Dumfries Can Doers to help the environment

Pupils from Dumfries High School have used their literacy skills to help the local environment as part of our Can Do volunteering programme.

The school’s National 4 English class undertook a study of the local environment, deploying their literacy skills to understand how best to protect the natural habitat in Dumfries and the River Nith.

Working with the WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, a local wildlife reserve home to migratory birds such as Barnacle Geese, the students were able to put their skills to good use by learning how to build and maintain bird boxes.

The pupils then built their very own bird boxes for around the grounds of Dumfries High School.

The students also undertook a study of the life cycle of salmon on the River Nith.

Pupils were able to use their English skills in a practical and applied way, writing reports of their studies whilst developing transferable skills which will help them prepare for the world of work after leaving school.

Volunteer Hailie said:

‘I thought the project was great fun and really exciting. I would recommend it to others, but I’d warn against wearing white clothes if visiting the Wetlands Centre!’

Leonard Cheshire’s ‘Can Do’ programme supports 16-35 year olds with additional support needs to develop new skills and gain qualifications through training and volunteering in their community.

The programme was launched in Dumfries last year and is experiencing huge growth across Scotland.

For their endeavours, the pupils from Dumfries High School were awarded City of Guild Awards and a John Muir Discovery Award.

The volunteers were presented with their awards by Elaine Murray, Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Councillor Murray said:

‘The Can Do programme demonstrates that disability need not be a barrier to volunteering.

‘The Can Do volunteers make a valuable contribution to the lives of the people that they help, and while doing so develop skills and discover abilities which they may not have realised they possessed.

‘They are great role models for everyone.’

The new and existing Can Do projects in Scotland are possible thanks to funding from Howdens Joinery, the charity's partner.

Media enquiries

Can Do, Leonard Cheshire’s volunteering programme is led for and by young people aged 16 — 35.

Impact of Can Do:

A recent evaluation of the Can Do project found that: 94% of Can Doers gained skills to help in their future

  • 68% of Can Doers are keen to take up further volunteering, training &/or employment
  • 87% of Can Doers confidence has improved
  • 100% community organisations felt more confident working with disabled people

Howdens Joinery is the UK's largest manufacturer and supplier of fitted kitchens, appliances and joinery products from local stock.