Today in Lancashire, The Earl of Wessex met participants of The Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award Scheme, who showcased some of the volunteering and skills-based activities that they are working on.
The DofE is working to reach one million young people by 2026, and has launched projects to fund schools and community organisations in the UK’s most deprived areas to start running the DofE, support more young people with additional needs, and expand in prisons and young offender institutions.
To complete the DofE Award, young people, aged 14-24, take part in activities in four categories: improving a Physical activity; learning a new Skill; Volunteering for a cause of choice; and completing a demanding Expedition. Along the way, participants have fun, grow in resilience and self-belief, discover new talents and passions, and learn practical skills to help them in future.
In Blackpool, The Earl of Wessex, who is Trustee of the scheme, met participants from South Shore Academy who volunteer with younger children from Thames Primary Academy to support with cooking, art and Lego-building.
South Shore student Corron Barnes told The Earl about the resilience club he started for his DofE Volunteering, to support his peers' self-esteem and confidence. Corron, who has been learning photography for his DofE, also took a photograph of The Earl with his fellow students.
The Earl then paid a visit to The Oracle, where he met young people taking part in the initiative through voluntary and community groups supported by Blackpool Council. The Council is focussing on giving the town's most vulnerable young people the chance to achieve their Awards, supporting nine grassroots community and volunteering organisations to run the DofE.
His Royal Highness met volunteers who litter pick outside The Oracle - an activity they chose after asking local residents how they could best make a positive difference to the area.
To end the day, The Earl joined in activities taking place at Pioneer TEC - a purpose-built residential school on Preston Docks offering specialist therapeutic alternative education. The school began running DofE in 2021, supporting young people with learning and behavioural difficulties to take part.
Activities on offer include maintaining and refurbishing motorbikes, go-karting, and preparing food for the centre's Butty Bike!