As we announce our 2019/20 results, more than ever, young people need their DofE.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, young people are out of school, potentially out of work and worried about what the future holds for them. So, it’s uplifting news that 2019/20 saw record-breaking numbers of young people doing DofE; 295,490 started, up 2.6% on last year and 159,051 achieved their Award, up 3.9%.
All these young people will gain the benefits that DofE brings – including the structure, focus and goals to get through the current crisis and the resilience, adaptability, confidence and empathy to get ahead in the next chapter of their lives.
As Megan, a proud Bronze, Silver and Gold Award holder, said: “The DofE has changed my life. It made me the person I am today. It gave me the experience and confidence to talk to new people. It made me realise how resilient and strong I am.”
Throughout 2019/20, we focused on reaching more young people and we were delighted that we had our highest level of participation ever.
Last year a priority was also to diversify our reach, so more young people facing disadvantage can access a DofE experience. This focus is having an impact: 72,577 disadvantaged young people started their DofE in 2019/20 representing an incredible 25% of all new starts, a 6% rise on the previous year. For these young people, a DofE Award can be a game-changer, providing invaluable development and a recognised achievement that levels the playing field and unlocks education and job opportunities. Like Sarah, who has cerebral palsy and Tariq, doing his DofE at HMYOI Aylesbury.
Vital support from our corporate partners and individual supporters has been fundamental in enabling us to reach more young people who find it harder to access the DofE. The £3 million Diamond Fund, consisting of donations from supporters as well as match funding from the Big Lottery’s #iwill Fund, has helped to fund bursaries, expedition equipment, volunteer training and a diverse range of projects that support at risk and marginalised young people to take part.
The DofE’s continuing growth also bring benefits to communities across the UK. With 490,535 young people doing their DofE during 2019/20 their contribution through volunteering is a huge force for good. In the last year alone, DofE participants gave a staggering 3.4m hours to support a range of community causes. Like St John Ambulance volunteer, Philip, and Jessica, a Splatter Dance and Ecobrick volunteer. In monetary terms, this amounts to more than £14m net worth of time given in support of others.
And let’s not forget the inspiring organisations and individuals we work with to make all this possible. The 3,937 Licensed Organisations, including schools, colleges, local authorities, youth groups, young offender institutions and businesses, along with tens of thousands of volunteers, dedicate their time, day in, day out, to champion young people and support their development, helping to give them the best chances in life.
We’re incredibly grateful to them and everyone involved in the DofE – thank you for everything you do to support young people and for continuing to be there for them, when they need us most.