Duke of Edinburgh Award students plant trees for the Jubilee

Six Somerset students working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award planted some new trees as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The youngsters were fortunate enough to have a selected a glorious spring day for the occasion as they planted the new trees at the SSE Outdoors Centre in Kilve.

The trees were planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy – a project devised by HRH The Prince of Wales to commemorate the Queen’s legacy and have a positive impact on the environment too.

A small copse of Silver Birch, Rowan, and Wild Cherry trees were planted – saplings that had been donated by The Woodland Trust for the occasion.

Andy Stevenson, a ranger with the Quantock AONB Team, oversaw the planting to ensure all the young trees were planted correctly. “The young people did an amazing job of planting the trees and are really interested in seeing them grow in the future,” Mr Stevenson commented.

Deputy Lieutenant Chris Davies CBE unveiled the Queen’s Green Canopy Plaque on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset. “The DofE team were quick to pick up the tree-planting skills from Quantock Ranger Andy, and in no time at all a young wood of 30 trees was in the meadow ready to grow.

“It was fantastic to see these young people working as a team to support the natural environment, and it was a great privilege to be part of this tribute to the Queen from the Somerset DoE service.”

Ben Batley, the Deputy Head of Somerset Freemasons, added: “I was delighted to be able to join with DofE participants taking part in the QGC scheme and see Somerset Freemasons recent bursary donation in action. We are pleased to have been able to secure the participation of disadvantaged young people in the DofE Award throughout Somerset for many years to come.”

The DofE award scheme continues to go from strength to strength in Somerset, with more than 2,500 young people starting their award either at one of the DofE Centres such as schools, colleges, SEN providers or youth organisations, or remotely through the Open Award programme.

Carol Authers, DofE Operations Manager for Somerset County Council, said: “We had a great morning planting trees with this DofE group and it was a lovely way to see what a difference the DofE award can make to young people. They did themselves proud and have created a lasting legacy at Kilve that will be there for years to come.”

The DofE award is designed to empower young people; helping them learn new skills, overcome obstacles, and build confidence and resilience.

There is a Somerset Bursary fund to help families who are facing hardships as a result of the pandemic and other financial pressures. This fund has already helped 110 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access the awards this year.

The Somerset DofE Operations Team are on hand to support any young person who would like to do their award – please contact DofE@somerset.gov.uk for further information.

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There is an alternative DofE education programme offered to all schools and colleges, which is ideal for young people struggling in education or those who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). For more information contact the DofE team via DofE@somerset.gov.uk.