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An adult standing in front of the River Don Engine

© Sheffield Museums

© Sheffield Museums

If I can do this, I can do anything!

Volunteer Daniel came to Sheffield Museums via an internship organised by Freeman College, an independent specialist college which educates young people with complex behaviour and learning difficulties including autistic spectrum conditions.

Daniel initially found a place with the Visitor Experience team at Kelham Island Museum and helped out in the shop at Weston Park Museum as well. Daniel came along regularly and built up his skills, working with our team of staff and our visitors.

Daniel enjoyed being part of the museum team and after his placement ended, he started volunteering to support on welcoming visitors to Kelham Island Museum, his favourite museum! Sometimes Daniel’s mum, Rachel, came along to support Daniel, but soon he was comfortable to come along independently.

Daniel has always been keen to improve his skills and gain new ones. After he had been volunteering for a while, his mum got in touch with us to say that Daniel's biggest wish was to be able to make the public announcement to tell visitors that the River Don Engine was going to run. Rachel knew this might not be feasible but said he had memorised the words and could reel it off by heart. She asked that if he put in some practice, would this ever be something he could aim for?

We couldn’t ignore one of our volunteer’s biggest wishes! Laura, the Site Manager at Kelham Island Museum, and the Visitor Experience team, helped Daniel prepare. Rachel got in touch to say:

“Thank you so much. I can't express what this means to me. Daniel came home last week and said he had been practicing the River Don Engine announcement- the smile on his face said it all. I could clearly see how much this means to him. Could you please pass my thanks on to Laura. I know he will try his best; if you could print the announcement out, I don't mind helping him practice at home!”

Before long, the big day arrived and Daniel’s announcement was heard throughout the museum, bringing all our visitors together to see the mighty River Don Engine run. Rachel let us know what this meant to Daniel:

“I am so pleased to say Daniel announced the River Don Engine, he was so happy when he arrived home. He said if I can do this, I can do anything. Thank you so much, you have really boosted his confidence.”