The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Diamond Anniversary royally celebrated in Hackney
To mark the 60th anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award, HRH The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, visited Hackney to see first-hand the difference the programme makes to the lives of young people in the borough.
The Earl visited Young Hackney Forest Road Youth Hub on 10 November. A Gold DofE Award holder himself, HRH spoke to young people about their experiences of the programme, including what volunteering they had done in the local community and the skills the DofE had helped them develop such as dance, performing arts and cookery.
In Hackney more young people than ever before are taking part in the DofE. Last year over 850 young people in Hackney took part, the third highest number in inner London. Participants in the borough have contributed 9,340 hours of volunteering over the last year alone, these activities providing a cumulative social value of almost £85,000.
For young people aged 14-24, undertaking a DofE Award offers a unique opportunity to grow as young adults, gaining valuable life experience while developing essential employability skills. Setting their own challenges and learning practical skills helps to prepare each individual for the world of work.
Akina Okoye, 20, Gold Award holder who attends Hackney police cadets at the Young Hackney Forest Road Youth Hub said: “Completing my Gold Award was such an amazing experience, it helped me become more confident and try new things. I'm very shy by nature but it encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, volunteer for several community events and learn new skills such as Drill and football. Not only did it give me a wonderful sense of achievement, the Award has enhanced my CV. Having my Gold Award even helped to secure my current job and looked fantastic on my university application. It's a highly rewarding and an unforgettable experience in which you get to make new friends and meet people from all walks of life, I would recommend it to all of the young people around London."
To help the Charity celebrate its Diamond Anniversary, Young Hackney have installed a plaque to commemorate 60 years of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which was unveiled by The Earl of Wessex when he made his visit. The plaque celebrates all the work the organisation and its participants have achieved since 1956.
We are proud of all the young people who have shown great commitment in achieving their awards. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award not only helps young people develop their skills and enhance their CVs, but it also encourages community spirit, team work and active citizenship. I hope more young people will be motivated to join the DofE and continue the great work their peers have started.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award drop in sessions are held on the first Wednesday of every month at the Young Hackney Forest Road Youth Hub. To find out more visit: www.younghackney.org/event/duke-edinburghs-award/all, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8356 7404.