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Young people in Liverpool, Knowsley and the Wirral go for DofE Gold

17/03/2014

ScottishPower Foundation and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) have announced a continued partnership to enable more young people (aged 14–24) in Liverpool, Knowsley and the Wirral to start their DofE journey and benefit from the unique employability, social and personal development opportunities it brings.

Investment from ScottishPower Foundation will be used to grow DofE provision in these areas throughout the year, supporting more local schools, youth groups, charities and other organisations to become DofE centres.

By extending the reach of the DofE more young people’s lives will be transformed. The DofE is the world’s leading achievement award, widely recognised as having a long-term positive impact on young people’s life chances. By gaining confidence, building new skills, and broadening their experiences both in their community and away from home, young people are better prepared for work and life. The DofE also has a significant effect on local communities, through the volunteering activities which the programme encourages.

Pupils at Wallasey School in Moreton, the Wirral, are already reaping the benefits. One of the first schools that ScottishPower Foundation supported when the partnership began in 2010, three pupils recently achieved their DofE Gold Awards: Hollie-Jo Dowdall, Amy Price and Emily Smith. Hollie and Amy attended a Gold Award Presentation at St. James’s Palace, London, this month where they were presented with their Awards by comedian Bill Bailey and met His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.

Head Teacher Amanda Cawood said: “To see the progression of each young person as they undertook their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards has been a pleasure to watch. The sense of achievement in the school reflects the hard work and dedication our young people have shown towards The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

“Fulfilling the award develops our young people into capable, active and well rounded young adults and they should be proud of their achievements. We certainly are.”

Hollie-Jo Dowdall added: “I undertook the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award as part of building my CV. In the process of completing the award I have gained so much more. I have gained self-confidence and leadership skills along the way. I have developed my communication skills as a team player and as a leader. I have discovered a passion for orienteering in new and difficult locations. I would like to thank my team leader/supervisor Mr Hoppins and his team for all their dedication and support.

“I now feel that I can attempt anything and with this in mind have looked at new careers in fields such as engineering which I know without this new self-confidence I would never have looked at. I am ready for more challenges and my life has now been made richer and fuller for completing the Award. I am not saying it was easy, but it was far rewarding.”

ScottishPower has been working in partnership with the DofE since 2010, with the support of parent company the Iberdrola Foundation. The new ScottishPower Foundation, launched in May, 2013, has pledged to continue this support in 2014. Countering cuts to youth services in the North West, the partnership has helped almost 10,000 young people in the region start their DofE journey, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, and seen around 5,000 achieve an Award. In 2014 the ambition is for 2,500 more young people to take part in the DofE in Liverpool, Knowsley and the Wirral and 1,850 to receive an Award.

Elaine Bowker, Trustee, ScottishPower Foundation; Principal and Chief Executive, Liverpool Community College, said: “It is fantastic to see that as a result of our partnership not only are hundreds of young people on Merseyside getting the opportunity to achieve their DofE, but we can celebrate the first three young people from one of our partner schools receiving their Gold Awards. The support given to the DofE by ScottishPower Foundation reinforces our commitment to the community, and we are extremely pleased to see our partnership benefitting so many”.

Robbie Johnston, DofE Regional Director, North West, said: “Our ambition is for every young person to have the opportunity to undertake their DofE irrespective of background or circumstance. As a charity we’re hugely grateful for the support from ScottishPower Foundation to help us achieve this and look forward to extending the benefits to more individuals and communities in the North West.”

There are currently over 300,000 young people taking part in a DofE programme across the UK through a variety of centres including state, independent and special schools, prisons, Young Offender Institutions, businesses and youth groups.

For further information on the DofE please visit: www.DofE.org

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