The Glasgow Can Do attitude that helps others smile

Amanda Jackson

Amanda Jackson is a Can Do Coordinator from Glasgow. She tells us about why working with her Can Do group has been putting a smile on her face during the pandemic. 

Woman in front of a laptop smiling

Our partnership with Glasgow Kelvin College is one of many that brings a smile to my face every week. Every group is different because of the participant-led nature of the Can Do programme. This enables participants to learn and develop new skills and, most importantly, give back to the community.

Spirit of giving back

The most recent projects with the college have just been awe-inspiring. They captured the spirit of giving back to the community. Whether it was spending time packing Care and Share bags or designing and building lanterns to be donated to some of our social care services. I had the pleasure of arranging these to be sent to them.

This was an opportunity for participants to reach out to people who might be isolated through lockdown restrictions. It was to make a statement that people are always thinking about them. The lanterns were a way of adding a bit of light to the darker days we were experiencing.

The residents from the Glasgow services were blown away by the generosity. They were grateful about how kind-hearted our participants were to take the time to think about them. Can Doers realised how a small gesture could go a long way.

What was initially a one-off project, led to some participants doing a full Building Communities project. A couple of residents and participants befriended each other. Together, they are sharing online experiences and making memories.

Working with our local services

This project has grown and grown. Linking in with the services has reduced social isolation and digital exclusion – and has enabled services to get involved with Can Do activities. The incredible staff at our services have been supportive, ensuring that technology has been in place for residents to access.

Alison, from one of our Glasgow services, has been very active in engaging with this project. Her contagious smile has always made my day – that is what this is all about. The participants loved meeting Alison virtually. Her caring nature made sure she asked every student, every session, how they were doing and giving out compliments.

Can do attitude

The imagination of the Can Doers knows no bounds, exploring all the possibilities of the virtual world. We had a birthday party online, learned Makaton, visited Five Sisters Zoo. When we can’t go on holidays, they came up with the idea of a couple of virtual walks around the Gold Coast in Australia and Redwood National Park in California. It gave us all a chance to escape and think about our senses – free our minds of stress and worry and embrace the serenity around us.

It was great for Gordon, another resident of our Glasgow services, to get involved. It made him feel like he wanted to go swimming in the crisp blue ocean. Everybody got to escape safely for an hour and realise the importance of daily exercise. It made one Can Doer feel peaceful and calm. But for Gordon, each session felt like an occasion – one where he could put his best shirt on at a place where we could all feel good and included.

This project, in particular, has helped us all, me included. It has given us all a positive focus. It has brought generations together and put smiles on the faces of all. One Can Doer has said: “It’s made me feel happy and got me out of bed in the morning.” Now, if that’s not a Can Do attitude, I don’t know what is.