OPINION: “Giving a little time can bring benefits”

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Volunteering is immensely rewarding.

One of the most enjoyable jobs I have as our local MP is getting around and meeting volunteer groups in South Canterbury.

They do a fantastic job, providing services and support to people in our community, whether it be to the elderly, new mums, those grieving over losing a loved one, or someone new to our district.

It’s an unfortunate aspect of our society that people are living busier lives, and quite reasonably want to spend the free time they do have with family.

That makes it more difficult for some of our community groups to attract and retain volunteers.

So it was a real pleasure to mark International Volunteers Day on Tuesday this week, acknowledging the important role volunteers play in our society.

Unfortunately, with Parliament in session on Tuesday, I wasn’t able to mark the occasion with any of our local volunteer groups, but I was able to put in a few hours on Monday at one of our foodbanks, and then at the hospice shop in Ashburton.

Volunteering is immensely rewarding.

I spent five years volunteering for Community Patrols New Zealand, acting as eyes and ears for police, often under their instruction via radio.

Without exception, the people I met then and other volunteers I’ve met since have been some of the loveliest and friendliest people I’ve ever come across.

I’ve made lifelong friends out of volunteering and know the same is true for most people who give up a bit of their time each week or month.

If you’ve ever thought about giving volunteering a go, I strongly encourage you to dip a toe in the water.

It’s a great way to pick up new skills, learn about new cultures or the history of our district, or just meet new people.

There’s a huge range of groups in our community that would love to hear from you.

A great place to start is Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury.

It has 88 organisations on its database (but knowledge of many more) and can help connect you with something that suits your interests or skills.

You might just find you love it!

One of the other roles I have as MP for Rangitata is making recommendations about the appointment of JPs.

If you know of someone in the community you feel would be suitable, or if you want to know more about it, you can get in touch with my office in Stafford St.

 

Andrew Falloon is the MP for Rangitata