John Lewis Partnership says ‘Can Do’ to support more young disabled people in Birmingham

More young disabled people in Birmingham are to benefit from life changing activities, thanks to funding from the John Lewis Partnership Community Investment Fund.

A young man in sports clothes hugs teammate

The John Lewis Partnership is supporting leading UK disability charity Leonard Cheshire with its Can Do skills development programme

People who take part in Can Do are supported to build their confidence and offered opportunities to learn new skills or build on existing ones. Ultimately, this can lead to employment or volunteering roles that previously seemed out of reach. In the last year, Can Do supported more than 150 young people in Birmingham in this way.

Homeless people and others in the Birmingham City Council area will also benefit from the community projects taken on by the new Can Do participants.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have the support of the John Lewis Partnership,” commented Pete Donnelly, Can Do Programme Manager at Leonard Cheshire.

“We first ran the programme in the Birmingham area in 2014. Since then, we have been able to offer young disabled people a diverse range of work, skills and community experiences. This can be life changing and wouldn’t have been possible without Can Do. Being able to extend these opportunities to more young people with this vital funding is wonderful.”  

“Social isolation can be a real issue for young disabled people. Our programme makes all the difference in tackling that. We see people’s confidence transformed as individuals become more independent.”

After a difficult year for fundraising by charities, the John Lewis Partnership grant will mean a further 66 young disabled people can be supported in Birmingham by Leonard Cheshire, securing the future of Can Do in the city for another year. Around 250 people in the community will also benefit through homelessness and environmental projects delivered by some of the young people taking part. 

Can Do participants can attend taster session for activities in order to choose the options that best suit them. These can range from photography, to health and fitness, sports, arts and crafts and employability skills. Participants also have the opportunity to take part in a Building Communities project in the area of their choice, which can lead to a City & Guilds qualification

Daniel, a student from Mayfield School in Birmingham that took part in a Can Do employment skills project, said: “My Can Do experience was really interesting and cool to do. I learnt many skills and qualities, as well as ideas for work and how to be a better person. I had lots of fun!”

Media enquiries

For further information please contact Erin O’Reilly via erin.o’ or 020 3242 0342.

About Can Do

Can Do is an existing programme. From April 2019 to March 2020 the Can Do programme supported 155 participants from the Birmingham area.  Enabling them to access 864 opportunities, for example CV skills and career advise which meant they could develop new skills. Collectively the programme recorded 2704 hours of social action activities from our participants. A total of 98 participants gained their City and Guilds certification.

While the country has been in lockdown, Can Do has moved all community activities onto digital platforms in order to keep people connected and deliver core outcomes of confidence building and skills development. 

Can Do now operates in 25 locations across the UK. Last year (2019/20) more than 2,743 young people took part in Can Do.