progressed to a telephone interview with one Perth-based company and Lee was delighted to be offered a job.
The family took a trip to Perth to get to grips with the local area. “Perth had a big impact on us when we visited; it’s a clean city and everyone was very friendly. What appealed the most was the Australian ethos - ‘work to live’ not ‘live to work’ like it is in England. They appreciate the value of enjoying their lives and that is important to us.
“The visit cemented our decision – Perth is definitely the place we want to live, so we began putting the plans into place.”
The couple chose to hire the help of a relocation company, which would give them some expert advice and get their household possessions packed and shipped. “We approached four relocation companies and although some of them lacked the enthusiasm we felt we needed, Crown Relocations gave us a great deal of confidence.
“Since then, Crown has impressed us no end. Our representative has been truly fantastic – she was very thorough and responsive, giving us lots of advice and sending us all the necessary information.
“We felt Crown paid attention to our needs – they gave clear and detailed advice that put us at ease. They provided us with an information pack, which included pointers on all the things you need to know and how to prepare for a move overseas. It even gave us details about cultural issues and how to help the children cope with moving and dealing with their emotions. It was tremendously helpful.”
Crown Relocations packed up the family’s belongings, including woodwork items that Lee and the two boys had produced, to ship them over to Perth. As Lee worked from home, Crown had to pack up around him: “The staff were great about having to work around me and I didn’t feel disturbed by them at all. They even set up a bed in the back room when we had a sick child!”
The family is in the throws of organising new schools and there are plenty of primary and secondary schools to choose from in Perth. Meanwhile, Harry - who has been studying at college - is tempted by the apprenticeship opportunities available for trade workers in Australia.
The Ascroft’s will initially be renting a house in Perth, with a view to buying after 12 months or so. They are renting out their Bolton property, having secured a two year rental, but will eventually sell-up to fund the purchase of a new home in Perth.
“The whole process has been remarkably smooth. We expected there to be a few hiccups but there really hasn’t been that many and certainly nothing of note.”
“We are now just really keen to settle into our new lives abroad. The two boys were very excited about moving to Australia, especially as they are quite active, and have been even more so since we’ve arrived. I have to admit Emily wasn’t so keen in the beginning. In fact, she was adamant that she didn’t want to go, but now she is thoroughly enjoying it!”
For other families considering a life-changing relocation, Lee has the following advice: “Do your research and explore every avenue for house/job searches etc, don’t be put off if you get any negative responses as there is always a way. Remain focused on the end result and what you hope to achieve and that will get you through the process!”
Read more stories