An Aberdeen teenager has launched a drive to turn people’s rubbish into cash for a charity working to improve the lives of those with disabilities.
Lewis McGregor is appealing to people to donate their empty drink cans in the hope of taking as many as possible to a local recycling unit to exchange them for money.
The funds raised through the 18-year-old’s project Cash for Cans will go to support the Aberdeen charity Future Choices, where he has been volunteering for nearly four years.
Mr McGregor said he wanted to come up with a creative idea to help a charity “close to home” through a difficult time.
He said: “I wanted to help the charity without leaving other people struggling.
“The reason why we came up with Cash for Cans is so we don’t have to ask people for money, because obviously many have struggled financially during the pandemic – all we are doing is asking them for rubbish.
“It’s all about helping out and having a positive impact on the community.
“It’s going to be good to get everybody back to some normality. We want to take as many disabled members as possible out – just to have a bit of fun and get an opportunity to socialise outside of their house, and to take their mind off of their day-to-day struggles.”
First step to rebuilding post pandemic
For many of the members, the club is the only time they leave the house, so organisers at Future Choices felt it essential they adapt during lockdown and continued holding meetings over Zoom.
However, with the pandemic putting a halt to any fundraising, chairman David Forbes shared there were many times they feared they may not be able to survive.
Cash for Cans will run for up to eight months in effort to secure enough cash for the charity to organise days trips and social events for people with disabilities and help them adapt post-pandemic.
At a special launch event at the weekend, Mr Forbes called the fundraiser a “monumental first step to rebuilding”.
He said: “This fundraiser is really a testament of what Future Choices is all about – we are helping disabled people, we are helping the environment and we are doing it ourselves as a volunteer-led group.
“We hope that we would be able to raise thousands with this fundraiser, which will secure us going on day trips, holding social events and just getting us all together once again.
“We know what it’s like to be socially isolated and it’s important for our members that they keep going out.
“Our plan is just to get them out and help them adapt and socialise, because it’s not like a switch they can just turn on. They need to have confidence and build their self-esteem and self-independence.”
No greater time to support charities
The initiative has already been backed by a number of local politicians – including Rosemount and Midstocket councillor Bill Cormie, Lower Deeside councillor Marie Boulton and Aberdeen South and North Kincardine MSP Audrey Nicoll.
Mrs Boulton, who was the first to donate a full bag of empty cans to Cash for Cans, encouraged people to be more considerate of those with disabilities and back the charity.
She said: “It’s really important to support any charity trying to raise funds and people that need our help in this difficult climate coming through Covid.
“This is the charity’s first step out in the new world post Covid and I think it’s really important to back them, because some of them will be even more nervous as they might have health implications making them more vulnerable.
“So let’s do everything we can to be considerate, whether it would be by holding a door open or giving people a smile – it doesn’t take much, but it makes a massive difference.”
People can donate their empty cans at the Laws Tyres car repair shop in Bridge of Don during the week and at the Fun House on George Street on Friday and Saturday.