West Berkshire Council

Huge achievement for West Berkshire's young people

Last week, a group of 42 young people from West Berkshire were presented with their Duke of Edinburgh Awards at the Dolphin Centre in Pangbourne.

Young Paddlers taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Issued on: 27 February 2018.

Last week, a group of 42 young people from West Berkshire were presented with their Duke of Edinburgh Awards at the Dolphin Centre in Pangbourne.

In total 17 Bronze, 15 Silver and 10 Gold participants completed their awards with Activity Team West Berkshire having taken part in various  expeditions in West Berkshire, New Forest, Isle of Purbeck, Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia.

Each participant also completed a period of skill, physical and volunteering experience.

This was a huge achievement for everyone but of special note were four of the Golds who all have special educational needs (SEN). These four young people took part in a 40km paddling expedition over 4 days from Loughborough to Nottingham Castle. This was both a milestone for those who took part and also for the centre as this was the first time young people with special needs have progressed beyond Bronze.

Dave Treagus, Operations Officer at the Dolphin Centre said; 'Funding from Berkshire Sport for All, in partnership with Get Berkshire Active, enabled us [the centre] to run a mixed abilities group. We buddied up the young people with SEN with those from mainstream schools. This massively increased the confidence of all those involved. Getting to Gold was a fantastic achievement for them and I was super proud. I really believe that anyone can achieve anything if they put their mind to it with the right level of support.'

One parent said: 'I feel I have enabled my children to have one of the most worth while experiences of their lives. I hope it touches parents of young people with special needs and enables them to let their young person have a go. There is no failure but a lot of fun and laughter along the way.'

One young person who took part said; 'By completing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award I feel proud that I have achieved a set of life goals for me - Bronze, Silver and Gold. Taking part has made me less afraid.'

Another young person said; 'It's made me realise that it's ok to get wet, it's only raid, and we will dry!'

Later this year, the group will be presented officially with their awards by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.