Photo of John Butterly, smiling, he is an older man with glasses, close cropped brown hair and is wearing a navy blue cardigan with red and light blue vertical stripes.We’re delighted to welcome John Butterly to the Learning Disability Wales team. We asked John to tell us about himself, and his role as Volunteer Coordinator for Gig Buddies Cymru.

I’ve recently joined the Gig Buddies Cymru team in North Wales as Volunteer Coordinator, working alongside Sian, our North Wales Project Coordinator. My post is funded thanks to our WCVA Volunteering Wales grant, which runs from October 2022 until September 2024.

As Volunteer Coordinator I’ll be finding new volunteers in North Wales and then supporting them on their exciting new journey with their Gig Buddy. I’ve had so much help and support from Danielle, Kai, Karen, Kylie and Sian already – they’ve made me feel very welcome on the Gig Buddies Cymru team and I’m going to learn such a lot from them. You can find out about the great work we are doing thanks to the WCVA Volunteering Wales grant here.

We are always looking for new Gig Buddy volunteers across Wales. Gig Buddies is a brilliant and really easy way to volunteer – you carry on going to the things you love, we just give you a new friend to go with. Gig Buddies do so many different things together – from attending sports matches, concerts and the theatre, to visiting castles, wild swimming, or just a simple, nice walk in the country. You can find out more about volunteering here.

My previous job was with WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action) where I was Performance Officer, managing a caseload of voluntary organisations across Wales who were delivering large scale, EU-funded projects. Before that I headed up the charity Gingerbread in North Wales to support single parents and their children. (Fact: Gingerbread was founded in 1918 – with a different name – to support over 5 million women whose partners had lost their lives in World War One. Despite rumours, I wasn’t one of the founders of Gingerbread.)

Now aged 66 I have 6 children and 7 grandchildren, so my hobbies are doing nothing and staring into space as much as possible. I walk our family dog Stan every day with my wonderful wife Babs. She often thinks I’m not listening to her as we walk, but of course I’m just practising my hobbies…