Leonard Cheshire’s Can Do programme has been awarded £55,000 from the Young Start Fund.
A project empowering young people with additional support needs has been given a boost thanks to an award from the National Lottery Community Fund.
Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s innovative Can Do programme gives young people in Dumfries and Galloway the opportunity to gain new life skills through training and social action in their local community.
The participant-led programme has collaborated with schools, colleges and community groups to provide practical lessons that allow participants to give back to their community in a meaningful way. Those who complete the programme can also gain an SQA Personal Achievement Award.
The programme has now been awarded £55,904 by the lottery’s Young Start Fund to fund its activities over the next two years, supporting 160 people aged between 16 and 24.
Alastair, 21, took part in a Can Do conservation project, helping to develop land on the Drumlanrig Estate. He says the programme led to him gaining new skills and improving his employability.
“I participated in this project to improve my knowledge of the outdoors, gain a certificate and better my CV,” he said. “Before the project, I was struggling to find work and had difficulty socialising while feeling nervous and unsure.
“Can Do helped me to feel more capable and has had a positive impact on my confidence. I also feel it has helped build my knowledge and skills, particularly in sawing and working with wood. Now, I will get a new job or start more training.”
Stuart Robertson, director for Leonard Cheshire in Scotland, said: “We are delighted that the Young Start Fund has recognised our work this way. Now, thanks to the funding, we will be able to continue empowering young people with additional support needs in Dumfries and Galloway to give back to the community.”
National Lottery Community Fund Scotland director, Neil Ritch, added: “Young Start aims to help children and young people across Scotland realise their potential while also building invaluable skills and confidence for the future.
“By placing young people at the heart of project design, delivery and evaluation, these projects will empower young people to achieve whatever they set their mind to.”
Additional funding for the programme has also been announced from the Holywood Trust and the Orcome Trust.