Merton Council is to install a special plaque it received at the diamond jubilee Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) award ceremony at Buckingham Palace earlier this year.
The council funds, encourages and helps hundreds of young people every year who want to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh’s award. Last year, over 290 young people in the borough completed their awards at bronze, silver and gold and were presented with an award in recognition of the skills they learn as well as the dedication and commitment they each must give to achieve DofE success. In that time, these young people have collectively amassed 5,000 hours of volunteering.
The DofE award scheme requires young people to get involved in a number of activities including volunteering, developing skills such as debating, music, photography or cookery as well as sport. Everyone who completes the scheme takes part in an expedition, with trips to areas such as the Brecon Beacons, Cumbria, North and South Downs and Box Hill.
Fifty-one young people are currently taking their gold DofE award at the Open Award Centre and will be heading off to Snowdonia on an expedition this summer– more than Merton has ever had in previous years.
Merton Council’s cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Katy Neep said: “We can all be proud of our young people and the commitment they have shown to achieve their awards. It is great to see the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme is alive and well in Merton. Earning a gold, silver or bronze award enhances your cv and improves employment and training prospects because these achievements clearly demonstrate dedication and the ability to work well with others.”
Beth Ebsworth(15) from Ricards Lodge High School, who is working towards achieving her bronze award, said: “I would recommend to anyone that they get involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme. You learn skills for life and meet some great people along the way. Now I’ve done my bronze, I’m definitely going to go for my silver and then gold.”
Former Rutlish pupil, Hamid Serry (19), who has achieved his gold award, said: “I loved everything about the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme. It was challenging at times, but I can look back and feel proud of what I have achieved. I am a much more confident person now and know that I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it.”