Can Do youth disability project wins new funds to expand in Wales

16 May 2016

  • Big Lottery fund grant of £498,960 announced for Wales.
  • 1,200 more young disabled people to be offered exciting and meaningful volunteering opportunities.
  • New programmes to start in Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and Newport.

Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Can Do programme, offering exciting life skills and volunteering opportunities for young disabled people aged 16-35, will be expanding in Wales.

The news follows the announcement from Big Lottery Fund Wales — People and Places programme of a three-year, £498,960 grant to expand the programme to Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and Newport. Now 1,200 more young disabled people will be able to access the programme and positively contribute to their local communities.

Can Do will create opportunities for young disabled people that will develop their life skills and enhance their confidence and independence.  

Michelle Impanni, senior programme coordinator for Can Do, based in Wales, said, 'We are delighted we can now develop the programme to reach even more young people across Wales to benefit from this volunteering programme.

'Can Do aims to support and equip our participants with the skills and confidence they need to live their lives fully and participate in society.'

Since 2013, the Can Do programme in Newport has directly supported 381 young disabled people to take up community-based volunteering opportunities in their local community. Through these varying projects Can Do has enabled young disabled people to contribute to a total of 2,809 hours of volunteer support to the Newport community.

Currently CanDoers from Coleg Gwent Crosskeys College are taking part in ‪National Gardening Week this year by starting to build a sensory garden.

WCVA and Howdens Joinery have supported our pilot work with Can Do in Wales since 2013 with great success that we look forward to building on through this new expansion.

Alisha, 16, who has cerebral palsy, took part in a project where ‎CanDoers teamed up with Newport Mind to create a picture of the diversity of mental health and disability in their city, hoping to raise awareness and challenge stigma. Through the work she has taken up a wide variety of activities and now volunteers in a Leonard Cheshire service.

'Can Do has helped me be more independent. It has made me want to do the simple things on my own with people a short distance away, like shopping and catching a taxi. It has also made me want to share my experiences with other young people.'

Now Alisha intends to start her own community group to raise awareness on disability access.

Since joining Can Do, Lucy Williams from Newport has done some amazing activities including completing a 56-length sponsored swim, carried out disability access surveys and joined the Can Do national steering group.

'I feel very proud for all the work I have done, and have achieved a lot through helping people, and the charities I have helped. I have met lots of new people and have got to know them.'

We have plans to launch the project in September 2016. 

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Notes to editors

Leonard Cheshire Disability

Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of services for disabled people. Our services include high-quality care and community support together with innovative projects supporting disabled people into education, employment and entrepreneurship. 

Our Can Do project offers exciting new opportunities for 16- to 35-year-old disabled people to volunteer in their community. For further information please visit

Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. 

Since June 2004 we have awarded over £6.5 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

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