Young people go wild with Can Do programme

Young people from Castle Douglas have successfully completed Leonard Cheshire’s ‘Can Do’ volunteering programme.

Young people from Castle Douglas have successfully completed Leonard Cheshire’s ‘Can Do’ volunteering programme. 

The charity’s innovative ‘Can Do’ programme sees young people with additional support needs gain new life skills through training and volunteering opportunities at the heart of their local communities.

The group of 7 volunteers, all of whom attend the Better Lives Partnership in Castle Douglas, have taken part in a community-based project examining the local wildlife in Galloway. The volunteers learnt about the importance of environmental sustainability as they developed a vegetable garden at the Better Lives Partnership house. 

The volunteers also visited the Threave Castle Nature Reserve to learn about rare species of wildlife including Ospreys, Red Kites and Peregrine Falcons. Learning in a fun and interactive way allowed the volunteers, all of whom have autism, to develop their social and communication skills. 

Volunteers have experienced a huge growth in self-confidence through their work with the ‘Can Do’ programme. A support worker for the group claimed ‘Can Do’ had “dramatically increased the youngsters’ self-confidence and willingness to try new tasks and take on new challenges.” 

Parents of the volunteers also reported an astonishing growth in the self-esteem of the participants, with a new-found ability to engage with others and get involved with group activities. One volunteer claimed the programme had taught them “lots of fun and interesting facts about the environment” whilst at the same time giving her the confidence to “engage with others and work in a team” for the first time. 

The hard work and dedication of the volunteers has also seen them attain qualifications, including the SQA National 1 Gold Award, which will help prepare them for employment and training opportunities in the future.  

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

Media enquiries

For further enquiries please email andrew.ewen@leonardcheshire.orgor call 0131 346 9040 or 07793 803 950.

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 people with disabilities 

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