Award scheme has provided local young people with opportunities to support their communities

Following the announcement of the death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on 9 April 2021 many tributes have been paid to his work with young people and in particular the enduring legacy of the Awards scheme in his name.

Young people across East Lothian have been fully engaged in the various levels of the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award scheme for many years undertaking a variety of tasks providing them with new skills and experiences aiding their own personal development whilst also benefitting their local communities.

The DofE Award Scheme is as relevant to today’s younger generation as when it was established

Sharon Saunders, Head of Communities

In the past ten years alone more than 3,400 awards were started with 120 individuals achieving the highest level of a Gold Award. Even in the past year which has been impacted by Covid pandemic restrictions, 140 awards were started with 41 awards achieved across the Bronze, Silver and Gold categories.

The DofE Award Scheme is managed in East Lothian by the Council’s Connected Communities Service working with schools and the Outdoor Education team who support expeditions. As well as school based groups there are also some community-based DofE groups and recent volunteering work carried out by young people across the county has included:

  • Beach cleaning and community litter-picking in the Prestonpans area
  • Working in a charity shop in Tranent
  • Assisting with the activities programme in Crookston Care Home, Tranent and chatting to residents
  • Helping run a community café in Pencaitland
  • Assisting the charity ‘East Lothian Aid for Refugees’ with packing boxes of clothing and helping to distribute them
  • Badminton coaching for a group of young people with disabilities in Musselburgh
  • Assisting with the work at Muirfield Riding Therapy
  • Young Leader at Cockenzie Scout group                                       

Members of a DofE Award Group in Dunbar have expressed their own appreciation and enjoyment of their participation:

  • “I now know I can get through challenges, so it’s made me more determined to do things.”
  • “It’s helped with my confidence as the expedition was tough but I did it. And with the Volunteering it’s helped as I was quite shy before.”
  • “I realise I can get on with others that I thought I wouldn’t get on with.”
  • “It gets you out of your bed as you know you’ve got things to do.”
  • “I would absolutely recommend DofE to anyone.”

Sharon Saunders, East Lothian Council’s Head of Communities, said: “One of the aims of the DofE Award Scheme is to help build confidence and personal resilience in young people and the past year has shown us all the importance of helping and supporting others within our communities. The combination of community volunteering with an understanding and appreciation of the natural world is something which many young people already aspire to achieve and so the DofE Award Scheme is as relevant to today’s younger generation as when it was established. The Duke of Edinburgh has certainly left a legacy that has, and continues to, benefit many individuals and their communities across East Lothian.”

Published: Friday, 16th April 2021