300 young people gain Duke of Edinburgh’s awards

More than 300 young people in Brighton & Hove are due to receive their Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Awards this year at a presentation ceremony on Wednesday 4 February from 7.30pm to 8.45pm at the AMEX stadium.

The DofE scheme is coordinated by Brighton & Hove City Council’s outdoor education team, which is currently working with more than 2,000 young people looking to enhance their skills and improve their employability.

Awards participants (l-r) Jodie, Lucy, Paighton, Olly and Morgan are pictured at the council's DofE Open Centre in Hangleton.

Activities undertaken by young people on the programme this year have included:

  • woodland conservation, fundraising for African children and beach litter clearing in the volunteering section
  • kick boxing, bouldering, zumba and sailing for physical activities work, and
  • dog handling, car mechanics, power boating and learning languages such as Polish and Japanese for the skills section.

The Amex event will be hosted solely by DofE participants, including two students from Hamilton Lodge School for the Deaf, Paighton and Olly (pictured below), with the support of interpreters.

Learning to communicate with team members who have hearing was a key task for Paighton and Olly during their three-day expedition in the North Downs.

During the expedition the team tackled map reading, 12 miles hikes each day, cooking on a trangia stove and tent pitching. Both boys felt they’d grown in confidence after teaching their four fellow team members some basic sign language.

Paighton said: “It was a real challenge to be with hearing people, without an interpreter, and is something I feel will be really useful in future.”

Olly said: “I now realise it doesn’t matter whether you’re deaf or have hearing, we all have different skills we can bring to a situation. I was the best map reader so they relied on me, but of course that meant that if we got lost, it was my fault!”

The Bronze, Silver and Gold awards will be presented by the Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex, Peter Field, who is himself a Brighton resident.

The chair of the council’s children and young people committee, Councillor Sue Shanks, said: “We want our young people to grow up to be well-rounded adults who have a positive contribution to their community.

“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards scheme has a huge part to play in this and we value it very highly. The sheer range of activities on offer is amazing and is also a tribute to the excellent work of our outdoor education team.”

See here to find out more about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards scheme in Brighton & Hove or call the council's outdoor education team on 01273 294234.

Photographs by Paula Greening