Client Case Studies


Gary (not his real name) first came to Voluntary Action 5 years ago. He has moderate learning disabilities and autism.

How we supported his needs

What a transformation! From filing cabinet into a toy cabinet. This is all David’s work from the initial concept through to the design and making.

Gary has an individual budget to spend on day activities and we suggested he might like to try our pilot upcycling project. He seemed very keen and started a couple of weeks later.

The project upcycles and repurposes old material and makes wooden goods such as planters and garden benches. The workshop leader worked patiently with Gary, praising him when he worked well and playing down any disruptive behaviour. He observed when Gary enjoyed doing certain tasks and involved him in decision making about what he would like to make. Gary came up with great ideas for ‘repurposing’ items – for example, a skittle game from a dog bed and a bench made from a double bed!

Slowly but surely Gary’s behaviour improved as he took pleasure in the work he undertook and real pride in the finished product. He is now a very valued member of the project and often comes up with great ideas and contributes greatly to the sessions.

Recently a visitor to the Timber Yard offered Gary a part-time gardening job in a local garden which he is enjoying doing once a week without supervision. This is something that his parents have said was unthinkable before he started at Ace Activities.

“I cannot believe the difference in Gary since joining the project and I now look forward to working with him every week.”

Tim, volunteer helper on the project

“Gary has become far more focused since joining the project. He obviously enjoys the sessions as he asked for carpentry tools for his birthday which he generously shares with the other project members.
His carpentry skills have improved immensely and last week he made a hedgehog house from start to finish with the minimum of supervision, this is particularly impressive as it is quite a complicated undertaking.”

Project Leader

“Gary loves the upcycle group. He enjoys using his hands to makes things. He likes to see the end result.  It is a big achievement for him He especially likes to sell the items he has made on the market stalls. We are very proud of him and more importantly Gary is proud of himself.”

Gary’s Mum