UK skills, confidence and employment

What we said

  • grow and diversify our life and work skills programmes to deliver sustainable projects — for example, our Can Do volunteering programme to support young disabled people in more areas across the UK
  • develop new programmes — for example, our mentoring programme for young people in mainstream education to support them on their journey to employment
  • ensure all life and work skills programmes help create more choice for the individual

What we did

Person who uses our services using an accessible computerThis year, we reached more than 4,600 people through our UK support programmes.

We have expanded our Can Do programme into four new areas and supported 2,155 young disabled people to volunteer in their community.

We grew our employment support across London through the delivery of contracts subcontracted from Groundwork, providing in-work support, and piloted a new approach with Tomorrow’s People, supporting young disabled people in east London to progress into employment.

Our internship programme, Change100, grew strongly with record applications and placements. 70 students and graduates completed internships in summer 2016 and 126 have been successfully placed with employers for the coming summer. We are also working with the innovative social enterprise Talentino! to pilot a careers development programme.

Careers at Every Level’ is being piloted in five specialist schools in Manchester and the north east, with the aim of rolling out a comprehensive and flexible career development approach.

Our information and advice services support disabled people to make informed choices by working collaboratively through issues they face.

During 2016/17, we invested in the development of several new programmes which focus on supporting disabled young people towards gaining and sustaining employment, including the provision of specialist careers advice, skills development training and support and brokering work experience placements.

All our programmes are personalised and our staff work alongside disabled people to support them to make choices which are right for them.

Matthew's story

Matthews son

We are driven by an ambition to deliver positive outcomes for individual people with disabilities.

We recognise that our impact is increased when we work effectively in partnership with other organisations.

We partner with the Bank Workers Charity (BWC) to improve the lives of current and former bank workers by providing information and guidance, as well as helping them access financial support. The BWC funded the service we delivered to Matthew.

Matthew and his wife suspected their five-year-old son had autism due to his behavioural difficulties, but encountered obstacles time and again as they pushed health services for an assessment.

'The whole process to get an assessment for our son was so frustrating, but the advice from Leonard Cheshire was fundamental in seeing us through.

‘When our son was diagnosed with autism, it was a great relief, as we could finally access the support that he needs at school through an approved education, health and care plan.

‘The information Leonard Cheshire provided really helped us during this process.

‘Overall the support from Leonard Cheshire was invaluable. The information and advice was great but even more importantly, the personal support and the fact that they really do listen, helped us to get through it all. Without them, I don’t think we would have made it this far.'

— Matthew

Frances’s story

Can Do offers opportunities for 10- to 35-year-old disabled people to volunteer in their community, in 18 locations in England, Scotland and Wales. The programme helps people develop new skills by building self confidence and independence.

Participants meet new people and become more socially active in their communities. Since 2008, Can Do has supported over 9,400 young disabled people, including people like Frances.

Can Do volunteer Frances

Frances is 29 and lives at home with her parents in Oxfordshire. Her mum is her carer and supports her day-to-day living.

After finding out about Can Do, Frances has worked with a group to redecorate the club house for a charity called Let’s Play which provides day care for disabled children. She also fundraised by taking part in activities including a cake sale and a sponsored cycle ride.

Her confidence increased and at a steering group meeting Frances volunteered to chair the next Can Do event. This would have been unthinkable for Frances before she took part in the programme.

‘I get lots of love and support from my parents, but I would like to start doing more things for myself and Can Do has helped me to do this.

‘I really like to help others and to get involved with my community. One day I would like to become a chef.

‘It is my dream to have a café or restaurant that employs and provides a service for other disabled people.’

— Frances

‘Frances also likes to keep fit. She has started trampolining as physical therapy.

‘As she improved, she gained confidence to do more and in the last six months has taken part in two competitions with other athletes from the trampolining club.’

— France's mum