Thirteen young people from Merton received their gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards at a special presentation ceremony in the palatial surroundings of St James’s Palace.
The event, attended by Duke of Edinburgh Patron and Founder- HRH The Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip, recognised young people across the UK who had completed the DofE programme. Certificates were given out at the ceremony by news presenter Jon Snow.
To achieve a gold award young people work through five activities- volunteering, sports, skills, expedition and residential of the DofE programme over a number of months. Some of the activities they took part in included volunteering in a care home, expeditions to Snowdonia and developing drama skills.
Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Maxi Martin attended the event and received the renewed three-year DofE operating licence on behalf of the London Borough of Merton, which allows the council to continue to deliver the initiative.
Councillor Martin said: “I am pleased for all the young people who achieved a gold DofE award. The award is recognition for all their hard work and says a lot about their character. I hope they go on to great things and inspire others to take up the programme.”
Gold award winner Lucy McDermott said: “Doing my gold award has meant that I have had the opportunity to travel, meet new people and try new things. It pushed me to challenge myself, particularly on the expedition as we had a really tough route over a mountain in Snowdonia that I would never have thought about tackling. It was the best feeling when I finished, as I had done bronze, silver and gold and I felt that it was a great accomplishment. Meeting the Duke was another great experience and a brilliant way to finish everything that I had been working towards since I was 14.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, run by Merton Youth Service, is available to all young people in Merton aged 14-25 years. Programmes of leisure time activities cover sport, volunteering, skills and expeditions. It’s a national scheme, recognised as a valuable accreditation (or qualification) by employers and institutes of further and higher education.
For more information about the Duke of Edinburgh award in Merton, visit www.merton.gov.uk/dofe