Duke of Edinburgh’s Award goes from strength to strength in Somerset

Fresh talent is being sought to help support the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Somerset after a record number of young people completed the programme.

Over 50 groups in Somerset, across schools, colleges and community groups, are approved and supported by Somerset County Council to offer the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award.

Aimed at 14 to 25 year-olds, it can be completed at three levels, representing the growing challenge: Bronze, Silver or Gold. It sees teenagers and young adults help out in their communities, improve their fitness and learn new skills.

In 2014-15 there were:

• 2,100 new-starts to the Duke of Edinburgh programme
• 947 completions – 660 for Bronze, 158 for Silver, and 129 for Gold – and at least 20,000 volunteer hours contributed by these DofE participants
• Those who completed the Gold Award were recognised for their achievement at a London ceremony in the presence of HRH the Earl of Wessex
• 15¼ years (5,567 days) were spent walking on expeditions
• Over 3,000 nights were spent under canvas
• Around 400 volunteers were involved

The Council’s DofE team seeks enthusiastic volunteers for the following roles:

• An event organiser, to help plan and support the authority’s programme to celebrate the DofE’s 60th anniversary in 2016
• Champions working to make the DofE programme available to more young people, especially those facing disadvantage in Somerset.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council said: “That the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme continues to go from strength to strength in Somerset is testament to the sheer hard work of our young people, and the volunteers involved, for their part in the Award’s success.

“Without their efforts, the programme that so many teenagers and young adults continue to enjoy simply wouldn’t be possible.

“In addition to enjoyment, the programme has lots of benefits for a young person, including improving their employability by being able to demonstrate skills valued in the workplace, such as communication, team work, commitment and drive.

“I welcome the push to encourage more young people from all backgrounds to take part in the programme.”

For more information about volunteer posts, or about the Duke of Edinburgh programme in Somerset, please email the Somerset County Council DofE office at dofe@somerset.gov.uk

You can find more information about Somerset County Council volunteering opportunities via www.somerset.gov.uk/volunteering

Notes to editors

National Volunteers Week will be taking place 1 to 7 June 2015 when organisations are encouraged to thank, celebrate and promote volunteering in Somerset. Somerset County Council has once again thrown its support behind the campaign with the Somerset Star Awards.

For more information about the Awards, please click here