story 1 June 2019

Katy was one of the first DofE participants with additional needs in Essex to achieve her Gold Award

Three young people looking at a sunset on a mountain

Katy was one of the first DofE participants with SEN to achieve her Gold Award in Essex. Since she achieved her Award, Katy has gone from strength to strength and is now a DofE assistant team Leader, Expedition Supervisor, mentor and is currently training to be a DofE Assessor. This is all through the fantastic Thurrock Council where Katy works closely with DofE Development Officer Rachel Baker and team leader Jacky Phillips.

Katy has left side hemiplegia, Crohn’s disease and dyslexia but she is a courageous individual, determined to ‘prove people wrong about disability’. The DofE gave Katy the opportunity to do just that, and over eleven years later she is still actively involved with the DofE and is a fantastic inspiration.

The Expedition section for Katy was one of most challenging sections of her programme because of the physical demands. However, with the help of her Leaders, Katy found a great open expedition for participants with additional needs. This meant that that Katy could achieve her Award as she intended to. She also made some great friends along the way.

For Katy’s Skills section she learnt to drive, and although it took a few tries to pass, she persevered and succeeded in her goal. This has been an invaluable skill to Katy’s life as she finds using public transport difficult and therefore driving has given her a chance to be independent. She can now travel to see family and friends, and also keep up with her DofE group!

Having the experience of being both a DofE participant and now a Leader, Katy has an invaluable insight regarding the value of an Award. The DofE is designed to boost a young person’s confidence and self esteem and to encourage them to embrace new challenges. This as Katy suggests, should not be beyond a young person’s capabilities because they have additional needs.

“Everything is possible. It may take you slightly longer but that doesn’t really matter when you achieve your Award!”

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