Young people from across the county were treated to royalty and stardom as they visited St. James’s Palace to be given their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.
The 22 young people were presented with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award from celebrity presenter and broadcaster, Ortis Deley, and were able to share their experiences with HRH The Earl of Wessex.
The DofE programme is designed to take young people through a challenging and rewarding programme of personal development with three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold.
One of the Gold Award recipients at the Palace was Lauriane Canadas, who took part in her DofE at St Philip Howard Catholic School.
Lauriane, 21 years old from Littlehampton, said: “DofE has been the most rewarding experience of my life so far. With the expedition came laughs and challenges. While volunteering with Girlguiding I developed skills in leadership and communication, taking the opportunity to organise and run my own sessions.
“My physical challenge was to achieve my brown belt in karate, something which required a lot of commitment and determination.
“I’ve had such a fantastic experience completing all levels of DofE and I would love for every young person to have the same opportunity. DofE has made me a more rounded, confident person and is already serving me on the work placement I am currently doing as part of my mathematics degree.
“It is great knowing that something so enjoyable has equipped me with the skills that most lines of work utilise.”
The 22 young people who attended the award ceremony at St James’s Palace in November were from Bishop Luffa School, Collyers College, Farlington School, Midhurst Youth Centre, Open Centres in Horsham and Mid Sussex, Seaford College, Slindon College, St Pauls Catholic College, St Philip Howard School, Hurstpierpoint College and Worthing College.
During the Gold Award presentation, HRH took the opportunity to congratulate the group from West Sussex on their successes and heard about their DofE journeys, which took each young person 12-18 months of hard work and dedication.
Supported by West Sussex County Council, 58 centres are delivering DofE in West Sussex.
Those who achieve a Gold DofE Award will volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, take part in a week long residential and plan and undertake an expedition in wild country. Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, DofE programmes enable any young person, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.
Stephen Hillier, County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Hearing about experiences like Lauriane’s is always really inspirational. I have heard countless stories of how the DofE Awards have brought out the best in our county’s young people and I would encourage everyone to take part.”
To find out more about taking part in West Sussex, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact a school, college, youth group or one of the five Open Centres in the county.