A dozen students, from the college’s Stranraer campus, took part in Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s ‘Can Do’ programme – and were rewarded for their hard work with City and Guilds certificates.
The programme is delivered by the pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire and is designed for 16-35 year olds who have additional support needs, focusing on skills development and community involvement.
Activities were picked and shaped by participants into an engaging schedule facilitated by the Can Do coordinator for Dumfries and Galloway, Olivia Robinson, with the involvement of community partners.
The programme offered a wide range of activities, including an online mixed martial arts fitness session, a Viking day at Kirkcudbright Galleries and building squirrel feeder boxes.
During their day out in Kirkcudbright, Vikings “Cathbad” and “Hrefna” from Wordsmithcrafts CIC provided the Can Doers with an authentic day of traditional storytelling, jewellery making and learning, with a tour around the Galloway Hoard.
The students enjoyed a presentation from Catherine Steyn who explained the life-changing impact of guide dogs, and in another session learned flower arranging.
Angus Hoban created squirrel feeder box kits which students built and painted, and then donated to the East Wigtownshire Red Squirrel Group.
Businesses in the area were eager to help out too, donating hardware and high quality Perspex.
Through these community involvements, the students were able to experience both sides of the world of volunteering and were able to learn how important and impactful it can be to offer your time and skills to the community.
Olivia said: “It was a privilege to work with this amazing group of young people, the students produced some brilliant new ideas for activities to do as part of their Can Do project and it was great to see them trying new things and learning new transferable skills which will help them in other areas of life.
"The student’s chose a variety of lovely ways to give back to the community throughout the project, from giving their flower arrangements to a loved one to making and donating squirrel feeder boxes to help the local red squirrels.
"A big well done to the young people, they’ve worked hard for their certificates. Thank you also to all the amazing partners involved in this project – it wouldn’t have been possible without you.”
David Miller, chair of East Wigtownshire Red Squirrel Group, said: "We are really grateful to Can Do for making these feeder boxes which will help the group immensely in its ongoing work to help maintain red squirrel populations in south west Scotland.
"We really enjoyed our Zoom sessions with Can Do members and they came up with some really thought-provoking questions which kept us on our toes! We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship in the future."