08 June 2010

Northamptonshire County Council’s achievement in steering the East Midlands region’s fastest expansion of the country’s leading achievement award for young people will be celebrated at a presentation ceremony this evening (TUES 8 JUNE).

Northamptonshire has notched up a 70 per cent increase over two years in the number of young people receiving their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award across all award levels.

Over 450 young people in the county have achieved a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the past year and this evening will see approximately 110 of them from all over the county receive their awards.

Councillor Andrew Grant, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We currently have 4,923 young people registered to participate in the award in the county and we’re eagerly anticipating hitting the 5,000 mark.

“Over the past two years there’s been an increase of 70 per cent in young people achieving their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, and within the Gold Award category, we’ve seen a 200 per cent increase in achievement.

“I’m delighted that this evening we’re recognising the latest batch of young people who have invested so much of their time, energy and commitment to learning new skills and helping others.”

Young people from all over the county completed 287 Bronze, 135 Silver and 32 Gold level awards – 454 awards in total - from 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2010. There were a further eight Gold awards which were completed but did not make the cut off-date for inclusion in this year’s official results.

Phil Brown, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Midlands Region Director, said: “The Midlands Regional Office congratulates Northamptonshire’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award team for the remarkable improvements they have made in enabling young people to realise their potential through the programme.

“In the past five years they have seen the numbers of young people receiving awards edging ever closer to 500 young adults, making a real difference in community volunteering and developing the skills that will prepare them for the world of work or further education.

“The future looks equally as hopeful for the county with an increase in the number of young people ‘Going for Gold’ as numbers have risen from 67 to 163 over the past six years. This is a testament to the dedication, commitment and often self sacrifice; not just to the performance of young people but to the parents, teachers, youth workers and volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the DofE programme in Northamptonshire the success it is.”

Among the projects currently underway to expand the scheme across the county and to target hard-to-reach young people are:

  • Accessing the disadvantaged subsidy to ensure that no young person is prevented from participating in the award because of financial hardship within the family
  • Providing a specialist skills section courses for the Kicin2 study programme for looked-after young people
  • Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire Police and local communities have been awarded £230,000 of Access to Nature lottery funding for the Change of Scene project.

Access to Nature is a three year project designed to introduce young people aged 13-19 from four Northampton estates in to the countryside as a leisure facility and develop an appreciation of the natural environment. It will pass on basic skills such as countryside safety and awareness, map reading and first aid and will provide opportunities to participate in a number of outdoor pursuits. These will include nature photography, art and non-competitive outdoor sports such as hill-walking, canoeing, cycling, mountain biking and rock climbing. Participants will be encouraged to work towards a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award accreditation.

Thirty four schools actively operate the award in the county. New groups established during 2019 -10 are:

  • Maplefields School
  • Corby Business Academy
  • Kettering Buccleuch Academy
  • Bosworth College
  • Ashmead School
  • St Peters School
  • Magdalen College School

Additional information

Northamptonshire County Council is the operating authority for the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the county. The team is based at Grendon Hall.

Melanie Cadman, the County Award Manager attended Buckingham Palace in March 2010 and was presented to the Patron. HRH. The Duke of Edinburgh.

There are three levels in the awards scheme: Bronze, Silver and Gold with four sections at each level plus an extra residential requirement at Gold.

Depending on level each section has a minimum time commitment of between 3 and 18 months. The four sections are: Volunteering, Physical, Skills and the Expedition.

At Bronze level, one completed award represents a minimum commitment of 112 hours over a period of at least six months.

At Silver level, one completed award represents a minimum of 200 hours over a period of six months

A young person will have committed at least 400 hours over a minimum of 12 months to achieve their Gold award.