Getting involved by accident – volunteer of the month John Driscoll

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John Driscoll

You could say it was by accident John Driscoll, from Birthright Canterbury, got into volunteering.

An accident stopped John from farming and saw him join Ashburton Rotary which lead to his involvement with then-named Birthright Ashburton.

Ashburton Rotary started Birthright in Ashburton in 1946, to help war families with only one parent.

John, who is the Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury and the Hotel Ashburton Volunteer of the Month, went on to become the rotary representative at Birthright. He was appointed by then-president Dr Phil Godfrey.

Sixteen years later, John is still involved, he became branch president in 2014, and thoroughly enjoying every minute of his volunteering.

He says volunteering is about helping others and gives a sense of achievement, it helps him be positive and he likes giving his time.

His greatest achievement is securing the future of Birthright and helping it gain a new identity so it becomes an even better organisation.

After two years as the Rotary representative John joined the Birthright committee. With funding an ongoing issue, John discussed, at a national meeting, about Ashburton and Christchurch branches joining together.

especially beneficial for Ashburton to have help with funding. Once the amalgamation took place they formed new identity, Birthright Canterbury. In his time, John has served as a trustee of the Birthright Canterbury Charitable Trust.

The amalgamation has placed Birthright Canterbury in a better place with a committed group of locals supporting the work in Ashburton. It includes a social worker, family visitors (always in need of more), and those, like John, who work away in the background doing whatever come up whether its practical assistance like procuring firewood, assisting at the holiday programmes or supporting young people to attend the Birthright camps.

John is passionate about his volunteering with Birthright including some of the activities at Clearwater Resort, boating at Lake Hood and delivering goods to families.

Others within the organisation say if they need something done they ask John, whose practical skills, strategic thinking and sense of humour is greatly valued by them.

Another activity is helping to collect gifts from the Christmas Tree set up at Heartland Bank. John said the bank, and its predecessor, had generously hosted the Christmas tree allowing members of the community to leave so many wonderful gifts for Birthright families.

He says the goodwill to families is unreal.

  • Organisations and groups are encouraged to get nominations in for the Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury & the Hotel Ashburton Volunteer of the Month. Nomination forms are available by contacting Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury, Community House, 44 Cass Street Ashburton, ph 3081237 ext 240 or email volmidcant@nullgmail.com or pick up a copy at Four Square in Rakaia.