The Duke of Edinburgh visited Brighton and Hove today to hear from young people making a difference in their communities through their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), meet young footballers building their DofE around training, and celebrate the amazing commitment and passion of DofE volunteers.
In his role as Patron of the DofE charity, The Duke joined students at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) as they baked and made packaging for two local food charities.
He then headed to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club’s Elite Performance Centre, where young academy members have the chance to do their DofE as part of a national partnership between the charity and the Premier League. Finally, The Duke visited Boulder Brighton, where young people from two local schools – all doing bouldering for their DofE Physical activity – showcased their skills.
Rebecca Kennelly, Executive Director of UK Operations at The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “The Duke passionately shares our belief that every young person deserves to have fun, gain vital skills for their futures, and develop lifelong self-belief through opportunities like the DofE. So, it was brilliant to hear so many amazing young people in Brighton and Hove telling him so powerfully about the impact their DofE is having on them – as well as the real difference they’re making in their communities.”
Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC)
The Duke began his visit at BHASVIC where he joined students as they baked for two local food charities – Bake A Difference and East Brighton Food Co-op – as part of their DofE Volunteering section. He spoke to young people about the skills and confidence they have gained through their DofE.
DofE participant Veronica helped to host The Duke at BHASVIC. She said: “It was brilliant to meet HRH The Duke of Edinburgh today and show him the incredible difference that the DofE is making to young people in Brighton and Hove. I found my DofE expeditions challenging, but I made lots of friends and was able to motivate everyone to work together. For my Volunteering section I became a befriender on the dementia ward at our local hospital and have really enjoyed listening to people’s stories, keeping them company and making them laugh.
“After college I’m hoping to study medicine – being part of the DofE has helped me realise how important teamwork is and that pushing yourself and being resilient can take you a long way. I want to make sure that every young person in Brighton knows about the DofE, as the experience is truly life-changing.”
Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club
The Duke then visited Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club’s Elite Performance Centre, where he heard from young academy players about their DofE experience. Participants demonstrated the life-saving skills they are picking up for their DofE Skills section – and The Duke watched players training on the club’s indoor football pitches, before joining players for a ‘team photo’.
Kesh Purcell, a young footballer, said: “I gained so much from doing my DofE – including working on key interpersonal skills such as teamwork, communication and resilience. Our expedition was challenging, but we worked together and overcame the difficult moments. I feel much stronger and more confident, and I know these skills will help my development on and off the pitch.”
David Rainford, Head of Academy Player Care & Education at the Premier League, said: “It’s brilliant to demonstrate the breadth of what our academy players can achieve both on and off the pitch here today. Brighton & Hove Albion FC are fully engaged with our aim to make the academy experience an all-encompassing journey for their players and offer them these types of enrichment experiences. We’re really proud of our work with the DofE and delighted that HRH could see this first-hand today”.
The Duke ended his visit with a trip to independent bouldering centre Boulder Brighton, where he students from two local schools – Hove Park School and Blatchington Mill School – demonstrated the bouldering skills they are developing for their DofE Physical section.