Four mosques in Greater Manchester have become the first in Great Britain to offer young people in their communities the chance to achieve their DofE Award.
DofE participants in Greater Manchester will have the chance to discover new talents, develop lifelong skills and build their resilience and self-belief by working towards their Award, thanks to new funding aimed at supporting more community and voluntary organisations across the UK to start running the DofE.
The Madina Mosque and Neeli Mosque in Rochdale, the Khizra Mosque in Manchester, and the European Islamic Centre in Oldham, have received £10,250 per mosque to help them run the DofE for up to 300 young people in their communities over the next three years. The grant comes from the DofE’s Access Without Limits funding, which offers financial and practical support to allow community and voluntary organisations to run the DofE, giving opportunities to young people who might not otherwise have the chance.
Dr Shahzad Amin, Trustee and Head of Education at Khizra Mosque, said: “Often within our community, young people come from a more sheltered family environment. We want to help set them up to go out into the world – to give them basic life skills, confidence and independence.
“The area where we are based is one of the most deprived in England, meaning young people don’t always have the opportunity to take part in something like the DofE. We want to change that by building The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award into our youth provision at the mosque so that it is accessible and affordable for all – boys and girls. We hope that it will give our young people an extra edge, and that the confidence and skills that they gain will help them with their future education as well as employment. We believe that the leadership and life skills they will gain from doing their DofE Award will be life-changing for them.”
Sadil Nassar, a young person who spoke at a recent launch event, said: “I completed my Bronze DofE when I was in year 11 – I was the team leader on our expedition walk which really built up my confidence and team-working skills. We had to learn first aid as well, and this came in handy a few years later when someone fainted in my class in college, and I had to put them in the recovery position!
“I found my own volunteering opportunity for DofE through my local primary school, and this experience helped me feel more prepared for applying for a job last summer. I’m glad that many other young people in my community will now get the chance to do their DofE and learn the same skills that I did.”
The DofE charity is working to reach a million young people by 2026 – with a particular focus on supporting those who face barriers to taking part, including young people from marginalised communities, those facing financial hardship, and those who need specialist support to do their DofE – such as young offenders and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
The DofE’s Access Without Limits community funding is available until March 2025 thanks to a £3m grant from Julia and Hans Rausing and aims to give young people living in the UK’s most deprived areas the chance to do their DofE in trusted organisations within their communities.
Rebecca Kennelly, Executive Director of UK Operations at the DofE, said: “It’s fantastic that so many young people in Greater Manchester, who might otherwise not have had the chance, will be able to do their DofE thanks to this ground-breaking launch. The DofE is all about learning new skills, building self-belief and resilience, making friends and helping your community. It’s open to everyone, and young people choose their own activities and follow their own passions – you don’t need to be ‘outdoorsy’ or ‘sporty’ to take part.
“Doing their DofE can be life-changing for young people, helping them fulfil their potential and succeed in whatever they choose to do. We can’t wait to hear what these young people go on to do in the years and months ahead.”
For more information about the DofE’s Access Without Limits community funding, supported by Julia and Hans Rausing, visit DofE.org/Access-Without-Limits-funding.