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Award goes from strength to strength in the Island

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Duke of Ed award

An award for young people, founded nearly 60 years ago, is going from strength to strength in the Isle of Man, despite the fact that there are now so many activities they can get involved with.

The Department of Education and Children is licensed to offer the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award on the Isle of Man.

The award is open to 14 to 25-year-olds who complete activities under the headings of volunteering, skills, physical, expedition and residential, explained Alison Gawne, of the Youth Service, who co-ordinates it.

At any one time, there are more than 800 young people in the Island participating through groups at all five secondary schools, six voluntary youth organisations, two youth centres and one outdoor activity provider.

Participants take part in regular activities and commit themselves to a minimum timescale of between three and 18 months depending on which award they are taking part in – and young people learn a lot about themselves along the way.

Already this academic year, 25 young people have been invited to Government House to receive gold badges from His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, while 190 young people received bronze and silver certificates in a ceremony at the Gaiety Theatre.

Announcing the launch of the award in 1956, Buckingham Palace said it wanted to encourage the young citizens of tomorrow by helping them to ‘achieve a balanced development of their character’.

The Duke of Edinburgh remains a patron of the award, introduced in the Island three years after its inception.

Explaining the abiding appeal of the award, Alison said:

‘It’s as popular as ever as it gives participants the opportunity to get credit for activities they are already involved in as well as the chance to try something new.

‘Many particularly enjoy the challenge of the expedition, where they are given the freedom to take part in a venture of their own making, remotely supervised by adult volunteers.’

Joanne Howie, 21, completed her bronze and silver awards at St Ninian’s High School (although she finished her gold award through an independent group, Markee Vannin).

She said:

‘What I got from completing my awards was an unbelievable number of skills – ranging from photography to five days’ horse riding and camping – that I can apply to my studies and career. Most of all, it gave me amazing memories.’

Charlotte Howarth did her silver and gold awards through Southern Explorer Scouts and the 18-year-old described her experiences as something she would ‘remember and cherish it for the rest of my life’.

Peter Karran MHK, Minister for Education and Children, said:

‘With so many activities competing for their time, it’s heart-warming that our young people are as keen as ever to get involved with the community, explore the great outdoors and learn essential life skills via the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and I’d encourage any young person thinking about taking it up to get involved.’

To find out more about the award in the Isle of Man, contact Ms Gawne on +44 1624 686051 or visit


In the last 12 months, local young people have undertaken

Volunteering: undertaking service to individuals or the community, such as:

  • animal welfare
  • dance leaders
  • first aid
  • life saving
  • Scout Association
  • child care
  • elderly people
  • fundraising
  • lifeboat service
  • sports leadership
  • coastguards
  • the environment
  • Girlguiding
  • police service
  • outdoor leaders
  • combined cadet force
  • fire service
  • helping children
  • special needs
  • DofE Award leadership
  • Youth work

Skills: developing practical and social skills and personal interests, such as

  • snooker & pool
  • circus skills
  • embroidery
  • dog training
  • fantasy games
  • horse care
  • library skills
  • music
  • sports officiating
  • ceramics
  • conjuring & magic
  • cycle maintenance
  • drama
  • film & video making
  • IT
  • marksmanship
  • photography
  • writing
  • chess
  • conservation
  • darts
  • drawing
  • fishing
  • karting
  • learning to drive
  • reading
  • Junior Achievement
  • choirs
  • cookery
  • public speaking
  • peer education
  • gardening
  • lace making
  • motor sports
  • singing

Physical: improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities, such as

  • archery
  • cricket
  • fitness activities
  • judo
  • rugby
  • swimming
  • walking
  • athletics
  • cycling
  • football
  • keep fit
  • sailing
  • table tennis
  • yoga
  • badminton
  • dance
  • golf
  • netball
  • skateboarding
  • tennis
  • self defence
  • bowls
  • canoeing & kayaking
  • gymnastics
  • riding
  • squash
  • trampolining

Expedition: planning, training and completion of an adventurous journey, on foot and by kayak, in

  • Isle of Man
  • Scotland
  • Cumbria
  • Switzerland
  • Yorkshire
  • Snowdonia

Residential (Gold Award only): involves staying and working away from home doing a shared activity, such as

  • Community projects
  • Guide & Scout camps
  • Sail training
  • environmental & conservation volunteering weeks
  • outdoor leadership weeks

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