“This is the best day I ever had” 

Helping young people gain the confidence to take their first steps into volunteering, is a key area of CAN’s work.

Dani Ford-Horne, our Youth Development Worker, recently took ten young volunteers on a pine tree clearance day at Parley Cross, to support the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.

The group included two young men who had sought asylum here, a young carer, a foster child and three young people with special educational needs – English was also a second language for three of them. 

Soon everyone started to relax and enjoy the outside, helped by Dani’s easy and chatty nature. Even the rain didn’t put them off… thanks to CAN’s supply of wellies and waterproofs!

A fire was lit, tea was made, and everyone gathered around.

Francesca, aged 14, from Venezuela, became emotional recalling being around a fire with her grandmother at home and the sadness of her passing. She has Asperger’s so can find communication difficult, but she was able to share her story and get support from the group – afterwards, she said: “This is the best day I’ve ever had.”

Her mum texted saying: “I am very grateful to you.  Francesca enjoyed the experience a lot. We look forward to the next volunteer opportunity 😊.”

Emily, aged 13, told us: “Thank you for giving me a chance to improve my skills and touch the fresh air.”

Although CAN and the young people were clearing pines – they were also helping to clear young minds.