Extending our reach
We’ve continued to extend our reach, working towards our strategic objectives of getting more participants to start and complete their DofE Awards and reaching more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
It is extremely pleasing to report record numbers of young people setting out on their DofE Award programme with 271,439 Awards started in the year, an increase of 7% over last year.
This is particularly satisfying as the number of young people starting a DofE programme from a background that puts them at a disadvantage, by being at risk or marginalised in our society, has increased by 19% to 49,453.
There were 133,369 Awards achieved during the year, which was another record with 11% more young people becoming Award holders than in the previous year.
This demonstrates a wonderful improvement in the quality of Award support provided by our nationwide, diverse and highly committed network of around 40,000 volunteers, professionals and DofE staff.
In 2016, the Diamond Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was a fantastic opportunity for our DofE family and friends to join together in support of the Charity’s ambition to bring the benefits of an Award to even more young people.
Through a programme of Royal visits across the UK, our Diamonds are Forever gala, very special Gold Award Presentations, support from our Diamond partners and ambassadors and a DofE-inspired Diamond Challenge to get everyone feeling the impacts of working towards a DofE Award, the Charity raised around £1.5m to support our growth ambition.
By taking a flexible approach to our licensing, building our professional staff team structure, and investing in the training and development of our network, we are clearly achieving our aim of bringing the benefits of a DofE experience to many more young people.
We have been encouraged in our efforts this year by many great supporters. We wish to thank our Diamond Headline supporters – Amey, British Gas, RSM and Heathrow Airport whose quite exceptional help for the year lifted our motivation and turned so many ideas into fun, successful activities.
The success of our Diamond Anniversary year has also enabled and encouraged us to be even more ambitious in thinking of the future. In particular, by building on the investments from The Queen’s Trust, Pears Foundation, Gosling Foundation and many other benefactors that will enable us to reach even more young people on the margins of our society: those whom our research and experience tell us will benefit most from our work.
This year the efforts of thousands of individuals, rising to the opportunity to take on their own DofE Diamond Challenge, have raised funds that will provide direct support to groups and young people who find it difficult to engage with the activities that will contribute towards their DofE programmes.
None more so than HRH The Countess of Wessex (pictured) who showed us the way by raising the most money and capturing the nation’s imagination with her Challenge of cycling from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Buckingham Palace.
We engaged the whole country in our Diamond year, fuelled by the amazing energy of DofE Trustee HRH The Earl of Wessex (above), whose commitment to a 12-month long programme of visits to groups and events across the UK inspired us all.
He met, worked with, challenged and celebrated with thousands of people during the year, acknowledging the achievements of our young people and heartily thanking the amazing DofE volunteer network.