Somerset County Council (SCC) is celebrating having been awarded their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) operating licence for another three years at an awards ceremony at St James’s Palace in London.
SCC has a DofE operating licence which enables them to support schools, colleges and community groups to offer DofE programmes to 14-24 year olds. Somerset County Council is recognised as being a high-performing local authority for DofE; last year 2,100 young people in Somerset started a DofE programme with 949 completions, including well over 100 at Gold level.
Following a review in the summer, the licence was renewed for the next three years which Somerset County Council’s Chairman, Christine Lawrence, collected on Wednesday, 2 December, alongside 60 young people from Somerset who also had achieved their Gold DofE Awards. The licence and awards were presented at a special ceremony at St James’s Palace which was attended by HRH Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT and special guest, British polar adventurer and explorer, Antony Jinman.
There are 55 active DofE groups across Somerset and the number grows each year, reflecting school and college leaders’ recognition of DofE as the world’s most successful youth development programme. Research shows that employers and universities understand the skills, knowledge and characteristics which DofE helps build and they look out for it on young people’s CVs and applications.
Somerset County Council’s DofE team has challenging targets for the coming three years which requires them to increase participation, improve completion rates and broaden access for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. There are currently a small number of DofE groups running in Special and Partnership (PRU) schools, with hopes to build on these in the coming years.
Jeff Brown, Somerset County Council’s Service Manager for Youth Development said: “We are funded through SCC’s youth service budget, a contribution from the schools compact partnership and charges to groups and young people. We need to recruit more volunteers and generate income to help sustain and grow DofE in Somerset, and we hope to use DofE’s Diamond Anniversary in 2016 to raise awareness and funds. That’s why all offers of support from businesses and the general public will be gratefully received!”
Somerset County Council’s Chairman, Christine Lawrence, said: “It was a real honour for me to go to London and to collect this licence award on behalf of Somerset County Council. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has always been such a great success for young people in Somerset, and I’m so pleased we are able to offer our continued support for the next three years.”
“However, the true congratulations must go to the 60 young people who also attended the ceremony with me to receive their Gold awards.The Gold level is the highest achievement available within the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and to have achieved this shows an individual’s skills, determination and mentality to really succeed. Well done to all of you, I am incredibly proud of your achievements and I know you will be too.”
To find out more about The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme please visit the website: http://www.dofe.org/