YOUNG people from Swansea and surrounding areas were celebrated on Thursday for their outstanding support for their local community.

Students and young, disabled people from the community took part in Leonard Cheshire Cymru’s Can Do project, which empowers young people to learn new skills and gain confidence. This year’s cohort focused on a Building Communities project, which sees them complete 16 hours of voluntary work to better their local area.

They are then awarded with a City & Guilds Certificate which recognises their contribution to their local community. Groups were involved from Pembrokeshire College, Shine Cymru, Coleg Sir Gar, NPTC college group, Gower College and Carmarthenshire Council.

Participants carried out a number of meaningful activities to achieve this award, such as curating wellness bundles to donate to homelessness centres and charities, building community gardens and also enjoyed tours of MonkeyWorld and Plantasia. Groups also learnt about sustainability and made recycled toys for the meerkats and other animals at the parks.

Julie James MS, Constituency member for Swansea West, Sioned Willliams MS, Regional member for South Wales West and Tom Gifford MS, Regional member South Wales West sent congratulatory messages to participants to commemorate their exceptional success.

Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change and Member of the Senedd for Swansea West thanked the Can Do participants for their dedication.

“I’m really delighted to continue supporting Leonard Cheshire in all the great work they do. Can Do is all about challenging yourself, learning new skills and putting them in practice. I am so proud of all of the participants for coming together and uplifting their communities in Wales”

Feedback from schools and colleges at the celebration event indicated that the sessions had been vital for improving wellbeing of students. Students particularly benefited from virtual tours of animal parks:

“What a fantastic session, it really made you feel that you were following the keeper around the park. It was very interesting and held the interest of all who attended. I have to say it made a big difference being able to still take part virtually” (Fran Horton, Community Connector, Carmarthenshire Council)

“Feedback on the Can Do sessions from students has been amazing. We are so looking forward to our plans with Leonard Cheshire’s Can Do project in the near future – We can’t thank Leonard Cheshire enough!” (Amy Cole-Davies, NPTC)

Hugh Fenn, Managing Director of Community Services for Leonard Cheshire shared his congratulations to the Can Do participants.

“It is great to see so many young people getting involved in their community during what has been a challenging year for many. A massive congratulations to all the schools, colleges and young people who took part and made this programme the success it is in Wales. We are so proud of the positive impact you’ve had in Swansea and local communities”