Blog 31.05.2021 By Craghoppers

How did doing their DofE help Manchester Academy students during the pandemic?

We asked:

How does being outdoors make you feel?
Name three things you’ve appreciated more recently
Name one thing you’ve learnt from doing DofE

They said that they could not do without their friends and family and that being able to go outside had been a real help over this time. The outdoors made them feel positive, peaceful, free and happy. They loved being outside, exploring new things and not feeling trapped. And from being part of the DofE, they came away with some valuable life skills such as map reading, putting up a tent, and the importance of teamwork

How did Craghoppers and Manchester Academy start working together?

In 2019, we approached a local high school – the Manchester Academy – to support their students from the beginning of their DofE journey. We wanted to share their experiences from signing up to the DofE to achieving their Bronze Award.

We organised a competition for 10 DofE participants students to take part in our Marketing campaign, which aired over Summer 2020. We had a photo shoot and for some of the students – this was the first time they had ever been involved in anything like this before. It was clear from meeting these young people that they all had something in common. They were excited about what lay ahead and were looking forward to the challenges they would face, as a team, as they took on their DofE programme.

Obviously, no one could have predicted what happened next. The pandemic and lockdown restrictions affected everyone young and old and expeditions across the UK were put on hold indefinitely.

Manchester Academy’s PE department acknowledged early on about the benefits of outdoor activity on mental health and ran a successful Twitter campaign that encouraged this through setting daily challenges for the students. They made it clear that the DofE wasn’t just about the expedition, but the Physical, Skills and Volunteering sections were just as beneficial.

When we were allowed, we invited the students to take part in a short video. We wanted to check in on them and explore how they felt about being part of the DofE programme and what they got out of it – especially during the strangest of times.

It was great that DofE also provided alternative ideas online through #DofEWithADifference on how students could work on physical exercise and skills over lockdown, to give the students ways to keep themselves going over what would be a difficult period.

We all appreciated the importance of getting outside, even if it was just on our doorstep and for the DofE group from Manchester Academy it was taking part in the DofE that helped them discover this.

Our DofE range includes waterproof jackets and trousers with no nasty chemicals in the waterproofing treatment, recycled fleece made from plastic bottles and a Guarantee for Life on all products. This shows our commitment to being environmentally friendly whilst also offering great value for money for those doing their DofE expeditions.

Find out more about Craghoppers here.