New centre will help young people achieve DofE Award

Young people who want to take part in a national scheme that helps them make a difference in their community and pick up life skills along the way, are being offered support from a new opportunity in Marlborough.

Each year more than 2,000 Wiltshire young people, aged 14 to 24, take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) scheme, achieving the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award through their school or voluntary group.

Wiltshire Council holds the licence that the groups operate under, enabling 31 mainstream schools, seven special schools, three colleges and five voluntary sector groups to offer the DofE Award to their young people. The service is self-funding and supports, trains and assists leaders as well as overseeing delivery and quality of the DofE Award in all 46 centres.

Now young people who may have missed the opportunity previously are being encouraged to sign up at the newly launched Marlborough Open Award Centre at the former youth building at St Mary’s Mead in the town.

The centre will meet in one of the building’s rooms fortnightly on a Thursday to support young people’s progress. Experienced leaders will also train participants to take part in the expedition element of the scheme in the summer.

Young people and parents are encouraged to attend an information evening on 10 December at 7pm at the centre to find out how the scheme operates and how to enrol. Young people will then start fortnightly sessions in January.

Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “There are many benefits for both the young people taking this award and the community in which they volunteer, and I’m very pleased we can offer this new base, which widens the opportunity to take up this scheme.

“This is an award for people up to 24, so I’d encourage those who may have missed the opportunity at school, or are coming to it a little later, to find out more and get involved.”

The DofE Award is the world’s most popular youth achievement award, giving millions of 14 to 24-year-olds the opportunity to achieve their potential while rewarding them for the activities they take part in during their spare time.

There are three levels of award which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The main differences between them are the minimum length of time they take to complete, how challenging they are and the minimum age you can start. Young people interested in the Bronze Award can begin this award from year nine and upwards.

Activities for each DofE section take a minimum of one hour a week over a set period of time, so they can be fitted in around academic study, hobbies and social lives. Activities can include hobbies that the young person is currently participating in or could be something new.

Adults and gold participants who are looking for a volunteering section opportunity are welcome to contact Wiltshire Council by emailing Joanne Parker:

To find out more about the DofE Award, or to find a group in your area, please contact Louise Fisher – DofE Award Manager or call 01225 716740. For more avialble at