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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Hundreds finally recieve their Duke of Edinburgh awards following pandemic

This news post is almost 2 years old

Many had waited years to recieve their gold award

Nearly 900 young people from across Scotland were welcomed to the Palace of Holyroodhouse to celebrate achieving their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), the first awards event in Scotland since the pandemic.

Many young people attending had completed their challenging gold DofE before the pandemic and waited several years to celebrate with loved ones at the palace – while others showed extraordinary creativity, resilience, and determination to achieve their award while navigating unprecedented challenges and restrictions.

The event focused on looking forward – celebrating the power of young people to make a positive difference and recognising the impact their DofE can have on their futures, by helping them discover new passions, grow in resilience and self-belief, and develop vital skills so they can stand out in the workplace and beyond.

The celebration – hosted by DofE Trustee Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex and Forfar – saw the Palace of Holyroodhouse gardens transformed with a series of speaker stages, offering a chance to pick up career advice from well-known Scottish business leaders and entrepreneurs.

The pandemic and its aftermath have hit young people in Scotland hard, affecting their education, social lives, jobs and mental health. At a time when many lost structure and routine, their DofE provided a much-needed motivation, purpose and focus – with many young people making a difference to the COVID relief effort through their DofE volunteering.

More than 18,900 young people in Scotland started a DofE Award in 2021/22 – with a fifth of 14-year-olds starting a Bronze DofE. Young people gave an amazing 140,101 hours of volunteering across Scotland as part of their programmes. 

Helen Anderson, DofE Scotland director, said: “Achieving a Gold DofE Award is no mean feat at any time, and these incredible young people thoroughly deserve to be celebrated for the remarkable perseverance, passion and motivation they’ve shown. We’re grateful to The Earl of Wessex and Forfar for hosting us today to do just that.”

“Young people were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and there are still uncertainties to come – but we wanted this celebration to be all about looking forward. This is an amazing, motivated generation of young people who refuse to be defined by the challenges of recent years, and who are determined to use the skills they’ve developed through their DofE to make a positive difference and succeed in whatever they go on to do.”

A Gold DofE programme is a demanding, non-competitive personal challenge which takes a minimum of 12 months to complete and is open to all young people. Young people create their own programmes with activities in five sections – Physical, Skills, Volunteering, a five-day residential and a four-day expedition.